Talking Soccer: Barcelona

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From left to right: FC Barcelona’s Coutinho, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Paulinho, Gerard Pique, Andre Gomes, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi take part in a training session at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, Monday, April 16, 2018. Celta Vigo will play against FC Barcelona in a Spanish La Liga soccer match on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Barcelona extended its unbeaten record to 39 games in the Spanish League this weekend with a 2-1 win over Valencia. They sit at the top of the table, 11 points from the second team in La Liga, Atletico Madrid.

It’s pretty clear the Catalan Club will be celebrating its seventh league title in the last 10 years and will be in the Spanish King Cup final again.

But even with the possibility of winning two trophies once May comes around, Barcelona’s season will be considered mediocre.

Last Tuesday, Barcelona fell to A.S. Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, getting eliminated from the Champions League’s quarterfinals.

A.S. Roma was seen as an easy team to beat. When the Champions League draw was done and Roma was paired up with Barcelona, the press celebrated the easiness of the draw.

The first leg gave even more reason to believe the narrative. Barcelona won 4-1 at Camp Nou and everything seemed fine.

The way the press treated Roma came back to bite them, as Roma advanced to the semifinals with an exciting 3-0 comeback.

While Barca fell to Roma, their hated rival Real Madrid pulled off another great European win by advancing to the semifinals with a penalty kick in the 97th minute.

It is not a surprise that Barcelona’s achievements in La Liga are not as celebrated. The Champions League is a much harder competition than the Spanish League.

Barcelona’s coach, Ernesto Valverde, said the 11 points is what makes the difference in this case.

“Maybe it’s [because of] the position we’re in,” Valverde said in a news conference when asked about his team’s achievement in the domestic competition.

Well, Valverde is right.

The 11 points makes a difference — especially when La Liga faces constant criticism for being a weak league when it comes to competitiveness.

In the past 10 years only one team other than Real Madrid and Barcelona was able to win the league, in 2013, when Atletico had a magical season.

Even before the first game is played, fans know those two will be the two giants of La Liga.

This year, Real Madrid had troubles with La Liga but has had firm footing in the Champions League.

Indeed, getting eliminated from the Champions League will overshadow the records set by Barcelona in La Liga, despite how amazing they are.


Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.marulanda@uconn.edu.

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