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05-12-2011, 10:18 PM #1
Barcelona are the La Liga championsBarcelona players sprayed each other with bubbly and fans celebrated by lighting flares.
A title that had appeared inevitable for weeks finally was clinched with two games to spare when Barcelona tied 1-1 at Levante on Wednesday night to win Spain's La Liga for the third straight season.
"We have been very united this year. That has been very hard because we were up against a tough rival in Real Madrid," Barcelona star Lionel Messi said. "Now, it is time to enjoy it."
Seydou Keita headed in Xavi Hernandez's pass to put Barcelona ahead in the 28th minute, but Felipe Caicedo tied the score in the 40th after Gerard Pique flubbed an attempted clearance.
Barcelona (29-2-5) won the league for the 21st time in its 111-year history and fifth time in seven seasons. The Blaugrana took a six-point lead and holds the tiebreaker over Real Madrid (27-4-5), which is assured of its third straight second-place finish. Real has won a record 31 La Liga titles
Barcelona, which no longer can become the first team in Spain to reach 100 points, also clinched the 2005 title at Ciutat de Valencia stadium. Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes remain from that team.
"Without these players, Barcelona hegemony would not be possible," said Barcelona's Pep Guardiola, who became the first coach to win three Spanish league titles in his first three seasons. "They have worked hard every day, and the titles are the result."
Barcelona's recent success also includes two Champions League trophies, one Club World Cup and a Copa del Rey. The Blaugrana now turns their attention to the Champions League final against Manchester United on May 28 at London's Wembley Stadium.
Defender Eric Abidal made his first start since surgery on March 17 to remove a liver tumor. He had appeared as a late substitute in the previous two games....being a human...