September 18, 2019
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5 Barcelona protagonists in 2018/19 La Liga onquest

 Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the 0-1 lead during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Eibar and Barcelona at the Ipurua stadium in Eibar, northern Spain, May 19, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/Juan Herrero

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the 0-1 lead during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Eibar and Barcelona at the Ipurua stadium in Eibar, northern Spain, May 19, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/Juan Herrero

Barcelona, May 21 (efe-epa).- Barcelona clinched the 2018/19 La Liga title for the 26th time in its history, winning for the eighth time in the past 11 years and the second year in a row.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Leonel Messi and coach Ernesto Valverde have been the five great protagonists in the quest for the title.

1. Marc-Andre ter Stegen

The German goalkeeper was fundamental in winning the championship with decisive interventions and 16 clean sheets.

Ter Stegen has earned a leading role in the team for his charisma, his lineage in the group and his connection with the fans.

2. Gerard Pique

He has probably completed his best season as a Barcelona player.

The injuries of Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen and the failure of Jeison Murillo – who joined Barcelona on loan – to live up to expectations made Pique irreplaceable on defense.

Among the 10 field players who played the most minutes in the Spanish League, Pique was the leader who always lived up to the occasion when it mattered most.

3. Jordi Alba

While the Catalan defender Pique has played the most minutes in the league, Alba has made the most league appearances during this La Liga season (32 matches as a starter, taking the field from the bench in another 4 games).

He has scored 2 goals and made eight assists.

4. Leonel Messi

His 36 goals granted him, for the third consecutive season and sixth in his career, the Pichichi (top scorer) of La Liga.

Also, the Argentina star, alongside Sevilla's Pablo Sarabia, has collected the most assists (13).

Messi has created more scoring chances (92), has shot the most (140) and has given his club the highest points with his goals (18).

This year's league belongs to Messi.

5. Ernesto Valverde

His team returned atop the tournament's table with an iron hand, dominating from start to finish and virtually leading all the statistics of play.

Barcelona finished the league with 11-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, and 19 points ahead of Real Madrid, which was defeated by Barcelona for the fourth consecutive time at Bernabeu stadium.

Under Valverde, the Catalans have taken an edge over their arch-rival in a way that has never been seen. EFE

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