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By ESPN Staff

Messi celebrates hard-earned title

Barcelona star Lionel Messi reflected on a hard-earned success after helping the Catalan giants claim their third successive Primera Division title.

Barca clinched the crown - the 21st in their history - after gaining the point they needed against Levante to ensure they could not be caught by second-placed Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola's men are now six points ahead of Madrid with two games remaining but they boast the better head-to-head record against the capital club this season, which is the deciding factor if the teams are level on points.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw at Levante, Messi said in Marca: ''I'm very happy because it's been a very tough title.

''It's taken a lot of hard work to be champions and more so against a great rival like Real Madrid.

''Now we have to enjoy it,'' added the Argentinian, who hit the post in the second half but was not able to add to his 31 league goals this season - leaving him five behind Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in race for the Pichichi award as top scorer.

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