Rodrygo scored twice as Real Madrid beat Espanyol 4-0 at the Bernabeu on Saturday to clinch the LaLiga title. The Brazil winger found the net twice in ten first-half minutes — after Mariano Diaz had earlier hit the post — to give Madrid a comfortable half-time lead, before Marco Asensio grabbed a third and substitute Karim Benzema added a fourth to put the win beyond doubt.
The victory put leaders Madrid on 81 points with four league games left to play, 17 points clear of second-placed Sevilla and 18 points ahead of Barcelona, who play on Sunday.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti made eight changes to the team with Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal second leg with Manchester City in mind. Only Thibaut Courtois, Luka Modric and Rodrygo kept their places.
An evenly-matched start saw forward Mariano have a shot blocked and Espanyol’s Tonny Vilhena have an effort deflected over the bar before Madrid hit the post in the 13th minute. Dani Ceballos spotted Casemiro at the far post and he found Mariano, who headed against the woodwork.
Mariano sent another header wide — after Modric had found him in space — and then Rodrygo put Madrid ahead on 33 minutes. Marcelo played a clever ball inside and the 21-year-old kept a cool head to shoot low past Diego Lopez. Ten minutes later, Rodrygo doubled the home side’s lead, cutting inside and wrong-footing Lopez at the near post after Mariano had helped to win the ball back.
Rodrygo has now scored four goals this month — in the Champions League against Chelsea, in a 3-2 win at Sevilla and now a brace against Espanyol — having failed to score a club goal for six months before that.
The visitors had chances to get back into the game after half time, but it was Asensio who scored next, putting Madrid 3-0 up in the 55th minute when played in by Eduardo Camavinga. Substitute Isco had a goal disallowed — keeper Lopez was unsighted by an offside Rodrygo — before another replacement, Benzema, finished the contest with his 26th league goal this season.
“It’s a huge joy. We’ve managed to win the league early, as soon as possible, and that’s down to the work of all the team,” Marcelo said after the victory. “Now we’ll keep working… [It’s due to] work, joy, sacrifice. All those factors. We’ve won it early… We’ll celebrate now with the fans. The party is for them. Today is a day to celebrate.”