Schuster: I didn't expect it so easy
© AFP

Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster paid tribute to the professionalism of his team after their 4-1 destruction of arch-rivals Barcelona on Wednesday and admitted that he is surprised by how easily Real have won the league this season.

Goals from captain Raul, Arjen Robben, Gonzalo Higuain and a Ruud van Nistelrooy penalty handed Real a league double over their rivals and continued the title celebrations at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"After winning the title on Sunday, we wanted to finish off the season in style," Schuster said. "Sometimes you can relax after winning the title but the team's attitude was exemplary and we played it like it was a final."

Champions Real sit ten points above second-placed Villarreal and a staggering 17 points ahead of Barca, and Schuster admits the gap is suprising.

"We knew we had what it took to fight for the title, but this lead is quite shocking. We have won a large number of points which is why the lead is what it is, but nobody expected it."

Real have now won back-to-back titles for the first time since 1990 and Barcelona must now try to stop them from making it three in a row next season.

Barca coach Frank Rijkaard looked on in agony as his team collapsed in what is likely to be his final Clasico with the board preparing a successor after two years without silverware.

There was a huge difference: they have much more confidence and played, back and forth, like a team. We suffered a lot, and this is one of the worst moments of the season
Frank Rijkaard pays tribute to Real.

"Madrid were better and deserved to win," Rijkaard said. " There was a huge difference: they have much more confidence and played, back and forth, like a team. We suffered a lot, and this is one of the worst moments of the season."

Barca actually started the season as favourites but have been far too inconsistent and reserve team coach Pep Guardiola, a former player, is the favourite to take over from Rijkaard. "The easiest thing would be for me not to continue," Rijkaard added.

While Barca were down on themselves Real playmaker Guti paid tribute to the opposition for their guard of honour - where players line up either side outside the tunnel to applaud the victorious team - to congratulate Real as champions.

"They were gentleman on and off the pitch not just the players but also Rijkaard," Guti said. "We would have done the same in their situation."