Madrid, Spain: Barcelona wrapped up it’s 25th La Liga title with a Lionel Messi-inspired hat-trick at the Riazor over Deportivo La Coruna, Sunday. Unbeaten Barcelona has an unassailable lead at the top of the table with four games left. Barcelona remains unbeaten after 34 matches and will try to become the first team to go the entire season without a loss in the competition’s current format.
Barcelona FC had led 2-0 with goals from Philippe Coutinho and Argentina international Messi but Depor fought back to 2-2 with strikes from Lucas Perez and Emre Colak. Messi then struck twice in the final 10 minutes to seal the win.
Coutinho had put Barca ahead with a curling effort and Messi doubled the lead when he volleyed in at the back post following a sublime cross from Luis Suarez – who assisted all of Messi’s goals.
Arsenal loanee Perez pulled a goal for Deportivo back with a first-time shot before Colak swept past Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen following a fine team move.
Messi notched his 46th hat-trick for club and country.
The 30-year-old produced two composed finishes from close range to secure the victory and ensure Depor’s relegation.
“I’m very happy to have won this title,” Messi said. “We know how difficult it is to win the league. We have to celebrate it.”
“It was a very special league for everyone because we didn’t lose any matches,” Messi said. “We went through difficult times but we overcame it all without losing any matches and that’s incredible.”
With his hat trick in the 4-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday, Messi reached 32 goals in the league, eight more than Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo, his closest contender in the race for top scorer. With four matches left for Barcelona, he has nine more goals than teammate Luis Suarez.
It was the ninth league title for Messi, allowing him to surpass the record he shared with Xavi Hernandez. Andres Iniesta, who last week announced he will not return for a 17th season with Barcelona, also has nine titles.
The three goals on Sunday allowed Messi to take the lead in the Golden Boot race, surpassing the 31 goals scored by Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah in the Premier League.
Messi was particularly lethal from set pieces this season, scoring seven times from free kicks, including in a decisive 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid that halted their run for the lead in a crucial moment of the season.
It is the second piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet at the Nou Camp this season following from Barca’s emphatic 5-0 victory over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final.
However, there will be no European glory this season following Barca’s dramatic exit to Roma in the Champions League last month.
Barca conceded a 4-1 quarter-final first-leg lead as they lost the second leg 3-0 in Italy.