Barcelona are 2022/2023 La Liga champions.
They wrapped up the title with four games to spare, thanks to their 4-2 victory over cross-town rivals Espanyol.
The Catalan side now have 85 points…14 points more than second placed Real Madrid…with 12 points left to play for this campaign.
This is Barca’s first league title since 2019, the first since Xavi was appointed manager, and more notably, their first triumph since the exit of club icon Lionel Messi.
Photo via Facebook (FC Barcelona)
Success built on a solid defense
Barcelona’s back line deserves most of the credit for their league success this season.
They’ve conceded just 13 goals so far this campaign, which is the lowest tally across the 20-team league.
Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen, Ronald Araujo and Alejandro Balde have all performed admirably, with some even playing out of position due to injuries and poor summer recruitment.
But while Barca’s defense has been rock solid (and will likely continue to be so next season), their midfield will be in need of reinforcement with the summer exit of club veteran Sergio Busquets.
Frenkie De Jong, Pedri and Gavi have been fantastic at the center of the park this campaign, but Busquets’ defensive prowess and experience will be sorely missed and difficult to replace.
The Messi conundrum
And then there is the question of Lionel Messi.
He left the Nou Camp abruptly and unceremoniously two years ago, leading many to suggest that he may be seeking a return to make things right.
His recent troubles at PSG have only added fuel to speculation about an impending comeback.
But questions remain about how Messi would fit into Barca’s current style of play, and whether the club can even afford to bring back its golden child.
Bear in mind that Barcelona are still a club in financial distress and will need to go on a massive summer selling spree to raise the necessary funds for any kind of significant signing, let alone the potentially costly Messi.
All this makes for an interesting summer in store for this season’s La Liga champions.