Mighty Barcelona win Spanish La Liga title
The Catalan giants secure third successive title and turn their attention to Champions League final
This year's Champions League final is shaping up nicely after Barcelona secured the Spanish La Liga title with a 1-1 draw against mid-table opponents Levante. Like Manchester United they are now six points clear of the team in second place with two games to go. But unlike United, who still need a point to secure the trophy, they have officially been crowned champions thanks to their record against Real Madrid this season.
Even if the unthinkable happens and Barca do lose their final two games of the season and Madrid catch up with them, the title will be decided on the head-to-head record between the two teams, and that favours Barcelona thanks to their 5-0 destruction of their bitter rivals earlier in the season.
The title is Barcelona's third La Liga crown in a row and their fifth in seven seasons. That level of dominance is comparable to United's in the Premier League: Alex Ferguson's team need just one point from their last two games to secure their fourth title in five years. And while Barcelona's triumph is their 21st in total, United are close to their 19th.
It augurs well for the Champions League final on May 28th which, barring a miracle in the Premier League, will be contested by the champions of the two biggest leagues in Europe. And they should be pretty evenly matched.
On Wednesday night the Catalan giants took the lead when Seydou Keita headed home Xavi's cross, and although on-loan Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo equalised for Levante the draw was enough for Pep Guardiola's team.
Levante's goal was only the 20th Barcelona have conceded in the league all season. At the other end they have scored 92, 31 of them from Lionel Messi. That puts United's efforts slightly in the shade. Barcelona's goal difference is a remarkable 72, while United's is a relatively paltry 39. Barca also have 92 points from their 36 games, 16 more than the Red Devils.
After securing the crown Pep Guardiola paid tribute to his side, but offered United a glimmer of hope to United fans by admitting that his team were not at their best.
"We have been tremendous for three-quarters of the season but in the last quarter we have struggled to score goals. If we have experienced a dip in form towards the end of the season, it is because of the inhuman schedule over the last two years. We have barely stopped," he said.