No midfielders among Barcelona's four key players in La Liga title triumph

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Attacking stars dominate: Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

Barcelona stormed to the La Liga title with Real Madrid offering a feeble defence to their crown and Atletico Madrid momentarily posing a threat.

The Catalans are so far unbeaten in the league and, with three games left, are attempting to finish the campaign that way.

Barca have performed well as a team but en-route to claiming the title, four players in particular stood out for their contributions.

Surprisingly – given that this is Barcelona we’re talking about – no midfielder has impressed enough to make the grade.

Key men.

LIONEL MESSI

No surprise here though. Lionel Messi continues to play his role as Barcelona’s talisman with aplomb. He’s not only maintained his phenomenal goal-scoring record with 34 strikes so far – putting him well on course to pick up the Pichichi award – but has also fully embraced his role as the team’s chief playmaker.

The Argentine plays off front man Luis Suarez and has the license to roam. Often, he can drop deep and pick up the ball in midfield. He’s heavily involved in the build-up play and makes Barca tick. That doesn’t reduce his impact in the final third though as his goals are complimented by 12 assists in the league as well.

Lionel Messi

On another planet: Lionel Messi.

Rating – 9/10

LUIS SUAREZ

An injury midway through the season did see him go through some patchy form but he’s come good at the business end of the campaign. Following Neymar’s departure last summer, Suarez has done well to forge a successful two-pronged attack with Messi.

The Uruguayan went through a less than clinical spell but has nevertheless hit the back of the net 24 times in the league while also providing 10 assists and always putting in a great shift.

Rating – 8/10

Luis Suarez

Perfect partner for Lionel Messi: Luis Suarez.

JORDI ALBA

After Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain for a record fee, Ernesto Valverde deployed a 4-4-2 formation. With the two wide midfielders tucking in to dominate in midfield, much of the width had to be provided by the full-backs.

Jordi Alba has excelled in that regard. The Spaniard is renowned for his attacking play and over the course of the league campaign, has provided eight assists, second only to Messi and Suarez among his team-mates.

Rating – 8/10

 Jordi Alba

Flying left-back: Jordi Alba.

MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN

Despite the new formation offering Barcelona far more balance and stability from a defensive aspect, to go an entire season unbeaten, you need something special between the sticks and that’s exactly what Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been.

The German international has been exceptional this season and is now being considered among the best goalkeepers in the world. His form and consistency means the national team may not miss Manuel Neuer at all at this summer’s World Cup.

Rating – 8/10

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen

Rock solid: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

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Live Barcelona Blog: Ousmane Dembele is dynamite option and other Levante talking points

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Stuart Appleby and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things Barcelona.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

Barcelona travel to Levante on Sunday in La Liga.

20:45pm – Dembele leads way in Levante talking points

Dembele is key against Levante.

Dembele is key against Levante.

My colleague Alex Rea has compiled an interesting preview ahead of Sunday’s penultimate La Liga clash at Levante.

France winger Ousmane Dembele, and his future, features highly.

Read it here.

7:20pm – Dembele is blasted by ex-BVB colleague

Dembele in action for Barca.

Dembele in action for Barca.

It’s fair to say goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller is not happy about the way Ousmane Dembele forced through his move from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona last summer.

Dembele, 20, was reported to have gone on strike in a bid to make the switch to Spain.

Read why the France winger has “no manners”.

5:15pm – Levante ready to stifle Barcelona’s attacking talent

Levante have a plan to shackle Messi’s flow.

Levante are ready to try and break Barcelona‘s unbeaten run in La Liga by stifling Blaugrana’s creativity in midfield.

Marca reports that the Paco Lopez’s men will sit deep on Sunday evening (22:45) in an attempt to stop Barca’s creative fulcrum in Lionel Messi – and then themselves attack with potency down the wings.

Read more here.

3.10pm – Mina could be Liverpool-bound this summer

Barca star Yerry Mina could be set for a summer switch.

Barca star Yerry Mina could be set for a summer switch.

The towering Barcelona centre-back could be in line for a shock loan switch to the Premier League, according to El Chiringuito.

Rumours are linking Liverpool with a loan move for the 23-year-old, who has reportedly told Blaugrana team-mates he is to leave Camp Nou having struggled to settle since his January transfer from Palmeiras.

Read more here.

1.20pm – Messi hailed by Argentina boss

Footballing legend: Lionel Messi.

Footballing legend: Lionel Messi.

Argentina’s World Cup ambitions rest heavily on the shoulders of Barcelona legend Lionel Messi, who is still searching for his first piece of major silverware with his country.

 The 30-year-old has been part of White and Sky Blues sides that have finished runners-up on three occasions in the Copa America (2007, 2014 and 2016) and of course he was the mainstay during the 2014 World Cup final loss to Germany.

Although, it’s worth reminding that Messi was named the FIFA Best Player of the Tournament in Brazil.

This time around, the nation will again rely on Messi to produce the goods and coach Jorge Sampaoli – who took charge in June 2017 – has been pleasantly taken aback by the maestro’s tactical influence and understanding.

Read more here.

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Live Barcelona Blog: Andres Iniesta names Louis Van Gaal as his 'most important' manager

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Denzil Pinto and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things Barcelona.

 Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

4:45pm – Andres Iniesta names Louis Van Gaal as his “most important” manager at Barcelona

During his two decades at the Nou Camp, Iniesta has played under many coaches but it was Louis Van Gaal who was his “most important” manager. Find out what he thought of Pep Guardiola and Frank Rijkaard here.

4:00pm – Club wishes Andres Iniesta a happy birthday

Andres Iniesta will play his final match for Barcelona this weekend but for now, the Spanish star is celebrating his 34th birthday. The La Liga champions marked the occasion in style.

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