Spanish media hail Barcelona as 'best champions in history'

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The Independent Football

Barcelona's record-breaking title triumph and the future of Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini dominated the Spanish newspapers following the final day of the Primera Division season.

Barca were crowned champions for the second successive season and the 10th time in the last 19 years after thrashing Real Valladolid 4-0 at the Nou Camp to finish on 99 points - the most in La Liga history.

That was three more points than arch rivals Madrid, who had an outside chance of winning the league on the final day but needed to beat Malaga and hope Barca slipped up against Valladolid.

Neither result went Madrid's way though as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Malaga and for sections of the Spanish press that match was the final one in the hotseat for Pellegrini.

El Mundo newspaper hailed Barca and alluded to the death of Pellegrini's tenure at the Bernabeu in their reporting of yesterday's action.

"Champion of champions," the paper announced at the start of its sports section after the Catalan club clinched their 20th league title - 11 fewer than Madrid.

"Barcelona are crowned as the best team in the history of the league and leave empty-handed the totemic project of Florentino (Perez)."

Inside, the paper added: "Madrid attend a triple funeral. Their title dream died, they didn't win in Malaga and Pellegrini says goodbye."

Barcelona-based sports daily Sport declared Pep Guardiola's side as: "The best champions in history. Barca win the league with a record 99 points. Champions from start to finish."

The front cover of Mundo Deportivo, another Catalan sports daily, similarly hailed Barca with: "Champions! Impressive Barca win the league with 99 points.

"The Barca of Messi thrash Valladolid (4-0) whilst the Madrid of Cristiano give up in Malaga (1-1)."

Mundo Deportivo also spoke of the "failure" of Madrid to win anything following the launch of the second 'Galacticos' era under president Florentino Perez.

Perez returned to the Spanish giants last summer and spent a huge amount of money in bringing in players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso in an attempt to get Madrid back to the top of the tree in Spain and in Europe.

However, premature exits from the Champions League and Copa del Rey, combined with yesterday's disappointment in the league, means the capital club have been left without any silverware for the second successive season.

Mundo Deportivo said: "255 million (euros) + 96 points + 102 goals = 0"

It added: "Madrid have had a sensational league season, fighting with Barca for the title until the last weekend, but the megaproject which should have won the treble has been left with nothing. For the objectives they had set out for themselves, Madrid's season has been a failure."

Madrid-based daily Marca, Spain's biggest-selling paper, focused mainly on Pellegrini on their front page.

Pellegrini signed a two-year contract in joining Madrid last summer, but he could now be on borrowed time at the club after a trophy-less first season in charge.

Alongside a picture of the former Villarreal coach looking pensive, Marca's headline read: "You're fired Manolo."

Adding: "Fails again in a key game: even if Barca had lost they would not have been champions. Pellegrini finishes the year empty-handed."

Also on their front page Marca had a picture of Jose Mourinho, the Inter Milan coach was is being widely tipped as the man to replace Pellegrini, with a caption reading: "Mourinho, the desired, moves closer to the treble after winning the Scudetto."

Inside, Marca praised Barca and also hit out at Pellegrini again, saying: "Deserved champions, deserved sacking. The Barca of Guardiola thoroughly deserve to lift the league whilst the Madrid of Pellegrini are failures after winning nothing."