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Five Facts From Barcelona’s Title-Winning Season

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MADRID – Barcelona sealed their 23rd La Liga title on Sunday thanks to Lionel Messi’s winner in a 1-0 victory at Atletico Madrid. Here, AFP sports looks at five standout facts from the Catalans’ title-winning campaign:

115 goals from Messi, Suarez and Neymar

The decision to add Luis Suarez to an already stellar front line has reaped great reward for Barcelona as he, Lionel Messi and Neymar have broken the previous club record of a century of goals scored by the strike force of Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o in the treble winning 2008/09 season. Of those, 79 have been scored in the league accounting for 73 percent of Barca’s overall 108 goal tally.

23 clean sheets

Luis Enrique’s men have been as frugal at the back as they have been prolific up front with a remarkable 23 clean sheets in 37 league matches to date.

Xavi and Iniesta influence fading

The two bedrocks around which the Barca team was built during Pep Guardiola’s golden era of 14 trophies in four years between 2008 and 2012, Andres Iniesta and Xavi have only started together four times this season.

Five-star 11 times over

The champions have shown no mercy time and again this season, scoring five goals or more in 11 of their 37 matches. Cordoba suffered the most in an 8-0 thrashing earlier this month, whilst Granada, Elche, Rayo Vallecano and Getafe have also been hit for six.

Ever-present Messi

Unlike most of his teammates, Messi has escaped Enrique’s penchant for rotating his squad. The Argentine has played every minute of the league season apart from being sat on the bench for the first-half in a 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad in January. His absence for those 45 minutes provoked an institutional crisis at the club that ultimately proved to be the turning point in Barca’s season. – AFP

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