Football first team celebrations of the 22nd Liga title at the Camp Nou with the members and fans
The rain that soaked pitch during the match between FC Barcelona and Valladolid was quickly forgotten when the league champions trotted out onto the pitch after the match. It was time to celebrate the well earned title after a season marked by many difficulties.
“It’s a real joy and pleasure to offer you this Liga. It’s been away from Barcelona for a year, but now it’s here once again,” declared Tito Vilanova in his address to the fans.
With the game against Valladolid won (2-1) the entire Barcelona squad trooped out onto the Camp Nou pitch to receive the league trophy, the 22nd in the club’s history, and the fourth in five years. The moment was celebrated by the 50,000 fans who had braved the deluge that had poured down in Barcelona since two hours before the game started.
Puyol received the trophy from league president Ángel Villar, and he directly sought out Abidal and Tito Vilanova, to whom he gave the honour of raising the silverware to the skies. The Camp Nou vibrated with delight. The two, coach and defender, are a reflection of everything the team has had to suffer.
Barcelona remain on course for a club-record 100 points after seeing off Real Valladolid at a rain-swept Nou Camp.
Valladolid gave the recently-crowned champions a guard of honour before the match and then helped ensure the night would be a successful one for Tito Vilanova’s men by conceding two sloppy first-half goals.
First a terrible pass from Jesus Rueda out of defence was intercepted by Xavi, who proceeded to put Pedro in for the opener, then Marc Valiente sliced a corner into his own net just before half-time to put Barca 2-0 up.
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will return to New York this week for further medical attention.
Vilanova had planned to have the treatment during the summer but he has confirmed he has brought it forward after Barca won their fourth Primera Division title in five years with three games to spare.
Having spent two months in New York earlier this season, when he underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, Vilanova went back a fortnight ago for follow up tests. It is planned that he will only be away from the club from Monday to Friday.
In a bit of a surprise Barca have put 22-year-old midfielder Thiago Alcantara up for sale.
The 22-year-old Spain international has long been wanted by other top European teams and two years ago Barca rejected a £12m bid from Manchester United.
But despite not being able to hold down a regular place in the Barca line-up, his value has gone up, with the price tag for Alcantara reported to £20m.
This one is a head scratcher for me, as I thought that Alcantara has played well this season. The only reason I can think off that Barca want to sell him is to raise funds to buy Neymar.
The price for Santos star Neymar keeps rising due to increased interest from other clubs including Real Madrid. Santos now wants €60m for its star, which is about €20m more than Barca had expected to spend when it started negotiations two years ago.
After chasing Neymar for so long, having already paid at least €10m towards his transfer and with the Brazilian the number one target of the coaching staff, Barca officials have no option other than to pay the higher amount.
Barcelona forward Pedro is determined to stay with the club and improve on his personal contribution this season.
The 25-year-old has scored five goals in 25 La Liga matches this season, and seven in 40 in all competitions, as Barca regained the league title but were hammered in the Champions League semi-final by Bayern Munich.
Pedro told Marca:
“I wish I could contribute more, but I’m happy with the opportunities I’ve had and want to keep improving. I try to work and help my team-mates. This year I may have contributed less and I hope the next season is better.”
Barcelona star Lionel Messi is set to miss the rest of the season after tests revealed the extent of the damage to his right hamstring.
Messi initially suffered the injury in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Paris St Germain and he has been in and out of the team ever since. He came off the bench to inspire a Barça win against Prais Saint-Germain in the Camp Nou return but looked a shadow of his brilliant best as the Spanish champions were hammered 4-0 in the first leg of their semi-final meeting with Bayern Munich.
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova believes his first season in charge has been a success overall after Barcelona clinched their fourth title in five seasons.
The Catalans didn’t even need to set foot on the pitch to seal the title on Saturday as Real Madrid‘s 1-1 draw with Espanyol meant Barcelona had already been crowned champions before their 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
And despite a 7-0 aggregate thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, Vilanova insisted his side were somewhat unfortunate in Europe this season.