Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes his side’s 23rd La Liga title can be the launching pad for another prolonged period of success and a potential treble this season.
Lionel Messi scored the winner to hand the Catalans a fifth title in seven years with a 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday as Barcelona returned the favour after Los Rojiblancos sealed the title at the Camp Nou exactly a year ago. Barcelona face Athletic Bilbao on home soil in the Copa del Rey final on 30 May before taking on Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final a week later.
Luis Enrique was recruited along with seven new players last summer after Barcelona’s first trophyless campaign in six years and he lauded their response in what he described a season of “transition”.
“I hope it can be a new era. We have to deserve to win the other titles. We have two finals left and we need to show we are better than the opponents,” he said.
“We started 10 months ago with many changes at the club and coming off a season having not won anything. We knew it would be a season of transition and we tried to do our best. We have two titles still to play for, but we already have the one that rewards consistency.”
A treble would be just the second in Barcelona’s 115-year history. However, many of the current squad were also part of the side that achieved the feat for the first time in the 2008/09 season. One of the those was midfielder Sergio Busquets and he insisted that the marathon of a 38-game La Liga season makes it the toughest competition to win.
“Last year we weren’t at the level required to be champions. This year we are on the right track, the first trophy is out of the way and now we have to celebrate it because it’s the hardest competition to win as you have to play against all of the teams and be consistent.
“It’s the most important one, you’re competing every week, playing against other sides home and away. The Champions League is more prestigious but the league’s more important. We are still a young team. There are still quite a few players from the (Pep) Guardiola era. This could turn out to be an historic season for us.”