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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Barcelona wins Spanish league title with Lionel Messi hat trick

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, left, challenges for the ball with Deportivo’s Luisinho during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Deportivo and Barcelona at the Riazor stadium in A Coruna, Spain, Sunday, April 29, 2018. Undefeated Barcelona has wrapped up the Spanish league title for the third time in four seasons. (Lalo R. Villar / Associated Press)
By Tales Azzoni Associated Press

MADRID – Unbeaten Barcelona added to its domestic dominance by winning the Spanish league title for the third time in the last four seasons on Sunday.

Lionel Messi claimed a hat trick and Philippe Coutinho also scored to give Barcelona a 4-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna as the Catalan club took an insurmountable 11-point lead over Atletico Madrid.

Third-place Real Madrid is 15 points behind Barcelona.

It was Barcelona’s seventh league title in 10 seasons and 25th overall. Madrid, last year’s champion, remains the all-time winner with 33 La Liga trophies.

Barcelona has also thrived in the Copa del Rey, the country’s second-most important club competition, winning it for the last four seasons.

Barcelona’s next goal is to try to finish the league unbeaten, something which has never happened in the competition’s current format.

Andres Iniesta, who last week announced he won’t return for a 17th season with the club, started from the bench because of a small muscle problem. He entered the match at the end to applause from most of the crowd at Riazor Stadium.

Iniesta and Messi each have won nine Spanish league titles.

Sunday’s result relegated Clarence Seedorf’s Deportivo.