Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has admitted that rivals Atletico Madrid 'deserve' to be La Liga champions, after Los Rojiblancos clinched the title on the final day of the season.
Los Blancos scored twice in the final 10 minutes of their battle with Villarreal to claim all three points in a 2-1 win and put the pressure firmly on Diego Simeone's side at the top of the table. But the eventual champions held up their end of the bargain too, beating Real Valladolid by the same score to end the season at the summit.
And Zidane was humble in his assessment of Los Colchoneros and their first title success in seven years, confessing that they deserve to be champions - though he remained proud of his players for their efforts.
"We have to congratulate Atletico, who deserve [to be champions], because whoever is at the top deserves it," Zidane said, quoted by Marca. "But the most important thing is what the [Real Madrid] players have done. With time and with calmness, I will talk to the club [about my future] later.
"I have to thank our fans because they have always supported the team from the outside. I think everyone can be proud of the players, because they have given everything.
"It wasn't easy but in the end we won [against Villarreal]. It's a day to congratulate the whole squad. And that's it."
Rumours have been swirling regarding Zidane's future in the Spanish capital, and now that the season is over, we are likely to see some movement in that regard. The Frenchman was "cal"' in his evaluation of the situation, stating that he and the club will hold talks in the coming days.
"Now we have to be calm and in the next few days we'll talk about it," the Frenchman stated. "In a little while we'll see what's going to happen. Not only with me, but with everything the club is going to do for next season."
Understandably, Zidane was despondent at the end of the match, having produced such a stirring comeback, which in reality, meant very little.
"My mood is gutted," Zidane added. "If you ask me that, that's the answer."