Jose Mourinho claimed his seventh domestic title – confirmed last night after his Real Madrid side clinched the Primera Division crown with a 3-0 win at Athletic Bilbao – was the toughest of his career.
Mourinho has now won titles in four different countries following previous successes with Porto in his native Portugal, Chelsea in England and Inter Milan in Italy.
But the 49-year-old believes holding off the threat of Barcelona to guide Madrid to their first La Liga crown since 2008 lends extra weight to the achievement.
He told RealMadridTV: “I won the league title in Portugal, Italy and England, but this one has been the toughest.
“I’ve won seven league titles overall and I know what it feels like.
“Barcelona won all their games, as befits the great team that they are. They’ve been winning to the very last day.
“They are a club with great tradition that knows we deserved to win this title.”
Mourinho and his players will celebrate in customary fashion by the Cibeles fountain in Madrid this evening before visiting Granada at the weekend.
They complete their league programme at home to Real Mallorca.
Mourinho added: “We have to celebrate this championship (but then) we have to continue working after tomorrow because next season will also be tough and we have games to play still in this campaign.
“This team deserves even more emotion and affection, and I expect the Bernabeu to give it to them in our match against Mallorca.”
Midfielder Xabi Alonso was another who felt edging out Barca was a significant achievement.
The Spain international said: “We finally managed to win La Liga. It’s been a long season and there’s a lot of merit in winning the title with two games left in the championship. We have to enjoy it now.
“We competed all season with a great opponent like Barcelona, and that’s why there’s so much merit in winning the title before the campaign ends. We’ve had a great run.
“We’ve been regular and consistent. I dedicate this to my family, friends and all Madridistas.”