Bloomberg News

Real Madrid, Ajax Win League Titles as Messi Hits Record

May 02, 2012

Real Madrid clinched its record- extending 32nd Spanish soccer league title with a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi set a European goal- scoring record. Ajax won its 31st Dutch championship.

AC Milan cut Juventus’ lead atop Italy’s Serie A to one point last night, while Paris Saint-Germain and Lille won to keep their title hopes alive in France.

Gonzalo Higuain, Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo scored to give Real its first La Liga title since 2008 and end Barcelona’s three-year reign as champion. Real has 94 points, seven more than its archrival with two matches left.

“The league is even harder when you fight for it with a team like Barcelona,” Ronaldo, who missed a penalty kick, said in comments on Real’s website. “We were better than them.”

Higuain and Ozil scored four minutes apart in the first half in Bilbao and Ronaldo added a 50th-minute goal as Real pushed its single-season Spanish scoring record to 115 goals.

The victory gives Real manager Jose Mourinho championships in four different countries, following titles with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.

“I won the league title in Portugal, Italy and England, but this one has been the toughest,” Mourinho told RealmadridTV. “I’ve won seven league titles overall and I know what it feels like.”

Messi Passes Muller

Ronaldo lifted his league tally to 44 goals, two fewer than Messi, who scored three times last night in a 4-1 win over Malaga to break the record for goals in a European season.

Messi, who was named the world’s best player for the third straight year in January, scored with two penalty kicks before completing his hat trick to give him 68 goals in all competitions this season, passing the mark of 67 set by Bayern Munich’s Gerd Muller in 1972-73.

In the Netherlands, Siem de Jong scored in each half as Ajax won its 13th straight game to retain its Eredivisie title. The Amsterdam club won the league in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1996, when it capped a run of three straight crowns.

Ajax trailed first-place AZ Alkmaar by 13 points in November and was eight points behind co-leaders AZ and PSV Eindhoven as late as Feb. 18.

Andrea Bertolacci’s goal in the 85th minute gave 10-man Lecce a 1-1 tie at Juventus that tightened up the title race in Italy. Juventus, which remains unbeaten with two games left, has 78 points and AC Milan is on 77 following its 2-0 win over Atalanta last night.

In France, PSG beat Saint-Etienne 2-0 and Lille defeated Nice 1-0 to stay in contention with three games remaining. Montpellier tops Ligue 1 with 73 points, three more than PSG and five ahead of defending champion Lille.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS
===================
SPAIN: Atletico Madrid 1-1 Real Sociedad; Barcelona 4-1 Malaga;
Real Mallorca 1-0 Rayo Vallecano; Real Zaragoza 1-0 Levante;
Sevilla 1-2 Real Betis; Valencia 4-0 Osasuna; Athletic Bilbao
0-3 Real Madrid.

ITALY: AC Milan 2-0 Atalanta; Catania 0-1 Bologna; Cesena 0-1
Udinese; Fiorentina 2-2 Novara; Genoa 2-1 Cagliari; Juventus 1-1
Lecce; Lazio 1-1 Siena; Parma 3-1 Inter Milan.

FRANCE: Ajaccio 2-1 Sochaux; Bordeaux 2-0 Rennes; Brest 0-0
Toulouse; Caen 1-0 Lorient; Lyon 4-1 Valenciennes; Marseille 1-0
Nancy; Nice 0-1 Lille; PSG 2-0 Saint-Etienne.

NETHERLANDS: Ajax 2-0 Venlo; De Graafschap 2-2 Excelsior;
Groningen 1-1 NAC; FC Twente 3-4 Heerenveen; Utrecht 2-2
Vitesse; Feyenoord 4-1 Heracles; NEC 1-1 AZ Alkmaar; PSV 5-0 Den
Haag; RKC 5-2 Roda.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.


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