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Real clinch La Liga with win at Bilbao; Messi breaks goal record

updated 6:00 AM EDT, Thu May 3, 2012
Real Madrid players lift Jose Mourinho after winning the Spanish title for the 32nd time. The Portuguese coach has also won league titles in Portugal, England and Italy. Real Madrid players lift Jose Mourinho after winning the Spanish title for the 32nd time. The Portuguese coach has also won league titles in Portugal, England and Italy.
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Mourinho's mission accomplished
Flying the flag
Gonzalo's joy
Real Madrid triumph
Messi breaks record
Ajax clinch Dutch title
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 to clinch La Liga title
  • Lionel Messi sets scoring record in earlier Barcelona win over Malaga
  • Ajax clinch Dutch title with 2-0 win over VVV Venlo
  • Juventus lead cut to one point in Serie A with 1-1 draw against Lecce

(CNN) -- Real Madrid sealed a record-extending 32nd La Liga title after Wednesday's 3-0 win at Athletic Bilbao maintained an unassailable seven-point lead over arch rivals and defending Spanish champions Barcelona with two matches to play.

Goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo wrapped up the clinching victory for Jose Mourinho's men at San Mames.

Mourinho has now won league titles in Portugal with Porto, England with Chelsea, Italy with Inter and Spain with Real, who broke Barcelona's three-year La Liga reign.

"This one has been the toughest. I've won seven league titles overall and I know what it feels like," Mourinho told the club's website.

Is Jose Mourinho leaving Real Madrid?

"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."

Earlier on Wednesday, Barca thrashed fourth-placed Malaga 4-1 to keep up the pressure on Real as Lionel Messi scored his eighth hat-trick this season and broke Gerd Muller's record for a European season.

Argentina's three-time world player of the year now has 68 goals in 2011-12, going past the mark Germany legend Muller set in 1972-73 for Bayern Munich.

It took Messi's tally in La Liga to 46, two more than Ronaldo, but his efforts have proved in vain.

This team deserves even more emotion and affection, and I expect the Bernabeu to give it to them
Jose Mourinho

Real's trip to the Europa League finalists looked a tough one, and when Ronaldo saw an early penalty saved by Gorka Iraizoz, their small band of supporters might have been worried.

But Argentina striker Higuain settled nerves with a fine strike before Ronaldo played in Ozil for a second to make it 2-0 at halftime.

Early in the second half the Portugal star netted his 44th in the league this season with a close-range header, and Bilbao's last hopes of salvaging something from the game ended when Javi Martinez was sent off for a second yellow card.

At the finish Mourinho was hoisted high by his players as they celebrated the club's first championship since 2008.

"We have to celebrate this championship. We have to continue working after tomorrow because next season will also be tough and we have games to play still in this campaign," the 49-year-old said.

"This team deserves even more emotion and affection, and I expect the Bernabeu to give it to them in our match against Mallorca."

The Dutch title was also decided on Wednesday as Ajax Amsterdam beat VVV Venlo 2-0 with goals in each half from Siem De Jong.

It is Ajax's second straight title under Frank de Boer and came after a late-season charge with 13 straight wins.

Ajax were eight points behind joint leaders PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar in mid-February before their unstoppable run.

In Serie A, Juventus' lead was cut to a single point after being held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Lecce.

Second-placed AC Milan beat Atalanta 2-0 to revive their hopes on a night Juve could have clinched the title if results had gone in their favor.

Sulley Muntari put Milan ahead in the San Siro and Robinho sealed a vital victory in injury time.

In Turin, Juventus appeared to be cruising to a routine home win when Claudio Marchisio scored in the first half.

Lecce's hopes appeared over when Juan Cuadrado was sent off for a second booking early in the second half, but the leaders wasted a string of chances before Andrea Bertolacci took advantage of a horrible error by home keeper Gianluigi Buffon to level.

In other action, Inter Milan's Champions League chances receded with a 3-1 loss at Parma which left the 2010 European titleholders three points behind Napoli and Udinese in the race for third place.

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