Champions! Barcelona crowned La Liga kings for the 26th time in their history

The Ernesto Valverde era has now brought two league titles from two

El Barça, campeón de LaLiga 2018 - 2019
El Barça, campeón de LaLiga 2018 - 2019 | SPORT.es

Barcelona have now won 26 league titles -- eight of the last 11. The figures underline their dominance of the Spanish league in the 21st century. It's a trend which has a common denominator, too, in the influence of the ridiculous Lionel Messi. 

Dídac Peyret

@didacpeyret

Since he exploded on to the first team scene, La Liga's become a custom for Barça, who have cut the gap on Real Madrid, who are still Spain's most honoured club with 33 league titles. 

In the Messi era, Barça have won 10 titles, crazy numbers which reveal the power of the Argentine. 

Since his first league title under Frank Rijkaard in 2005, his influence in the team has grown. Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova have also won titles with Messi as the team's motor. Now there have been two more added under Ernesto Valverde.  

During that time, Messi's kept growing and reinventing himself. First as a quick, tricky winger, then as a false nine and in recent years back on the right or as a No.10, a complete player, cabable of running a game like Xavi, unbalancing teams like the world's best wingers and scoring goals like the game's best strikers. 

His presence alone makes Barça favourites for La Liga every season. Luis Suarez has also been important. He has stepped up in the second half of the season, scoring important goals. 

Only Atletico Madrid have been able to compete in a season which has seen Real Madrid have three coaches. From Julen Lopetegui, to Santiago Solari and back to Zinedine Zidane. Barça's dominance has contributed to Florentino Perez intervening perhaps more than he should in a desperate attempt to keep up.

Barça's season, then, has been fairly relaxed. They've been pragmatic under Valverde but the title never really looked in doubt. It's now been wrapped up in April. 

The spine of the team's remained the same and so has the side's image: a team with moments of brilliance, but above all an effective unit. Two players, Clement Lenglet and Arthur, have had bigger roles than expected. The French defender has taken advantage of Samuel Umtiti's injury problems to become of the great signings of the season in Spain. 

Alongside Gerard Pique, he's been part of one of the most solid centre-back pairings in La Liga. Brazilian midfielder Arthur's also done well. He's adapted so quickly and has even drawn comparisons to Xavi. 

Valverde's more or less bet on 14 players. The most rotated players have been Sergi Roberto-Semedo (right-back); Arthur-Arturo (third midfielder) and Coutinho-Dembélé (left forward). The final pairing have provided the biggest debates this season. 

Curiously, Coutinho's suffered more than in his first six months at the club, when he had an immediate impact. There have even been whistled from the home fans. Dembele's also had tough spells but has come out the other side and played a big role. 

What's not changed is the spine. Players like Ter Stegen, Alba, Pique, Rakitic, Messi and Suarez are always there, the team's motors. Sergio Busquets, too, even if this has not been his best season with the club. 

The other big winner is Valverde himself, who joins the club of Luis Enrique, Guardiola, Van Gaal, Helenio Herrera and Enrique Fernández, managers who have won two league titles with Barça.

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