Barcelona crowned LaLiga champions

Pablo Torre celebrates winning the LaLiga Santander Title after victory in the match between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona at RCDE Stadium on May 14, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Barcelona beat Espanyol 4-1 in the Catalan Derby. Alejandro Balde and Jules Kounde scored one a piece as the Catalan side won their 27th LaLiga title in the process.

Barcelona came into the match following a two-week break where Xavi Hernandez gave his players plenty of time off, which raised some eyebrows,

Those days off seemed to have paid off as Barcelona came out on a strong start as Lewandowski scored his first goal only 11 minutes into the game. Balde scored his goal only nine minutes later to put Barcelona in the proverbial driver’s seat.

Lewandowski would then go on to score his brace in the 40th minute. Kounde would put the final nail in the coffin in the 53rd minute.

Espanyol would go on to get two consolation goals but it would serve little purpose.

In a game where Barcelona needed to come out from the opening whistle, they did just that. Balde was a constant threat from the left and connected with Lewandowski on that first goal before scoring one himself.

The starting defense, for as long as it was out there, played very well. The same could be said of the midfield where Frenkie de Jong shined and Sergio Busquets showed his class in one of his final games with Barcelona.

On the other hand, it was a game Espanyol is going to want to quickly forget. A club fighting relegation and their bitter rivals with the opportunity to celebrate a league title in their stadium, they offered little resistance. By the time they did, it was too little, too late.

All that being said, this game will be remembered for what happened after the final whistle.

With Barcelona players celebrating their achievement in the middle of the pitch. A horde of Espanyol fans invaded the pitch, forcing the players to scramble to the locker room. It was a terrible sight to see and one LaLiga is going to have to sanction promptly and properly.

Despite the ugly scenes at the end, it should in now way diminish what Barcelona accomplished.  They were the most consistent team in LaLiga and are worthy of their title. They scored enough but it was their defense and Marc-Andre ter Stegen who carried them in a lot of matches this season.

For a large part of the squad, it was their first league title and one that the club worked hard for.

It’s time, I’ve been here for three years and and I hadn’t won the championship,” Pedri said after the game. “Today we wanted to win in this stadium and we gave everything. Without this group, we would not have won this title.”

The season wasn’t perfect and Barcelona aren’t a perfect team, but no team truly is. Given where they were last season and at the beginning of this one, it’s an achievement Xavi and his group should be proud of. The disappointment in Europe is a separate issue and one that will be discussed and worked on from here until the start of the next campaign.

For the time being, Barcelona should celebrate. They’ve earned it.

Speaking of celebrating, they’ll celebrate in the streets of Barcelona as a parade is planned for Monday with both the men and women’s teams.