After scoring the only goal against Levante on Saturday which clinched Barcelona’s 26th La Liga title, Messi wrote another page in the history books by becoming the club’s first player to win 10 league titles.
Messi came off the bench in the second half to score a league-leading 34th goal and help Barca wrap up the title with three games remaining.
Barca are nine points clear of Atletico with three games left to play, while Real are trailing way far behind for the second season in a row. The table toppers wrapped up their fourth La Liga title in five years on Saturday.
Messi’s first Barca title came in 2005 when he was 17 years old and he was also a fringe player when he collected his second La Liga medal a year later. But he has been the talisman behind their last eight triumphs, which Barca’s players celebrated by wearing T-shirts with the slogan ‘Eight out of 11, the extraordinary seems normal’.
The podium is completed with Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique‘s respective presences. The no.9 has form a deadly understanding with Messi, while Pique has shaken off a rusty start to the campaign to deliver one of his best in the Blaugrana shirt, striking up an incredible wall at the back with Clement Lenglet.
These three have been key, though it’s impossible to overlook just how good Jordi Alba, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele have been as well.
Alba was discarded from the Spanish setup by Luis Enrique, but forced his way back into the team after combining with Messi so effectively for Barcelona.
But they haven’t become champions themselves, and Ernesto Valverde has led them excellently from the sidelines, making this Barcelona the winning machine that they are.
Barcelona can celebrate another La-Liga Santander title. It has been earned, but there are still challenges ahead. They can still win a treble, but they’ll have to be at their best to see off Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals, before facing Valencia in the Copa del Rey for their treble.