Barcelona became Spanish champions for the 18th time last night after second-placed Valencia, the only team capable of catching Frank Rijkaard's side, failed to register a win at relegation-threatened Mallorca.
The Catalans kicked off an hour after Valencia and news of their closest rivals' 2-1 defeat filtered through as Barça's players left the pitch after a goalless first half in Galicia.
As Barça directors exchanged hugs and kisses and substitutes gave media interviews from the bench, Spain's leading scorer, Samuel Eto'o, put his team ahead with a 25th league goal of the season in the 55th minute. The relief on the Cameroonian's face was tangible after he controlled a Mark van Bommel pass before stabbing a shot past goalkeeper Pinto, easing fears that he will be caught for the top scorer's award by Valencia's 23-goal David Villa. With the impending Champions' League final in mind, Ronaldinho was withdrawn a minute later as a precaution.
In Barcelona, fireworks were released around the city and fans spilled on to La Rambla to celebrate. While this season has exceeded their expectations and comparisons are being made with Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team" who won four successive titles in the early 90s, fans are concerned about reports that Lionel Messi will not be fit to face Arsenal in Paris. The Argentinian wonder kid has been struggling to regain fitness after aggravating a thigh muscle injury.
Not that everyone associated with Barça will be too concerned today as they nurse hangovers after their 60th major honour. Rijkaard said: "They say it's always more difficult to stay at the top than get there, and that makes this an even greater achievement."
Celta Vigo (4-2-3-1): Pinto; Jonathan, Lequi, Contreras, Angel; Iriney (Perrera, 69) Oubina; Cannobio, Nunez (Jorge, 68), De Ridder (Gustavo Lopez, 69); Baiano. Substitutes not used: Esteban (gk), Roberto, Juan Sanchez, Yago, Mendez.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Belletti, Marquez, Puyol, Van Bronckhorst (Sylvinho, 66); Iniesta, Van Bommel (Xavi, 61), Deco; Larsson, Eto'o, Ronaldinho (Edmilson, 56). Substitutes not used: Jorquera (gk), OLeguer, Motta, Giuly.
Referee: M A Perez Lima.Reuse content