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La Liga 2016/17: Why Real Madrid were not handed the trophy after winning the league title

Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
23 May 2017, 14:59 IST
Real Madrid La Liga no trophy
Real Madrid celebrated with a miniature replica of the original La Liga trophy

What’s the story?

Real Madrid will have to wait till the start of next season before they get their hands on the Spanish La Liga trophy. Los Blancos ended a five-year wait for the league title when they beat Malaga 2-0 at La Rosaleda Stadium to clinch the title with 93 points – three points ahead of Barcelona. 

Some of Real’s players were surprised when they realised that the trophy would not be handed to them after the full-time whistle at Malaga. Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, in particular, who won La Liga for the first time with Real, could not believe that they would not be awarded the trophy after the title race went down to the final day of the season. 

In case you didn’t know...

Real needed just a draw to seal their first league title since the 2011/12 season and Zinedine Zidane’s squad managed to beat the Andalusian side 2-0 thanks to an early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo and a second-half strike from Karim Benzema. 

Barcelona also won 4-2 at the Camp Nou even though Eibar had gone 2-0 up at the hour mark. But it wasn’t enough to prevent Real from winning the league. 

The heart of the matter

This is not the first time the winning team has been made to wait to get their hands on the coveted trophy. Only recently Atletico Madrid had to wait more than three months to be presented with the La Liga trophy.

After winning the league title on the final day of the 2013/14 season following a 1-1 draw with Barcelona at the Camp Nou, the Colchoneros were told that the trophy could not be presented on the same day as Angel Maria Villar – the president of the Spanish Football Federation – was unavailable to present the trophy. Atletico were eventually presented with the trophy only in the first month of the following season. 

Atletico Madrid La Liga trophy August 2014
Atletico Madrid were presented with the La Liga trophy only on August 30th

While Real did win La Liga, the trophy actually belongs to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (Real Federación Española de Fútbol or RFEF). They keep the trophy and award it to the eventual winners. However, if Angel Maria Villar is unavailable to hand the trophy over – as was the case on Sunday – they present it at an appropriate time later (just as Atletico found out in 2014). 

Video: Modric and Bale cannot believe there is no trophy presentation

Modric and Bale are told that the trophy will be awarded by the league only next season.

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Author’s take

This is not exactly the fault of La Liga but more so to do with the RFEF playing spoilsport. While La Liga conducts the league and all the matches, the fact that the RFEF keeps the trophy and then does not have any sense of duty to give it to the winners suggests that they the organisation is run poorly. 

How many of these players will remain at Real Madrid next season to eventually lift the trophy? Stars such as Pepe may leave the club this summer and should they sign a contract elsewhere, coming back to Madrid to lift the trophy may be impossible. 

Ideally, there should have been a replica of the trophy available at La Rosaleda Stadium considering that Real were leading the table on the final matchday. For example; the Premier League in England has replicas of the trophy so they can be presented to the winning team – so why can’t Spain follow suit?

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