Lionel Messi scored twice as runners-up Barcelona thrashed Alaves 5-0 on the final day of La Liga.
Quique Setien’s side were out to finish on a high note after a shock defeat to Osasuna last time out allowed Real Madrid to claim the title with a game to spare.
Teenage forward Ansu Fati put Barca in front midway through the first half – after the visitors had hit the woodwork three times – while Messi and strike partner Luis Suarez further stretched their lead before half-time.
Defender Nelson Semedo scored a fourth early in the second half before Messi struck again, scoring a 25th league goal of the season which landed him the top scorer’s award for a record seventh time. The Barca captain finished four goals clear of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema in the standings.
“Individual prizes and objectives are secondary. It’s an important achievement to win it seven times but I would have liked it to have been accompanied by the La Liga title,” Messi said, as quoted by Reuters.
The Argentine had made headlines on Thursday with an angry post-match interview after the 2-1 loss to Osasuna, calling the team weak and inconsistent.
But he was in a happier mood after the dominant performance against Alaves, saying the rout would stand his team-mates in good stead ahead of their Champions League last-16 second leg game with Napoli.
“It was a difficult game due to the situation we were in and the kick-off time and heat but the team responded with a different attitude and showed great commitment,” Messi added.
“We took a long hard look at ourselves from the inside which is what we needed to do. We have not had a good season in terms of performances or results but today we took a step forward.
“It’s an important step for what’s coming next.”
Champions Real end season with draw, Leganes relegated
Newly-crowned La Liga champions Real Madrid were unable to maintain their perfect run of results since the season re-started as they drew 2-2 at neighbours Leganes, who were relegated on Sunday.
Real ended the campaign on 87 points after the draw interrupted a run of 10 consecutive victories, five clear of second-placed Barcelona.
Leganes finished 18th on 36 points, joining 19th-placed Real Mallorca and Espanyol in being relegated, while Celta Vigo, who finished on 37, stayed up after drawing 0-0 at Espanyol.
Sergio Ramos headed home his 11th league goal this season to put Real in front after nine minutes, as Zinedine Zidane heavily rotated his team following the 2-1 win over Villarreal on Thursday that clinched their first Liga title since 2017.
Leganes levelled on the stroke of half-time through midfielder Bryan Gil but Marco Asensio restored Real’s lead early in the second half.
Roger Assale equalised in the 78th minute to give Leganes a slither of hope of survival and they needed one more goal to pull off a miraculous escape from relegation. They came agonisingly close to finding it, having a late penalty appeal turned down for handball against Luka Jovic after a VAR review.
Oscar Rodriguez then blasted over from inside the area deep in added time and the Madrid side dropped out of the top-flight for the first time since winning their maiden promotion to La Liga in 2016.