Pep Guardiola leads Barcelona to third straight La Liga crown
Draw at Levante enough for Barca to seal their third consecutive Primera DivisiÃƒÂ³n title under Pep Guardiola
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola reflected on a hard-earned triumph after his side were crowned La Liga champions for the third season running on Wednesday.
A 1-1 draw at Levante was enough for the Champions League finalists to seal the ninth trophy of Guardiola’s three-year reign at Camp Nou with two games to spare.
Seydou Keita headed Barca in front before on-loan Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo capitalised on a Gerard Pique mistake to seal a draw
“Winning the league was been extremely tough and we are very pleased,” Guardiola said afterwards. “We have been tremendous for three quarters of the season but in the last quarter we have struggled to score goals.
“If we have experienced a dip in form towards the end of the season, it is because of the inhuman schedule over the last two years. We have barely stopped.”
Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi -who was unable to add to his 31 league goals this term, leaving him trailing Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo by five in the race for the Pichichi top scorer award -echoed the sentiments of his coach.
“I’m very happy because it’s been a very tough title,” said the Argentinian. “It’s taken a lot of hard work to be champions and more so against a great rival like Real Madrid. Now we have to enjoy it.”
And midfielder Xavi HernÃƒÂ¡ndez, who becomes only the third Barca player to win six league titles with the club, added: “It’s taken a lot of hard work and this team deserves a lot of credit.
“We need to congratulate everyone associated with Barcelona. The fans deserve it and I imagine that today we will celebrate with them in the streets.”
Barcelona have reached the last four of the Champions League in every season since Guardiola took charge, and the Catalan giants are aiming to secure their fourth European triumph by defeating Manchester United on 28 May in the final at Wembley.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo insists he is not “obsessed” by individual records, saying that he is only driven by the desire to win trophies with his team.
Ronaldo has found the net seven times in Madrid’s last two games, taking his La Liga tally to 36 for the season and leaving him just two away from the top-flight record of 38 set by Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra in 1950-51.
But the 26-year-old says collective success is more important than reaching individual milestones. “I’m fighting to reach a very important mark [the Primera Division record], but I’m not obsessed about doing it,” he said.
“I’m not thinking a lot about that [the records], I prefer to do my thing to help the team to win and if I beat the records then that would be good, but if I don’t to be honest I don’t care about that. I just want to play to enjoy it and keep well myself.”