Club Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet revealed that news of the Jupiler Pro League win for the Brugge team came out of the blue- through a text message, of all things.
Before the coronavirus lockdown, the Bruges club led the Belgian top flight by 15 points, with one game left in the regular season. However, at the beginning of April, the Belgian FA took the decision to cut short 2019-20, awarding Brugge the title.
“We have received a text message. You really can’t do too much,” the ex-Liverpool keeper explained to thewhen asked how he found out about the triumph of his club. “It was well deserved because we were ahead of the rest by miles. We had played twice against each team apart from one, and then we had so many points that we were clear and championed one way or the other.”
Mignolet goes on to admit that the celebrations of victory have been rather muted:
“Yes [we feel very much like champions]. The only difference is that after a victory you obviously want to celebrate it on a pitch and celebrate it with your team-mates, the fans, the staff and the club-but we have to accept what time we’re in at this moment and that’s not possible. This is more of a downside for me. I was drinking a glass of champagne with the family and that was basically it.”
The former employers of Mignolet, Liverpool, find themselves in a similar situation to Brugge. Liverpool will be forced to play to end the season as opposed to the Belgians, with the latest projections estimating that the 2019-20 season will be resumed in June.
They were leading the Premier League with an almost unassailable margin when the top English flight was interrupted:
“I’m not surprised how well they did. The basis was already laid, the team was already formed and the performances were there just before I left. I think everyone was expecting them to challenge at the top of the league and they were outperforming the rest of the teams, which would make them well-deserved champions.”
However, Mignolet is delighted that they will be able to break their 30-year drought to win the title:
“Liverpool deserves that. In the Premier League, things can twist and change at the end of the season but I don’t see anyone being champion other than my old teammates with the advantage they have.”
This prematurely awarded title marks the 16th time Brugge has been crowned national champions.