Barcelona defeats Espanyol to win the first La Liga championship without Lionel Messi since 2019
Two years after Lionel Messi left the team due to the club’s financial problems, Barcelona won the Spanish La Liga with four rounds remaining.
Barcelona won 4-2 against Espanyol
This time without Lionel Messi, Barcelona is delighted with succeeding in the Spanish league. In a game marred by Espanyol fans storming the field at the end of the contest and forcing the Barcelona squad to make their way to the locker room, Barcelona won 4-2 at Espanyol on Sunday to win its first league title since Messi left.
First La Liga title after Messi
The Catalan club won its first league title since 2019 thanks to Robert Lewandowski, who scored twice. With four rounds left to play and two years after Messi left the club due to financial difficulties, the championship was locked up. Barcelona last celebrated a league championship in 1998–1999 without Messi on the team. He joined the first squad in 2004–05 and captured the championship that year.
Espanyol supporters threw chairs and other objects at the Barcelona team
Sunday’s celebrations were cut short when a sizable group of Espanyol supporters from the ultra section behind one of the goals started running towards the Barcelona players who were singing and dancing in the middle of the field. Players had to rush to the locker room.
Security guards quickly stepped in to stop the situation, but riot police were required to block the tunnel’s entrance to keep the fans out. In addition to chairs, the supporters threw other objects.
Barcelona has unbeatable 85 points from 34 games
With 27 league titles under its belt, eight fewer than Real Madrid, Barcelona also had goals from Alejandro Balde and Jules Koundé. After losing 1-0 to last-place Elche earlier in the day on Sunday, third-place Atletico Madrid now trails by 16 points. After defeating their local rival Espanyol, Barcelona now has an unbeatable 85 points from 34 games, 14 more than Madrid, which on Saturday defeated Getafe 1-0.
With 13 goals allowed, Barcelona’s defense leads the league and has held the lead since the 13th round. There are 25 clean sheets as well.
In 11 seasons, Barcelona captured eight league championships
Through 2019, Barcelona had won eight league championships in 11 seasons. In 2020, it came in second place to Madrid, then third in 2021, trailing only Madrid and champion Atletico. Last year, it finished behind Madrid. The Spanish Super Cup in January marked Barcelona’s first championship without Messi.
Restructure the club
President Joan Laporta intervened to restructure the club’s debt and revamp the roster with players like Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Jules Koundé, but the team had yet to win a significant trophy. In the locker room, Laporta joined the team members in their celebration. After Alejandro Balde’s cross in the eleventh minute, Lewandowski scored the game’s first goal from close range.
Lewandowski shines in the league
Lewandowski demonstrated that the former Bayern Munich star can still regularly find openings in opposition defenses given even a tiny bit of space.
With 21 goals, Lewandowski leads the league in scoring. He added his second goal in the 40th minute following a breakaway low cross from Raphinha. After a long pass from Frenkie de Jong, Koundé scored the fourth goal with a header in the 53rd minute. In addition, it was his first league goal for the team.
Barcelona has a bright future
The good news for Barcelona is that its young starters’ continued development suggests that the team’s future is secure.
The past two Golden Boy awards for Europe’s top under-21 players went to midfielders Gavi Páez (18) and Pedri González (20), and this season, left-back Alejandro Balde (19) has replaced longtime starter Jordi Alba as Xavi’s top choice.
The team and its supporters will have to get used to playing at a smaller stadium the following season while Camp Nou is being renovated. In addition to resulting in lower ticket sales, the temporary change will put Barcelona’s home advantage to the test because Camp Nou has a capacity of 98,000 versus 56,000 at the Olympic Stadium.