La Liga

Barcelona Wrap La Liga Title Up With 4-2 Win That Relegates Deportivo

Barcelona Wrap La Liga Title Up With 4-2 Win That Relegates Deportivo

Barcelona have won La Liga in manager Ernesto Valverde’s first season in charge after a Lionel Messi-inspired victory over Deportivo La Coruna.

Messi scored a hat-trick at the Riazor to give Barca an unassailable lead at the top of the table.

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Barcelona had led 2-0 with goals from Philippe Coutinho and Messi but Depor bravely fought to 2-2 with strikes from Lucas Perez and Emre Colak.

Messi then struck twice in the final 10 minutes to seal the win.

It is the 25th time Barcelona have won La Liga – eight behind the 33 won by rivals Real Madrid.

Coutinho had put Barca ahead with a curling effort and Messi doubled the lead when he volleyed in at the back post following a sublime cross from Luis Suarez – who assisted all of Messi’s goals.

Depor refused to give up through an Arsenal loanee Perez pulled a goal back with a first-time shot before Colak swept past Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen following a fine team move.

Argentina international Messi ensured the title was won with a flourish as he notched his 46th hat-trick for club and country.

The 30-year-old produced two composed finishes from close range to secure the victory and ensure Depor’s relegation.

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Messi might be sad to see them go having scored 13 goals at the Riazor, his favourite ground alongside Real Madrid’s Bernaebeu.

There was a degree of scepticism which greeted Barcelona’s decision to appoint ex-Athletic Bilbao boss Valverde in May 2017.

However, the 54-year-old has delivered the Spanish league title in his maiden season above both Madrid clubs.

It is the second piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet at the Nou Camp this season following on from Barca’s emphatic 5-0 victory over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final.

However, there will be no European glory this season following Barca’s dramatic exit to Roma in the Champions League last month.

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Barca conceded a 4-1 first leg quarter-final lead as they lost the second leg 3-0 in Italy.

That will be Valverde’s target next season having seen domestic rivals Real Madrid win the last two European Cups and they are on course reach this year’s final in Kiev.

The match was the first since midfielder Andres Iniesta announced his decision to leave the Catalan club at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old began the match on the bench after being named among Barcelona’s substitutes by Valverde.

Iniesta’s arrival on the pitch in the 87th minute was greeted by a standing ovation from both sets of fans at the Estadio Riazor.

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Next Sunday will be his final chance to play in El Clasico when Real Madrid visit the Nou Camp.

After that there is a home game against Villarreal and a trip to Levante before the curtain is brought down on his Barca career with Real Sociedad the visitors to the Nou Camp on 20 May.

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La Liga
@alexclapham

An Englishman that is a coach and analyst within the youth academy of a Spanish club whilst studying Sports Coaching. Obsessive over the tactical concepts of the European game, Alex regularly attends games in the La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A.

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