FC Barcelona are La Liga’s leading men

Barça led the league table this season for many more weeks than any of their opponents. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
In the 2015/16 season, the Catalans spent 27 weeks in first place, the final 18 in a row

“We deserve this league championship because of the number of weeks we spent as leaders,” said FC Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique following his team’s 5–0 derby victory at Camp Nou, which put them one win from the title. And that’s the way it went, with the Catalans hoisting the league crown the following week after beating Granada by a score of 3–0.

This season’s championship came after having led the competition for 27 weeks of the 38 played. In other words, they were in first place 71% of the time. Barça took over the league lead on 21 January after beating Málaga 2–1 on the road in, ironically, Match Day 21.

They never looked back.

Nevertheless, before taking the lead that afternoon in the south of Spain, the team had led the league for nine other weeks: on week 3 and week 4, and from week 11 to week 17. Their lowest position in the league table this season was fifth, which they occupied on week 1 and week 5.

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Throughout the season, five other teams in La Liga spent time at the top of the table — Real Madrid in weeks 5, 8, 9, and 10; Atlético Madrid in weeks 18, 19, and 20; Villarreal in weeks 6 and 7; Eibar in week 1; and Celta in week 2.

Other than those scattered blips, the 2015/16 La Liga was a blaugrana one.

But despite having led almost three-quarters of the season, the final standings at the top of the table were among the closest in history.

Maybe that’s why Luis Enrique was so satisfied after clinching the championship on Saturday. His team passed with flying colours during the toughest moments of the season, especially after seeing their 9-point lead evaporate in the home stretch.

Finally, though, after being on top for 18 straight weeks to close out the season, Barça can call themselves champions.