Barcelona was crowned La Liga champion without kicking a ball on Saturday when Real Madrid failed to win at Espanyol. Nevertheless, Tito Vilanova’s men went to the Vicente Calderon and still took three points from Atletico Madrid. “We've been the better team in La Liga, without a doubt,” reflected Vilanova, after Barca’s 2-1 win on Sunday evening.
“We knew that we had to win as many points as possible at the start of the season because big teams usually drop points in the first games of the year,” he added. “We started off well and that gave us a good advantage. After that, when everyone said the league was already won, we were mentally strong to hold off a Real Madrid side that played an exceptional second half of the season.”
Reflecting on the team’s UEFA Champions League run, which ended with a 7-0 series loss to Bayern Munich in the Semifinal, Vilanova said, “The hardest thing to do in this sport is to win after you’ve already won everything.” It was Barca’s fourth league trophy win in five years.
Fullback Dani Alves pointed out that it has been an especially trying season for the club: “It’s been a special year because we’ve won something more important than just a cup, we’ve won the battle for [Eric Abidal] and Tito’s lives,” the Brazilian defender said. Both Abidal and Vilanova returned this season after recovering from life-threatening situations. “This league is for them, for everything they’ve had to suffer,” he added.