Club Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has revealed that news of the side’s Jupiler Pro League win came out of the blue – and via a text message.
The Bruges club led the Belgian top flight prior to the coronavirus lockdown by 15 points with one game left in the regular season. At the start of April, however, the Belgian FA made the decision to cut the 2019-20 short, awarding the title to Brugge.
It marks the 16th time that Brugge have been crowned national champions – but, as Mignolet admits, victory celebrations were rather muted.
“We got a text message. You can’t really do too much,” the ex-Liverpool keeper explained to the Times when asked how he found out about his club’s triumph. “I drank a glass of champagne with the family and that was it basically.
“Yes [we feel like champions]. The only difference is that you obviously want to celebrate it on a pitch after a victory and celebrate with your team-mates, the fans, the staff and the club – but we have to accept what time we are in at this moment and that isn’t possible. For me that is more the downside.
“It was well deserved because we were miles ahead of the rest. We had basically played against every team twice apart from one and, after that, we had so many points that we were clear and were going to be champions one way or another.”
Mignolet’s former employers find themselves in a similar situation to Brugge, leading the Premier League by an almost unassailable margin when the English top flight was interrupted.
Unlike the Belgians, Liverpool will be obliged to see out the season, with most recent projections estimating that the 2019-20 season will be resumed in June – but Mignolet is delighted that they will have the chance to break their 30-year title drought.
“Liverpool deserve it. In the Premier League, things can twist and change at the end of the season but with the advantage they have got I don’t see anyone being champion other than my old teammates,” he added.
“I am not surprised with how well they have done. The basis was already set, the team was already formed and the performances were there also just before I left. I think everybody expected them to challenge at the top of the league and they have outperformed the rest of the teams. That would make them well-deserved champions.”