Barcelona Wins La Liga

Barcelona wrapped up their 26th La Liga title with a sluggish victory over Levante thanks to a goal from second-half substitute Lionel Messi.

Ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg with Liverpool, Messi began the game on the bench.

The Argentina forward came on at the interval following a goalless first half and scored just after the hour.

He latched on to Arturo Vidal's header and beat two defenders before stroking the ball past Aitor Fernandez.

Such has been Barcelona's recent La Liga dominance - this is their fourth Spanish title in five years and Messi's 10th overall - that determining whether this season will be heralded as a glorious one, or simply a good one, will depend on their performance in other competitions.

The defending champions will doubtless have taken satisfaction from delivering the title in front of their home fans for the first time since 2010; their last four titles have been won away or without playing.

They did so with three games to spare and in doing so closed the gap on Real Madrid's record of 33 La Liga titles to seven.

However, it is the prospect of a treble, featuring the Champions League and Copa del Rey, which will now command their serious attention.

Their performance against Levante was far from a vintage one and the celebrations of Barcelona's players when they lifted the trophy after full-time were relatively conservative.

The Catalans have not reached a Champions League final since 2015, when they last won the treble, and the focus will now switch to the first leg against Liverpool at the Nou Camp.

- BBC.com


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