Barça's 8th league in 11 years - Messi's 10th in 15
Aquest any, també (This year too) Messi and Barça won LaLiga yet again and it was the Argentinean marvel who hit the winner to secure victory and the title, coming on after the break to beat Aitor who, up until then had done an excellent job of guarding the Levante net. It’s a bit like having an atomic bomb – if you’re losing the battle, you bring him on and it’s game over. Ok so it wasn’t exactly like that yesterday because his goal, and the realization that the league title was now within their grasp made Barça a bit jittery and that was when Levante came close to levelling the game. They even struck the post on 89 minutes. Those nervous final minutes of the game actually made the night more special, adding a dose of unexpected drama to the triumph.
For Messi, it’s his tenth Liga in 15 seasons. Paco Gento retired with 12 league winners medals, an achievement which even back then seemed impossible, but now it’s looking highly likely that Messi will reach or even surpass that figure. It’s the cilmination of a shift which all started with Johan Cruyff, the coach. When he returned to the club in 1988-89 season, Barça had won the league just twice in the previous 19 years. And since then, they’ve won it 16 times, compared to the 10 Real Madrid have won, the two Atleti won and Valencia and Depor with one each. Cruyff changed the mood at Camp Nou, he buried all of the pessimism enshrouding the club – when supporters would leave the ground shaking their heads in resignation. Aquest any, tampoc - ‘Not this year either’ was the wistful phrase which summed up the blaugranas’ perpetual failure at clinching the title. Now Barça have become used to winning it. They’ve won eight of the last 11.
Luis Rubiales handed over the trophy, which Barça will be able to keep. It’s the fifth league trophy which they own outright (clubs are allowed to keep the trophy for winning three in a row or for every five won), so in that regard, they’re now level with Madrid, whose days of dominating the competition came to an end some time ago. Today, Barça practically have a monopoly over the league, and this season they’re also in the Copa del Rey final and the semis of the Champions League (“That beautiful trophy that we want so bad” as Messi once described it). So they’re on course for the fabled treble. They’re a great side, led by an unstoppable wizard - a player who knows no limits. And Levante deserve applause too for the rebellious way they tried to spoil the party or at least postpone it for another week.