Real Madrid wins La Liga title

Updated: May 2, 2012, 10:51 PM ET news services

MADRID -- Real Madrid clinched its 32nd Spanish league title and first in four years with a 3-0 win at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday night.

[+] EnlargeReal Madrid celebration
Cesar Manso/Getty ImagesReal Madrid clinched the La Liga title by beating Athletic Bilbao 3-0 on Wednesday.

Gonzalo Higuain scored for Real in the 16th minute and Mesut Ozil doubled the lead four minutes later. Cristiano Ronaldo added his 58th goal of the season in the 50th, making up for a penalty kick in the 12th that was saved by goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.

Madrid (30-2-4) has 94 points and a seven-point lead over Barcelona (27-3-6) with two games left. The Catalans had won the previous three titles.

"The players are all very happy after 10 months of fighting, of training, of games, the objective was to be champion so we are happy to have achieved it," said Ronaldo, whose own celebration included a rude gesture directed toward the home fans. "To have beaten a team like Barca makes this league win more difficult. It's much better to win against one of the best teams. It makes it better."

Madrid's players celebrated on the field with coach Jose Mourinho, who flashed seven fingers representing the number of league titles won in his career, following two apiece at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.

"This was the most difficult one," Mourinho said.

Messi got his ninth hat trick of the season in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Malaga, breaking the record of 67 goals Gerd Mueller had set for Bayern Munich in 1972-73.

Mueller scored 36 Bundesliga goals in 1972-73, 12 each in the European Cup and the German League Cup and seven in the German Cup.


LONDON -- Chelsea looks certain to finish outside the top four of the English Premier League for the first time in 10 years after a 2-0 defeat against visiting Newcastle.

Papiss Cisse scored in the 19th minute and in second-half injury time, giving him 13 goals in 12 appearances for Newcastle (19-9-8)

Tottenham (19-9-8) won 4-1 at Bolton to stay ahead of Newcastle on goal difference and move within one point of third-place Arsenal (20-10-6), which occupies the last automatic qualifying spot for next season's Champions League.

Fourth place usually guarantees a place in qualifying, but Chelsea could yet take that berth by winning the Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 19.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the 62nd and 69th minutes after goals by Luka Modric in the 37th and Rafael Van der Vaart in the 60th to give Tottenham a 4-1 win at Bolton.

Nigel Reo-Coker had tied it in the 51st for Bolton (10-22-4), which is in the relegation zone, trailing Queens Park Rangers on goal difference.

Fabrice Muamba made an emotional return to Bolton , waving tearfully to fans from the field less than seven weeks after his on-field cardiac arrest. The midfielder was introduced to a standing ovation ahead of the game against Spurs, the team he was playing against in the FA Cup when he collapsed on March 17.


AMSTERDAM -- Ajax retained its Dutch league title, clinching the championship for the 31st time as Siem de Jong scored twice in a 2-0 win over VVV Venlo.

Ajax has won 13 straight games and holds a six-point advantage over second-place Feyenoord with one game left.

American forward Jozy Altidore suffered a head and back injury in AZ Alkmaar's 1-1 tie at NEC Nijmegen.

Altidore clashed with NEC defender Pavel Cmovs in the 29th minute and was knocked unconscious on the sidelines. Altidore, AZ's top scorer with 15 league goals and 19 overall, returned to play for only two minutes. He was replaced by Ruud Boymans, who went on to score in the 59th.

The extent of Altidore's injury couldn't be ascertained.


ROME -- Juventus' Serie A lead over defending champion AC Milan was cut to one point with two games to go, when a surprising error by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon allowed a late tying goal in a 1-1 draw with Lecce.

In Turin, Buffon was lining up a clearance and didn't notice the onrushing Andrea Bertolacci, who stripped the ball, dribbled around the goalkeeper and scored into an empty net in the 85th minute. Buffon then stuck his hand up to apologize to teammates and fans.

Claudio Marchisio scored in the eighth minute for Juventus, which played with a man advantage after Juan Cuadrado was ejected in the 55th for his second yellow card.

AC Milan beat visiting Atalanta 2-0 on goals by Sulley Muntari in the ninth and Robinho in the 90th.

Juventus (22-0-14), trying for Serie A's first undefeated season since AC Milan went 22-0-12 in 1991-92, closes at Cagliari on Sunday and hosts Atalanta on May 13. Milan plays crosstown rival Inter on Sunday and closes against Novara, which was relegated Wednesday with a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina.

The match in Florence drew attention when Fiorentina manager Delio Rossi physically attacked Adem Ljajic after the forward protested his first-half substitution. The incident occurred shortly after the half-hour mark, after Fiorentina had fallen 2-0 behind. Delio Rossi was fired after the 2-2 draw, the 19th coaching change in the Italian league this season.


GLASGOW -- American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya scored his first goal for Glasgow Rangers, helping his club clinch second place in the Scottish Premier League with a 5-0 win over visiting Dundee United.

Bedoya, who signed in July from Sweden's Orebro, entered in the 74th minute and scored in the 84th off a pass from fellow American midfielder Maurice Edu. American captain Carlos Bocanegra also started for Rangers.

Sone Aluko scored twice and Steven Whittaker and Jamie Ness each had one goal for Rangers, who are ineligible for next season's Champions League because of financial problems.


PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain cut Montpellier's French league lead to three points, winning 2-0 at home against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday as Nene and Javier Pastore both scored.

Nene converted a penalty kick in the 21st minute after referee Said Enjimi called Sylvain Marchal for a challenge on Jeremy Menez that appeared to be after Menez's shot. Javier Pastore added a goal in the 88th.

Montpeller (22-6-7), which tied Evian on Tuesday, has 73 points with three games left. PSG (20-5-10) has 70.

American forward Charlie Davies was an unused substitute for relegation-threatened Sochaux in its 2-1 loss to Ajaccio, the first time he dressed since Feb. 26.