Dominant FC Barcelona retained the La Liga title with a comfortable 1-0 win over Levante on Saturday at Camp Nou as their skipper Lionel Messi guided the league leaders to their 26th league title.
Messi took only 16 minutes to score the lone goal of the match after coming off the bench. Barcelona clinched their 26th Spanish League title and it was their first under the Argentine’s leadership. Only Real Madrid (33) have won more titles than the Catalan giants.
With the strike, Messi took his La Liga goal tally to 34 in 46 games, leading the golden boot race in Europe once again.
The Catalan giants won their second straight league title since Ernesto Valverde took over at the start of last season after Luis Enrique’s departure. The title was the club’s eighth in 11 seasons proving the dominance in La Liga in current years.
After claiming the title, Barcelona manager Valverde was in full praise of Messi for his contributions to the team and happy that the club can give the fans something to be happy about.
“(Messi) scores goals against everyone and he has given us the title,” Valverde said about his star after the match. “To win the title by a good margin, given how difficult it is, and to have done it back-to-back, we are just happy to give our fans something to be happy about. It is a source of pride for us.”
With La Liga trophy already in the cabinet, Barcelona will now focus on winning the treble. The Copa del Rey final will not be a difficult puzzle for Messi and his army to crack but the semi-finals clash against Liverpool in Champions League will be a neck to neck game for both the teams.
Barcelona are doing everything in their capacity to keep Messi fresh ahead of the Liverpool’s clash as it was the second straight game for the Argentine where he came on as a substitute in the second half of the game.
Atletico Madrid are expected to end second on the points table after Barcelona as right now they are nine points behind them.