Barcelona have clinched their 25th La Liga title thanks to a 4-2 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday night – inspired by a Lionel Messi hat-trick.
The Catalan side are undefeated through 34 games in the league this season, having broken the Spanish league record for matches without a defeat, and have just one real hurdle left to clear in pursuit of an incredible ‘Invincible’ season.
That hurdle comes in the form of Real Madrid, who Ernesto Valverde’s side face at the Camp Nou next Sunday – having throttled Los Blancos 3-0 in their own back yard at Christmas to more or less end their greatest rivals’ title challenge with five months of the season remaining.
Atletico Madrid put up a strong fight and looked for some time as though they could mount a serious campaign to unseat the long-time league leaders, but a 1-0 defeat at the Camp Nou in March put paid to those hopes as Diego Simeone’s thin squad began to tire.
Barca have already locked up the Copa del Rey to wrap up a domestic double last achieved all the way back in…well, 2016, and have only their unbeaten record to play for after their dramatic exit from the Champions League at the hands of AS Roma earlier this month.
Despite their impressive domestic record, a vocal portion of the club’s fanbase called for Valverde’s departure at the end of the current season after the Roma debacle – but the board are likely to stick by a man who steered them deftly through an institutional crisis in the summer after the departure of Neymar and a motion of no confidence against president Josep Maria Bartomeu.