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Barcelona win La Liga title

Barcelona pipped bitter rivals Real Madrid to the La Liga title thanks to a Luis Suarez hat-trick at Granada.

Barca’s fifth victory in a row ensured they won the league by one point from Real, who beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-0.

Suarez tapped in, powered home a header and slotted Neymar’s pass to give him La Liga’s golden boot with 40 goals.

Barca, nine points clear on 1 April, will seal a second straight league and cup double if they beat Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final on Sunday, 22 May.

Barca could easily have felt tense during the final-day decider, especially when Cristiano Ronaldo scored early in La Coruna to give Real the advantage.

A Gerard Pique header and Lionel Messi shot were turned away by Granada keeper Andres Fernandez as Barca dominated the early stages.

Suarez, who started the day four clear of Ronaldo in the race for Trofeo Pichichi – La Liga’s golden boot – eased any nerves when he was left unmarked to tap in Jordi Alba’s cross in the 22nd minute.

Granada offered virtually no threat throughout and the game was as good as over when Dani Alves brilliantly hooked the ball across for Suarez to flash home a near-post header before half-time.

The Uruguayan completed his treble four minutes from the end when Neymar’s unselflish flicked pass offered him an empty net.

Suarez’s total of 40 is more than anybody has scored in a La Liga season other than Messi and Ronaldo.

Before the second El Clasico of the season on 2 April, Barcelona were unbeaten in 39 games, nine points clear at the top of the table and bidding to become the first team to successfully defend the Champions League title.

But a 2-1 defeat by Real Madrid at the Nou Camp sparked a dramatic fall for the Catalan club. Within 15 days they were out of Europe and only top of La Liga by virtue of head-to-head difference after three successive defeats.

However, they responded by winning five in a row, scoring 24 goals and conceding none.

While Suarez has taken on the mantle of Barca’s talisman this season from Messi, the Argentine still contributed 26 league goals, and Neymar 24.

Between them, the ‘MSN’ scored 90 of their 112 La Liga goals.

A third of Barca’s La Liga victories have come with Messi and captain Andres Iniesta in the team.

The Catalans won the title 16 times in the first 75 years of the competition, and have won eight more since Messi and Iniesta came into the side, starting with the 2004-05 crown.

Iniesta said: “We have suffered until the end but it is glorious, to win six league titles in eight years with the same style.”

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