The circumstances surrounding the emergence of this season’s La Liga champion after football activities were put on hold as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic have made Real Madrid’s 34th LaLiga title the most unique in their history.
Even in these strange times, it has been achieved with values steeped in the club for decades; solidarity, sacrifice and team spirit.
Zinedine Zidane’s challenge was far greater than the first time he took charge of Los Blancos.
Back in 2016, he had a team low on confidence but full of quality and with their best years ahead of them.
In 2019, the Frenchman took the job with a sea of doubts over the core of the team and players like Thibaut Courtois, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale.
During the summer, Zidane spent heavily to improve all areas of his squad and, although the end result was emphatic, the beginning wasn’t easy.
Real Madrid’s LaLiga Santander opener against Celta Vigo at Balaidos on August 17 seems a long time ago now.
The period after that victory wasn’t straightforward as, with Bale and James Rodriguez in the team, Zidane’s side struggled.
The Frenchman’s summer signings weren’t paying off, with Eden Hazard suffering from injuries and Luka Jovic failing to settle in.
Ferland Mendy was the only one to make his mark at the club, offering something different to Marcelo at left-back.
The 1-0 defeat at Real Mallorca was certainly a low point for Zidane and his players, but that was followed by an unbeaten run that survived trips to Mestalla and the Camp Nou.
Atletico Madrid were defeated at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu at the start of February before Real Madrid found consistency hard to come by.
One week they would lose to Levante, the next they would beat Barcelona, with Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz stepping up in the El-classico.
A defeat at the Estadio Benito Villamarin saw Los Blancos surrender top spot in LaLiga Santander just as coronavirus halted the season.
Three months after that loss to Real Betis, Real Madrid returned to action behind closed doors at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
The opening victory over Eibar was the first of a subsequent 10-match winning run that would see Zidane’s men overhaul Quique Setien’s Barcelona in the race for the title.
Sergio Ramos led this charge from the back and in attack, with Courtois, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal and Casemiro all inseparable in their defensive efforts.
Amongst all the talk of VAR and penalties, Zidane and his players remained calm as Real Madrid showed strength and versatility.
The French coach deployed different systems, using wingers, five midfielders and four attackers on occasion.
In the end, after 11 months, Real Madrid came out on top as the strongest team, mentally and physically, and, above all, the best team winning its 34th La Liga title.