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May 3, 2012

Ronaldo revels in La Liga success

Cristiano Ronaldo was understandably delighted to win his first La Liga title with Real Madrid following their 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday evening.

• La Liga: Real seal title
• Higuain content at Madrid
• Messi breaks record

Ronaldo missed an early penalty at San Mames but he was later on the mark to add to goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Mesut Ozil as Madrid ended Barcelona's three-year reign as Spanish champions.

"It's great," Ronaldo told AS. "It's my first league here in Spain and I'm very happy. It's mission accomplished and to win the league is great.

"[The players] are all very happy because it gives you a lot of joy to win the league after ten months of battling. Winning the league is very difficult."

Barcelona's 4-1 win over Malaga earlier in the night meant Madrid had to win at San Mames in the evening's late game to seal a record 32nd La Liga crown, and they did so comfortably despite Ronaldo's early spot-kick miss.

The Portugal international, who also missed from 12 yards in last week's penalty shoot-out defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, saw his attempted dink saved by Gorka Iraizoz in the 12th minute, but within eight minutes of that miss Madrid were 2-0 up.

Higuain opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a superb 18-yard effort into the top corner, before Ozil doubled Madrid's advantage four minutes later with a far-post finish from Ronaldo's brilliant low cross.

Ronaldo got on the scoresheet himself five minutes after half-time when he headed home Ozil's corner for his 44th league goal of the campaign to all but end any hope of Europa League finalists Athletic getting back into the match.

"The season has been very long and tough," captain Iker Casillas said. "We've taken a little step forward with respect to last season. The big pity has been the Champions League. Hopefully we can do it next season."

"The coach is also a very important part in this. We dedicate this to all Madrid fans who wanted a league title. We hope to take another little step forward next year. It was difficult to beat a team like Barcelona we've done it.

"We still need to win the Champions League, but now we are going to enjoy this."

Sergio Ramos also expressed his delight as the team head back to the Spanish capital to celebrate at Cibeles.

"Congratulations to all Madrid fans. We are looking forward to getting to Cibeles to celebrate with everyone. Madrid are deserving winners. It's my third league and I'm very happy," he said.

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