A sloppy pass in the opening exchanges handed Madrid possession in the Malaga half and, before you could blink, Cristiano Ronaldo had rounded Carlos Kameni and tucked home the opening goal.
Ronaldo continued his remarkable run of form, scoring his 25th league goal of the season in the second minute at La Rosaleda to take his tally to 14 in his last nine games in all competitions.
Real Madrid players celebrate at Cibeles square after Real Madrid won the La Liga title.
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema earned Madrid their sixth consecutive league victory to secure the title ahead of Barcelona for the first time in five years.
However, it took the visitors until 10 minutes into the second half to extend their lead, Benzema stabbing home from close range after Kameni had saved superbly from Sergio Ramos' volley.
Bale has been out of action since April with a torn calf, while James sat out Madrid's 4-1 thrashing of Celta that put them on the brink of the title. After Eibar's David Junca scored an Own Goal (whoops) Luis Suarez, 30, and Lionel Messi, 29, each scored (Messi actually nailed his second goal at the 92nd minute).
Real saw off the pressure to protect their clean sheet and secure a worthy title win with room to spare. If Madrid slip up against Malaga, that would prove to be a season-winning goal, as it represents the tiebreaker between the two teams.
Defeat was nearly unthinkable for Zidane's men after leading the table for so much of the season but the absence of both Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal provided a blow before kick-off.
Few of these players were at the club when they won the league in 2012 so tasting domestic glory is new to them.
"We knew [the Madrid score] at half-time, but we didn't know apart from that". "We have a lot of memories here, a lot of things went through your mind".
Luis Enrique can still sign off with silverware, as Barca faces Alaves in the Copa del Rey final next weekend.
Athletic Bilbao ended in seventh place after the loss at Atletico, without one of the two spots for the Europa League next season.
Malaga boss Michel is expected to make changes to the side that drew 2-2 against Real Sociedad last weekend. Real finished the season with a difference of three points to runners-up Barca.
- Zverev stuns Djokovic to win Rome Masters
- Rep. Al Green Officially Calls on Congress to Impeach President Trump
- Kurdish-led forces say will advance on Raqqa
- In House Briefing, Rod Rosenstein Is Mum on Comey Firing Memo
- Arsenal, Wenger fail to make Champions League after 20 years
- Kelly Olynyk shines as Celtics down Wizards to set up Cavaliers showdown
- Battle lines drawn in Israel embassy move
- Local election results in Scotland likely to heal COSLA rift
- Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic in straight sets to reach Madrid final
- Trump willing to try engagement with North Korea, on conditions - Seoul