July 17, 2020 / 4:38 PM / 21 days ago

Madrid title win in coronavirus era the toughest of all - Perez

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Villarreal - Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, Madrid, Spain - July 16, 2020 Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning La Liga, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid’s latest title triumph was the most difficult of their 34 La Liga wins as it coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, president Florentino Perez said on Friday as the club marked the achievement in a subdued manner.

Real normally celebrate winning trophies with a parade in front of tens of thousands of supporters at the Cibeles fountain in the Spanish capital, but stayed away from the city centre to prevent a mass gathering which would risk spreading the virus.

Instead, they held a small ceremony with local politicians at their Valdebebas training ground on Friday, where they clinched the title a day earlier with a 2-1 win over Villarreal, their 10th consecutive victory since the campaign resumed.

“Madrid fans feel prouder than ever of our players. This is the toughest league there will ever be, but these players and coach have been a true example. It’s a special league title in these difficult times,” Perez said.

“The trophy is in memory of those who have suffered during the pandemic. Many people have left us, including very important people in this club. It’s a league title which represents the fight against adversity.”

Club captain Sergio Ramos added: “It’s a day for us to remember everyone who has suffered in this period. I hope this title can be of some help. We also show our gratitude to everyone who made sure football returned.

“We would all like to have gone to Cibeles but we have to lead by example.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis

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