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Barça set new La Liga record after 39 games unbeaten

Barcelona set a new La Liga record by extending their unbeaten run to 39 games with a 2-1 victory over Valencia on Saturday.

Barça set new La Liga record after 39 games unbeaten
Photo: AFP

Luis Suarez and Samuel Umtiti were both on target as Barca passed the 38 matches Real Sociedad managed without defeat between 1979 and 1980. Dani Parejo gave Valencia brief hope with an 87th-minute penalty. 

The win at the Camp Nou, which was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested, also eases fears that Tuesday's Champions League collapse against Roma could affect Barcelona's march to the league title.

Ernesto Valverde's side are now 14 points clear at the top of the table, before second-placed Atletico Madrid play their game in hand against Levante on Sunday.

“The value of these three points is great, they are three points of gold,” Valverde said.

“The week has been hard and that hard week affects everyone, including the fans.

“We have not lost much but the game the other day was important and you have the feeling that we have disappointed people. You want to repay them.”

There is no doubt Barca's shock defeat in Italy still lingers, and may still, even if the Catalans secure the first part of an expected domestic double by winning the Copa del Rey next weekend.

But it should take little away from their faultless form in the league, which means the last time they tasted defeat outside a cup competition was against Malaga just over 12 months ago.

This was already a club record run, now eight games better than the 31 unbeaten Pep Guardiola's brilliant team strung together in the season of 2010-11.

It would now seem only the home Clasico against Real Madrid on May 6th, and perhaps an awkward trip to Celta Vigo on Tuesday, stand in the way of Barcelona finishing the league campaign as invincibles.

“Records are there to be broken,” Suarez told beIN Sports. “The public can be angry about the Champions League, like us, but this is a recognition of the great season we are having in the league, which now seems to have been forgotten.”

FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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