Barcelona has once again secured La Liga’s championship, clinching the title with three games still to play after defeating Levante 1-0 on Saturday.
The title is Barcelona’s 26th in its history, which is second most in the league record books to Real Madrid’s 33. Of that total, 10 have come in the Lionel Messi era, with the Argentine phenom adding another piece of silverware to the trophy case and setting a club record for an individual, snapping a tie with Andres Iniesta, who won nine league titles. Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets have now won eight with Barcelona, and this marks the fourth time Barcelona has won its domestic league in the last five seasons.
Messi has had plenty to do with this title, with the 31-year-old running away with the Pichichi (the league’s golden boot) yet again. His 34 goals are 13 more than Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has, putting Messi in line to win the scoring crown for the third straight season and sixth all time. He was supported, as he has been since 2014, by Luis Suarez, who is tied with Benzema with 21 goals. No other Barcelona player has hit double digits yet, with Ousmane Dembele’s eight the next highest on a team still built around its dynamic duo.
Even with the attacking imbalance, Barcelona was relatively unchallenged in this run to the title, with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both failing to meet their lofty expectations this season. Real Madrid labored through the season, playing under the guidance of three managers, while Atletico dropped too many points along the way despite having the league’s stingiest defense, having lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with manager Ernesto Valverde’s side.
Barcelona, meanwhile, has only lost twice all season, a 4-3 defeat to Real Betis in November and a 2-1 loss at Leganes in September. It is currently 23 games unbeaten in the league (18-0-5) to pull away from the pack, and in its most important league games of the season it came up big, sweeping the pair of Clasicos vs. Real Madrid and beating and drawing Atletico Madrid. Through 35 matches, Barcelona’s 86 goals scored blow away the competition (the next highest total belongs to Real Madrid with 59), and its 54 goal differential nearly doubles that of Atleti’s 29.
Barcelona still has its eyes on a treble, something the club has accomplished twice in its history (2008-2009, 2014-15). It will play Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on May 24, and it remains alive in the Champions League semifinals, with a date vs. Liverpool on the horizon.
Barcelona’s title marks the third top European league to already have its champion crowned, after Juventus cemented an eighth straight Serie A titleand PSG won Ligue 1 for the sixth time in seven seasons last weekend.