Zinedine Zidane and Ronald Koeman passed on their congratulations to Atletico Madrid after their Real Madrid and Barcelona sides were beaten to the La Liga title and agreed that Diego Simeone’s men were ‘deserved’ winners.
Atletico came from behind to defeat Real Valladolid and seal their first league triumph in seven years, with Luis Suarez scoring the visitors’ decisive goal, his 21st of the season, on Saturday evening.
Real Madrid also fought back to secure victory over Villarreal but ultimately failed in their quest to defend their 2019/20 crown as they needed Atleti to drop points at the Jose Zorilla stadium.
Atleti’s title win is Simeone’s second since taking charge and the club’s 11th in the history of the Spanish top flight.
‘We have to congratulate Atletico, who deserve [to be champions], because whoever is at the top deserves it,’ Real Madrid head coach Zidane told reporters shortly after his side’s 2-1 win.
‘But the most important thing for us is what the players have done. With time and with calmness, I will talk to the club [about my future] later.
‘I have to thank our fans because they have always supported the team from the outside. I think everyone can be proud of the players, because they have given everything.
‘It wasn’t easy but in the end we beat Villarreal. It’s a day to congratulate the whole squad. And that’s it.’
Asked to decribe his mood, Zidane replied: ‘My mood is gutted. If you ask me that, that’s the answer.’
Barcelona boss Koeman urged supporters to be patient with his team, who finished the campaign down in third and seven points adrift of newly-crowned champions Atleti.
‘Atletico deserved to win the championship,’ the Dutchman told Marca following Barca’s 1-0 win at Eibar.
‘They have been leaders for a long time, they have a very well made squad.
‘They were a little better than Real Madrid and Barcelona. We have made changes at the club and that success is not achieved in one season.
‘Because of the changes made, we deserve to have more time.’
Simeone was overcome with emotion as he reflected on his side’s achievement and suggested his squad was only going to get better over the coming seasons.
‘The world is going through a different phase right now so if we can give some joy to people it means so much to us,’ the Argentine told La Liga TV.
’32 players I think have been involved, everyone as important ad the other. I am extremely grateful. The players who haven’t been involved have been so respectful of my decisions and the group in general.
‘The first thing that came to me was a smile. I wanted to laugh. I don’t know why. It is joy that is warm inside.
‘I was thinking back to ahead of then game when we were leaving and didn’t know if we would continue after the title win.
‘This group has a tremendous future now. The club is growing and has done a fabulous job. It is more important than the results.
‘We have always been fighting everybody to win this trophy.
‘The people sometimes get bored of me and my approach but I am a really stubborn person.’
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