Barcelona secured their first La Liga title in four years with a commanding 4-2 win against cross-city rivals Espanyol at Cornellà. The victory sealed the title with their first opportunity to do so and started the celebrations for Xavi Hernández and his team.
Alejandro Balde Proves Himself as Future Left-Back Owner
Alejandro Balde, the 19-year-old full-back, who was previously considered a loan candidate, ended the season as the undisputed starter for his position going into the next campaign. His performance in the derby showcased his exciting prospect with his pace and strength to deal with one-on-one duels at the back and his evolving attacking arsenal that resulted in a goal and an assist. Balde is fit to replace Jordi Alba as the owner of the left-back spot for the next decade.
Jules Kounde Shows Impressive Performance in Debut Season
Jules Kounde, who wants to be a full-time center-back, demonstrated his improvement offensively in his debut season with the Blaugrana while playing as a right-back. He was given the freedom by Xavi to bomb up and down the right wing against Espanyol’s back five and was a constant threat all night. Kounde scored an excellent header and put in a fantastic 60-minute performance at right-back before he was moved to the middle once Ronald Araujo was substituted. Although Barça have bigger priorities than right-back in the summer market, Kounde’s continued work and improvement will make him a more complete defender.
Frenkie De Jong Emerges as Best Midfielder in the World
Frenkie De Jong, who will inherit the role of being the quiet dominant force of Barça’s midfield after Sergio Busquets departs in the summer, was excellent against Espanyol. He made timely defensive interceptions to cut potentially dangerous attacks from the opposition at the source. Ronald Araujo called De Jong the best midfielder in the world in his post-match comments. Next season, Frenkie will play his favorite position.
Espanyol Faces Criticism for Shameful Behavior
La Liga Title: Espanyol fans ended the night in a shameful way, attacking Barça players and coaching staff who were celebrating their title on the pitch. La Liga needs to act on this behavior. Espanyol will likely be relegated and this will be the last image most fans around the world will remember, given their embarrassing performance in the derby and the four remaining games.