La Liga: Messi crowns Barcelona with league title

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Lionel Messi scored his 33rd goal of the Spanish top flight season as Barcelona topped Levante 1-0, confirming the club’s seventh La Liga title in the last 10 years.

Messi started the match on the bench, but came on at halftime to replace the continually ineffective Philippe Coutinho. Messi needed just 17 minutes to find the back of the net, with Levante unable to clear in the 62nd minute and a charging Arturo Vidal stole the ball and immediately fed his superstar striker in the box.

The one was all Barcelona would get, but it wasn’t without trying. Barcelona absolutely beat Levante into submission, outshooting the visitors at the Camp Nou 23-7, including 12-2 on frame. Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernández made 11 saves but came up one short. The league title is the 10th in Lionel Messi’s stunning career, becoming just the third player in Spanish top flight history to reach that mark and the first for a club other than Real Madrid. He is also the first foreign player to reach that mark.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid came closer to confirming a second-place finish with a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid. The lone goal came from a terrible error by Valladolid defender Joaquin who headed the ball into his own net on an attempted clear. With three games remaining, the three points moved Atletico nine ahead of Real Madrid who plays tomorrow.

Alaves and Athletic Club drew 1-1 in a disappointing result for both sides as they look to strengthen European places. Beñat and Borja Baston cancelled each other out just before halftime, and that was it for either squad as neither side gets a leg up in the chase for a Europa League position. Athletic remains in seventh with 50 points, two back of Valencia in sixth, while Alaves sits just behind them in eighth with 47 points.

Leganes and Celta Vigo drew 0-0 in a match that featured just three total shots on target. Leganes is already safe and has little to play for, but Celta Vigo will have wished for a better attacking display as they sit just three points above the relegation zone.