Barcelona babies revel as daddies lift La Liga
Catalans celebrate 22nd title with a 2-1 win over Valladolid; stay on course for Real's 100-point record
Barcelona celebrated lifting the La Liga trophy for a 22nd time with a 2-1 win over Valladolid on Sunday at a rain-lashed Camp Nou.
The wet conditions resulted in the lowest attendance for a Barca home league match this season as only 56,055 filled the 99,354 capacity ground.
However, first-half goals from Pedro Rodriguez and into his own net from Marc Valiente were enough to keep the champions on track to match Real Madrid’s league record of 100 points before Victor Perez’s penalty halved the deficit a minute from time.
And afterwards club captain Carles Puyol left it to manager Tito Vilanova and Eric Abidal, who have missed large parts of the season due to a cancerous saliva gland and a liver transplant respectively, to lift the trophy as a reward for all the health problems they have had to overcome off the field this season.
“It has been a difficult year, but we have won the league and the best thing is that Tito and Abidal are with us,” said Puyol. “I want to thank you all for your confidence and support in the good and bad moments,” added Vilanova as he addressed the crowd.
“Without the fans all this wouldn't have any meaning.” Given the injuries to Lionel Messi and Dani Alves, Vilanova sent out about as strong a starting line-up as he could with Victor Valdes and Javier Mascherano returning after a number of weeks out through injury.
However, given the stormy conditions and general lack of atmosphere, it took some time for Barca to get going. They did manage to make the breakthrough with virtually their first clear opening on 20 minutes though as Xavi recovered possession in midfield and surged forward before feeding Pedro and his low shot slipped under Jaime Jimenez who ought to have done better to keep it out.