Five key matches behind Real Madrid's La Liga success

Andy West 00:27 22/05/2017
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Marcelo hit a vital late winner against Valencia last month.

Real Madrid are celebrating their 33rd La Liga title success, their first since 2012, and Sport360 looks back at the five key matches during the Whites’ title-winning campaign.

It’s been another drama-filled campaign for Los Blancos with Zinedine Zidane’s men securing Real’s first title in five years.

Here, these matches made the difference between collecting silverware or finishing second to Barcelona over the course of the season for Real.


After three consecutive draws, Zidane’s men were under heavy pressure and needed a response. They got it in emphatic fashion in Andalusia, shredding Gus Poyet’s team with a clinical attacking display.

It was 4-0 by half-time as Raphael Varane’s strike was followed up by Karim Benzema, Marcelo and Isco, who also scored after the break before Cristiano Ronaldo completed the rout in a game which dispelled early doubts over their title credentials.

SEVILLE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 15: Marcelo (R) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF celebrates after scoring during the match between Real Betis Balompie and Real Madrid CF as part of La Liga at Benito Villamrin stadium October 15, 2016 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)


At a hostile venue where they had habitually struggled in recent times, Los Blancos well and truly flexed their muscles with an outstanding performance to overwhelm local rivals Atletico.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the man who made the difference with a decisive hat-trick, but in truth the victory came thanks to a superb overall team display which may well rank as their best under Zidane’s management.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 19: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates with teammates after scoring Real's 3rd goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)


Luis Suarez’s goal early in the second appeared to have settled a surprisingly tame Clasico encounter, with Madrid rarely looking like grabbing an equaliser.

That changed in the dying seconds, when Sergio Ramos’s header from a Toni Kroos free-kick rescued a point which ultimately proved decisive in the title race – but only after an even later intervention from Casemiro, who headed Sergi Roberto’s goalbound effort off the line.

Real Madrid's defender Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring the equalizer during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on December 3, 2016. / AFP / PAU BARRENA (Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)


A few days after suffering only their second league defeat of the season at Valencia, Zidane’s men were in dire straits as they slipped to a two-goal deficit at rampant Villarreal early in the second half.

But they showed the never say die spirit which characterised their season to make a stirring comeback, launched by Gareth Bale, continued by Cristiano Ronaldo and completed in the final stages by Alvaro Morata.

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26: Alvaro Morata (L) of Real Madrid celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during the La Liga match between Villarreal CF and Real Madrid at Estadio de la Ceramica on February 26, 2017 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images)


The weekend after losing to Barcelona in a dramatic Bernabeu Clasico, Los Blancos knew they couldn’t afford any more slip-ups as they hosted Valencia.

It was a poor performance but Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal appeared to be enough for victory until Dani Pareja converted a brilliant late free-kick. Rather than panicking, though, Madrid roused themselves for another stirring finish as the inspirational Marcelo surged forward to net a crucial winner.

TOPSHOT - Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo (C) celebrates a goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Valencia CF at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on April 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

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