FC Barcelona have won their 21st league title, and it’s now three-out-of-three for manager Josep Guardiola, who has produced a winning style that has amazed the footballing world.
In three three years Guardiola has won three league titles and nine major honours in total. An amazing record by an amazing coach.
Like in 2005, Barça went to the Ciutat de València in search of a point to secure the league title. And like then, the Catalans made no mistake. They got exactly the same score as six years ago and the title was in the bag.
Barça started the game with Abidal in the line-up, which was symbolic of the wonderful values that this club transmits. Up against them was a tough and defensive Levante side, with Caicedo as their lone striker and who had no qualms about going for long shots. Curiously, Barça didn’t dominate the early possession at all, and the only attacks came from the home side.
Barça eventually settled into their passing game, but it was extremely hard to find any spaces. They patiently waited for the moment, and when it came, in the 27th minute, Keita was there with an absolute screamer of a shot from an equally exquisite Xavi assist.
The goals didn’t change anything. Barça remained dominant, but now played a little deeper against an opponent that was still keeping it tight at the back. Nevertheless, Levante managed to sneak an equaliser through Caicedo, who made the most of an uncharacteristic misunderstanding between Piqué and Valdés . The visitors waited until after the break to show their reaction, when they looked for their second goal with far greater intensity. And they almost got it when an incredible move from Messi ended with the ball hitting the post.
In the 62nd minute, Abidal made way for Fontàs and was given an ovation off the pitch. The leader was looking to play it cautious in defence but also made forays in search of a goal that would have made the title a certainty. Messi was the most tenacious of all, and went on another slaloming run in the 72nd minute, but his strike skimmed wide of the woodwork.
From there, Barça took fewer risks, and neither did Levante, who seemed to have decided that the draw was a good enough result for their particular interests. So, the game ground to a halt with prolonged periods of possession for Guardiola’s side, with the players rarely leaving their own half of the pitch as they awaited the long-desired moment.
With swathes of their own supporters already chanting ‘Campions, Campions’, the final whistle blew and the celebrations could finally begin. With two games still to go, Barcelona are league champions!