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Real Madrid On The Cusp Of First League Title In Five Years

After a convincing win again against Celta Vigo, Real Madrid needs just a point against Malaga on Sunday to clinch La Liga.

Behind a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid earned a 4-1 victory at Celta Vigo to move within a point of clinching La Liga. 

Ronaldo opened the scoring with a stellar left-footed strike from 18 yards out, and he went to his left boot again in the 48th minute to extend Madrid's lead. His first goal, number 367 in league competition, made him the all-time leading scorer across all five major European Leagues

Ronaldo has been lethal over the past two months, scoring five goals against Bayern in the UCL quarterfinal and a hat trick against Atletico in the first leg of the semifinals. A Champions League victory would all but guarantee Ronaldo his fifth Ballon d'Or, drawing him level with Lionel Messi for most all time.

 

Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane deserves much of the credit for Ronaldo's recent form, as he's deployed his bench expertly all season and kept his first team fresh for the stretch run.

James Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata, Isco, Lucas Vazquez, and 21-year-old phenom Marco Asensio have all played vital roles in the club's domestic league success. In 66 combined starts, they've scored 38 goals to go along with 26 assists — contributions from the bench that any team would envy.

If Madrid fetch a high transfer fee for a couple of those players this summer, Zidane again can be applauded for trusting his subs and building up their market value, all while leading Madrid to one of its best seasons in team history.

They're still two games away of course. Assuming Barca win Sunday, Madrid needs at least a draw against Malaga to win the league title. A subsequent victory against Juventus in the Champions League final on June 3 would give Madrid its first European double since the 1957-58 season. Madrid won La Liga and the Europa League in 1985-86, but their last season with both a La Liga and Champions League crown (then European Cup) title was nearly sixty years ago.

One couldn't expect much more from Zidane in his first full season as the club's manager.

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