Messi hat-trick seals La Liga title for Barcelona


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A sublime hat-trick by Lionel Messi against relegation bound Deportivo La Coruna earned Barcelona the La Liga title in manager Ernesto Valverde’s first season in charge.

Messi stole the show at the Riazor to give Barca an unassailable lead at the top of the table. Barcelona had led 2-0 with goals from Philippe Coutinho and Messi but Depor bravely fought to 2-2 with strikes from Lucas Perez and Emre Colak.

Messi then struck twice in the final 10 minutes to seal the win. It is the 25th time Barcelona have won La Liga – eight behind the 33 won by rivals Real Madrid. They are only four games from an unbeaten La Liga season.

It is the second piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet at the Nou Camp this season following on from Barca’s emphatic 5-0 victory over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final.

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However, there will be no European glory this season following Barca’s dramatic exit to Roma in the Champions League last month. The match was the first since midfielder Andres Iniesta announced his decision to leave the Catalan club at the end of the season.

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The 33-year-old began the match on the bench after being named among Barcelona’s substitutes by Valverde. Iniesta’s arrival on the pitch in the 87th minute was greeted by a standing ovation from both sets of fans at the Estadio Riazor.

Next Sunday will be his final chance to play in El Clasico when Real Madrid visit the Nou Camp. After that there is a home game against Villarreal and a trip to Levante before the curtain is brought down on his Barca career with Real Sociedad the visitors to the Nou Camp on 20 May.

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