Jose Mourinho believes his seventh league title, which he clinched when Real Madrid won La Liga by beating Athletic Bilbao 3-0 on Wednesday evening, was the toughest of his coaching career. The 49-year-old has now seized championships in four different countries following previous successes with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
Mourinho nevertheless believes holding off the threat of Barcelona to guide Los Merengues to their first league title since 2008 lends extra weight to the achievement.
He told RealMadridTV: "I won the league title in Portugal, Italy and England, but this one has been the toughest. I've won seven league titles overall and I know what it feels like.
"Barcelona won all their games, as befits the great team that they are. They've been winning to the very last day. They are a club with great tradition who know we deserved to win this title."
Mourinho and his players will celebrate in customary fashion by the Cibeles fountain in Madrid on Thursday night, before visiting Granada at the weekend. They complete their league programme at home to Mallorca.
"We have to celebrate this championship, but then we have to continue working after tomorrow because next season will also be tough and we have games to play still in this campaign," said Mourinho. "This team deserves even more emotion and affection, and I expect the Bernabeu to give it to them in our match against Mallorca."
Consistency the key for Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso was another who felt edging out Barça was a significant achievement.
"We finally managed to win La Liga," said the midfielder. "It's been a long season and there's a lot of merit in winning the title with two games left. We have to enjoy it now.
"We competed all season with a great opponent like Barcelona, and that's why there's so much merit in winning the title before the campaign ends. We've had a great run.
"We've been regular and consistent. I dedicate this to my family, friends and all Madridistas."