The Story of Real Madrid’s 36th La Liga Title

On Saturday 5th May, Real Madrid was named La Liga winners for the 36th time in their history. This achievement came after the final whistle was blown at Montilivi, where Girona beat Barcelona 4-2. Earlier that day, Real defeated Cádiz CF 3-0 with goals from Brahim Diaz, Jude Bellingham and Joselu.

Real Madrid has the biggest budget in the league, so naturally one would expect them to lift the title easily. However, their road to glory this season was no easy one. It has been a bumpy one for the Los Blancos.

Injuries and Departures in Key Areas

Real Madrid has lost key players to injuries this season, especially in the early months. Starting goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois got injured during pre-season. The team’s central defence also took a large blow. In their very first game of the season, Éder Militão suffered an ACL tear. A few months later, in December, another centre-back, David Alaba also suffered an ACL tear. Aurélien Tchouaméni, Jude Bellingham and Eduardo Camavinga are among other Real players who have been sidelined occasionally throughout the season due to injury.

In the summer of 2023, Real Madrid lost a star in Karim Benzema, who left to play in the Saudi Pro League. Benzema was the club’s top scorer, with 31 goals in all competitions last season. On paper, to replace their high-profile striker, Real Madrid signed the then 33-year-old Joselu on loan from Segunda División club Espanyol. As a way to deal with Benzema’s absence, Carlo Ancelotti switched from his usual 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, the midfield being led by Bellingham and Vinícius Júnior, while Rodrygo goes leading the attack.

Ancelotti’s Genius, Bellingham, Solid Defence, and Mature Mentalities in Young Minds

It looked to be a transitional year for Real Madrid. Football legends Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić are seemingly being eased off, whilst Ancelotti has been developing the young players – Bellingham, Rodrygo, Camavinga and Tchouaméni – who have been wearing their newfound responsibilities with pride. Not to mention, the potential addition of another young player, Kylian Mbappé in the summer.

The combination of Ancelotti’s change of tactics, for one, having Bellingham as part of a three-pronged attack with Vini Jr. and Rodrygo, and a lot of the players stepping up where need be turned Real Madrid’s season around.

Girona looked stronger title contenders in the early part of the season, and Barcelona sprang into form in the second half of the season. However, Ancelotti reminded the world that he is indeed a world-class manager, and his team blossomed under him amidst their struggles.

Under the experienced Italian coach, Andriy Lunin rightfully earned himself a slot in the Starting XI in Courtois’ absence, Rodrygo massively matured, Antonio Rüdiger was a worthy leader, and Bellingham has been an instant and consistent threat in his new team.

Despite losing key players in Alaba and Militão, Real Madrid’s defence has stayed strong. Centre-back Rüdiger has been a strong core to the backline, and right-back Dani Carvajal is in arguably his best form ever. Tchouaméni has had to drop to the backline playing in an unnatural position. Despite this, he too has been a solid part of Los Blancos‘ defence.

Earlier in the season it did not seem likely that the title would be Real Madrid’s to win. However, with four games to spare, Real Madrid is La Liga champion for the 36th time.

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