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Swaggering champions Madrid rout Granada

AFP . Barcelona
12 May 2024 19:27:28 | Update: 12 May 2024 19:27:28
Swaggering champions Madrid rout Granada
Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz celebrates with teammate Luka Modric after scoring during their Spanish League match against Granada FC in Granada on Saturday — AFP Photo

Spanish champions Real Madrid romped to a 4-0 victory over relegated Granada to get their title celebrations started on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti's side will parade the league trophy on Sunday in the Spanish capital and a side filled with reserves made light work of the downtrodden Andalusians.

Brahim Diaz struck twice with Fran Garcia and Arda Guler also on target for Madrid, who defeated Bayern Munich in midweek to reach the Champions League final.

Los Blancos secured their 36th Spanish title last weekend with four games to spare, but chose not to celebrate to focus on the Bayern clash.

A late brace from substitute Joselu settled that match in dramatic fashion and the Spaniard started up front against Granada, with only Antonio Rudiger selected from the side that beat the German giants.

"The objective is to arrive with the squad all at their best for the day of the final, and we will do it," said Ancelotti.

After Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe confirmed Friday he was leaving the French side, many Madrid fans are also thinking about his closely rumoured arrival.

However, Madrid coach Ancelotti only has the Champions League final in London in mind.

"It's not a topic I'm thinking about at the moment," added Ancelotti.

"We have to celebrate tomorrow with our fans and until June 1 we know exactly what we have to think about."

Granada, 19th, were relegated before kick-off after Mallorca beat Las Palmas to ensure the Andalusians could not escape the drop zone.

Their players gave Real Madrid a guard of honour and Los Blancos went on to demonstrate the focus that drove them on to the title, even with nothing on the line now. The victory sent them 15 points clear of second-placed Girona.

Madrid took the lead after 38 minutes when Diaz cut the ball across the six-yard box and Garcia arrived to stroke home.

The left-back turned creator for Madrid's second goal in stoppage time before the break, feeding Turkish teenager Guler, who took a touch to control and a second to fire into the bottom corner.

Madrid maintained their dominance in the second half and extended their lead after 49 minutes.

Tricky playmaker Diaz ran through from the halfway line and fired home as the defence stood off.

The Morocco international added the fourth after a neat team move, finishing comfortably after veteran midfielder Luka Modric teed him up.

Cigar and sunglasses

The likes of Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Junior stayed on the bench for Madrid, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois completed his second game back after nine months out injured, attaining another clean sheet.

The three remaining league fixtures will allow Ancelotti to rest and rotate to get his first-choice side in optimal condition to face Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in the Champions League final.

They may also provide fans a last chance to see Modric in action, with the 38-year-old's contract expiring in the summer. The Croatian was applauded off in Granada.

Los Blancos fans will line the streets of Madrid on Sunday and will be delighted to hear Ancelotti is planning on repeating his iconic celebration from their last parade in 2022 -- toting a cigar and wearing sunglasses.

"Cigar and glasses, the same," said Ancelotti with a smile when asked about the festivities.

In the background of Madrid's joy, Granada players suffered.

"Thanks to the fans for being with us in this year in which we've done so badly, and sorry," said Granada captain Carlos Neva.

"When (relegation) is mathematic, to go out onto the pitch... it's one of the hardest games that we've played."

Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao, fifth, rescued a 2-2 draw against Osasuna but lost further ground in the race for fourth place.

Asier Villalibre netted a 96th-minute equaliser but the Copa del Rey champions trail fourth-placed Atletico Madrid by five points, having played a game more.

Diego Simeone's Atletico host Celta Vigo on Sunday.