TEN THINGS WE LEARNED from LaLiga as Barcelona are crowned champions

Espanyol ALLOWED their fans to pitch invade and force celebrating Barcelona to flee, seven rested Real Madrid stars will face Man City and Valencia have their kids to thank if they stay up… 10 THINGS WE LEARNED from LaLiga

  • Barcelona were crowned LaLiga champions on Sunday after beating Espanyol
  • Valencia have put their faith in youth in a bid to avoid the drop from LaLiga
  • Already-relegated Elche caused a shock as they stunned Atletico Madrid 

Barcelona wrapped up the league title with four games to spare away at Espanyol, and they enjoyed the celebrations even though there wasn’t a single one of their supporters in the stadium to see them do it.

Real Madrid moved back into second place despite resting seven first team players ahead of their trip to Manchester, but still managed to pick up an injury to a key player.

Elsewhere Valencia picked up a huge win in their bid to stay up and relegated Elche stunned Atletico Madrid.

It was Barca’s weekend though, and they dominate this week’s 10 things we learned.

Barcelona celebrate their LaLiga title success following Sunday’s 4-2 win over Espanyol

Xavi has earned it

Barcelona’s men’s and women’s team paraded through the city in an open top bus on Monday afternoon after both winning their leagues. 

Barca’s success has been played down by those who feel Real Madrid’s poor showing takes something away from Xavi’s success. But the 43-year-old has guided the team to domestic success in his first full season and against a backdrop of permanent chaos at the club, he deserves it more than anyone.

Xavi has earned the right to celebrate Barca’s success after guiding them to the LaLiga title

Espanyol allowed the pitch invasion to happen

When Barcelona’s players celebrated in the centre-circle Espanyol supporters ran from behind the goal on to the pitch to confront them. There was no resistance from stadium security to prevent the invasion. 

The champions sprinted down the tunnel and the passivity of the police continued as some of those on the pitch began throwing whatever they could get their hand on at stewards – many of whom will have been Espanyol fans, just as annoyed by the no-show from their team. 

A couple of Ultras made it to the mouth of the tunnel where Sergio Busquets, Ronaldo Araujo and Jordi Alba were keen to confront them. The scenes could have been far uglier and the hosts have to take responsibility for allowing it to happen.

Espanyol ultras stormed the field of play to confront Barcelona’s players on Sunday night

Barcelona were confirmed LaLiga champions and they were celebrating on the field of play

Rival supporters didn’t take kindly to the celebrations, though, and made an attack

Relations between the two Catalan clubs worse than ever

Barcelona were not given an away support allocation and Barca shirts were banned inside the ground. This was a reciprocation of the rules Barcelona had imposed on Espanyol earlier in the season. It’s the worst rivalry in Spanish football – because of the gulf between the two clubs (54 points), and the humourless nature of the relationship between the two clubs.

Busquets has picked the right day to lay down the armband

There is no better way to go than as a winner and, just as Xavi and Andres Iniesta did before him, Busquets signs off with a title. It’s his ninth league in 15 seasons in which he has missed only 15 games through injury. He’s irreplaceable and it’s so much better for him to go now – he’ll lift the trophy next week against Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou – instead of next season in Barca’s new temporary home.

Sergio Busquets (left) bows out at the right time as a Barca legend and captain with the title

Barca’s future on the pitch far better than off it

Forget the financial squeeze and concentrate on the players. It was noticeable that man of the match was 19-year-old Alejandro Balde and that 20-year-old Pedri was not far behind him, and that across the season 18-year-old Gavi has played 55 of Barcelona’s 58 games. These players, along with 24-year-old Araujo, can carry Barcelona through the next decade.

Gavi (right) is one of the young core at Barca that can help them dominate for years to come

Messi remembered by celebrating Barcelona players

The former Barcelona captain’s name was shouted by Araujo as he filmed the jubilant scenes in the dressing room. President Joan Laporta had gone down to the dressing room to join the celebrations – he has told the players the club is doing what it can to bring the Argentinian back.

Barcelona are obsessed with getting Lionel Messi back ‘home’ when he departs PSG

Next season will be tougher than ever

Having won the league, more will be asked of Xavi’s team next season. There will have to be fewer than the 1-0 wins (11 this season), and better performances in Europe. And it will have to be done, still with the financial straitjacket, and in a 49,000 stadium without the imposing Camp Nou to help them.

Referee scandal has given everyone the excuse to call a conspiracy

The case around Barca’s payments to a former referee is ongoing and it has given every club in Spain the excuse to call conspiracy against them. 

Valladolid were extremely hard done by on Sunday when their goal against Sevilla, with the last kick of the first half did not count because the referee had blown his whistle. There could also have been a red card for Sevilla defender Loic Bade moments before. 

The Clive Thomas moment (the English ref blew time just as Brazil scored against Sweden in the 1978 World Cup) was astonishing. But Valladolid’s post-match claims that match officials have it in for them are baseless, just like all the other claims from all the other clubs this season that the authorities want their side to lose.

Real Valladolid were incensed with the officiating display during their 3-0 home loss to Sevilla

Rudiger will face City

Carlo Ancelotti confirmed the German will start against Manchester City after leaving him out of Saturday’s win over Getafe. The Real Madrid coach left out seven likely starters in the league game but one of those who did play, Eduardo Camavinga, still sprained a knee in the second half. If he is not 100 per cent then David Alaba will move to left back and Eder Militao will partner Rudiger. Madrid’s win lifted them above Atletico who were beaten by Elche – the relegated team’s first win over one of the big three clubs in Spain after 35 games.

Antonio Rudiger will return for Real Madrid on Wednesday against Man City after being rested

The kids are keeping Valencia up

Alberto Mari got the winner at the weekend as Valencia became the only side of the six struggling to not join Elche in the second tier. The 21-year-old’s goal comes after 21-year-old Diego Lopez and 20-year-old Javi Guerra performed similar mini-miracles in recent weeks. They are now three points above the drop zone with four games left and it’s their academy stars who they have to thank.

Alberto Mari (centre) scored Valencia’s winner late on in a 2-1 win triumph at Celta Vigo

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