Club Focus - Barcelona - Catalans finally clinch third league title in a row
Barcelona could only manage a 1-1 draw at Levante but the single point earned from the fixture was enough to finally see them over the line and confirm their status as La Liga Champions for the 2010/11 season: their third consecutive Spanish crown.
After weeks of statements proclaiming that his team must keep their feet on the ground, manager Pep Guardiola expressed his delight at having secured another title: “Now we just want to enjoy it, eat and drink a lot…do a lot of everything. Now is the time to party, that’s what winning this title deserves and we have time to get ready for the final in London”, he said. Several of his players echoed his words with midfield general Xavi Hernandez simply adding: “The fans deserve it.”
Indeed there can be no doubting that the Catalans deserve the accolade. The sheer number of team and individual records that the squad has managed to set this season is incredible. After a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Hercules at the start of the season, the team went on an astonishing thirty-one match unbeaten run, spanning seven months between September and April. This run incorporated a consecutive win streak of ten matches away from the Camp Nou, a feat that helped to stretch their away unbeaten record to twenty-three games. Before defeat at Real Sociedad at the end of April, Pep Guardiola’s men went for over a year without tasting defeat on the road: a statistic worthy of any championship-winning side.
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A huge part of this impressive away record could simply be the goal-scoring nature of the attacking brand of football that is so ingrained in every aspect of the club. An amazing twenty-two different players have hit the back of the net for the Barca this season, with top scorer Lionel Messi leading the way with thirty-one league goals to date. The mercurial Argentine is certainly one of Barca’s most valuable assets and his individual record breaking has not gone unnoticed: his ability to score goals with such unerring and nonchalant ease has fired him up to third on Barcelona’s all-time scorers list with over fifty strikes this campaign in all competitions.
This title will be extra special for midfielder Xavi Hernandez as he will collect his sixth championship medal, only the third player in the club’s history to do so. The last player to win six titles with the club was Pep Guardiola, of course the current manager and the man that Xavi displaced at the heart of Barcelona’s midfield a little over a decade ago.
Amazingly, the squad was back in training on Thursday after a night of celebration in Valencia. It has also been announced that the players will celebrate the club’s twenty first title win with an open-top bus tour through the streets of Barcelona.