Barcelona certainly kept the La Liga title race interesting after a bad April. But despite that, Barcelona held on an won their 24th La Liga title by a single point over Real Madrid after taking Barcelona to the final match of the season.
After Atletico Madrid lost to Levante last week to be mathematically eliminated from the title race, it became a two-team race between the usual suspects. For Real Madrid to win the La Liga title this year, they needed to defeat Deportivo La Coruna and Granada to get any result against Barcelona. While Real did their job and won 2-0, Barcelona won 3-0 thanks to a Luis Suarez hat trick and thus raised the trophy when it was all said and done.
This exciting end of the La Liga title race came when Barcelona should have had this title decided weeks ago. In mid-March, Barcelona was up 12 points on Real Madrid. And except for their April meeting in El Clasico, Barcelona was heavily favored to win just about every other match they played in. It could even be argued that Barcelona was favored to win against Real Madrid but that’s always thrown some strange results.
Anyway, with a draw to Villarreal and losses to Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Valencia, Real Madrid got back into the title race, getting to a point behind Barcelona with five matches left. Almost as if Barcelona was baiting everyone else, they put things into high gear at the perfect time and won their final five matches by a combined score of 24-0 to keep the La Liga lead and the title.
One notable catalyst to that run was Luis Suarez. The top goalscorer in La Liga, Suarez scored 14 of those goals in that five match run, scoring hat tricks in three of those five matches and scoring all three Barcelona goals in the title decider. Because of the big summer tournaments, Suarez may not be one of the final three Ballon d’Or finalists at the end of the calendar year, but based on this stretch of matches, he surely deserves to be considered.
As far as what’s in store for Barcelona, they are going for another trophy next weekend. Barcelona faces Europa League finalist Sevilla for the Copa del Rey next Sunday. As far as over the summer and next season, expect more of the same. Except for goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, all of Barcelona’s big stars should be back. And even if ter Stegen leaves, Claudio Bravo is the usual starter anyway so it’s not like Barcelona will be weaker at goalkeeper. If anything, this Barcelona team could be even better.