VALENCIA, SPAIN - MAY 11: Players of Barcelona celebrate after the La Liga match between Levante UD and Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on May 11, 2011 in Valencia, Spain. The match ended 1-1. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
That’s an overstatement, but after clinching their third title in a row by drawing 1-1 with Levante, I’m not nearly as elated as I should be for FC Barcelona.
Maybe it’s because we’ve all seen it as just a matter of time. Maybe it’s because I’m used to NBA playoffs where the top teams duke it out to the finish. Or maybe I’m just incredibly jaded by the incredible success Pep Guardiola has wrought.
Pep himself has always said that La Liga is his top priority. Nothing certifies a full season of excellence like taking home the league title. Nearly forty games in just as many weeks, sprinkled with international commitments, cup matches and Champions League ties, it’s quite an accomplishment to be sure.
This year’s team faced plenty of adversity, but pretty much led from wire to wire. After losing 2-0 to Hercules in the second fixture of La Liga, Barça rattled of 31 straight league games without a loss, including 16 straight victories. By the time February rolled around, and FC Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao, the league seemed pretty well wrapped up.
It wasn’t, of course, and perhaps that’s what makes this group so great. To go out every weekend and perform against teams that are supremely motivated for an upset, when everybody has already taken the league title for granted? That’s not easy, and here I think a ton of credit has to go to Guardiola for keeping his team hungry, on edge, and dominant.
But yesterday I felt very very little as FC Barcelona passed its way to a 1-1 draw with Levante and clinched La Liga. I was thinking back to the Copa del Rey loss to Madrid, and ahead to the Champions League final with Manchester United. I didn’t feel like the most important title of the season had just been won. I wanted more.
Maybe my problem is that I can’t attend the victory parade. Maybe I need to find some culés and have a barbeque to celebrar la liga. Maybe I need to remember what it felt like to watch Barcelona give Madrid “el pasillo”, or to have Los Blancos at least make the league interesting again for yesterday’s title to feel special.
The real problem, I fear, is that the 2008/2009 campaign has left me so jaded that only the Champions League title will satisfy my hunger. But for now, with as much gusto as I can muster, congratulations to the beautiful FC Barcelona for a well-deserved League title. Bring on Manchester United!