Messi hits three as Barca win Spanish La Liga title
LIONEL Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona clinched a 25th Spanish La Liga title with a 4-2 victory at Deportivo La Coruna.
Barca threw away a two-goal lead in a thrilling game before Messi struck twice late on to confirm Depor's relegation.
Atletico Madrid tightened their grip on second place by winning 1-0 at Alaves, with a penalty from Kevin Gameiro.
Valencia's march towards Champions League qualification was delayed after they were held to a goalless draw at home to Eibar.
Barca only needed a draw to seal their seventh title in the past 10 years and they made a perfect start when record signing Philippe Coutinho scored with a stylish finish before Messi doubled the lead by volleying home a Luis Suarez cross.
Deportivo deservedly pulled one back through Lucas Perez five minutes before half-time and Turkish midfielder Emre Colak equalised in the 68th minute.
Clarence Seedorf's side needed victory to survive in the top flight for another week and they came close to finding a third goal and becoming the first team to beat Barca in the league this season.
But the runaway leaders kept counter-attacking and it was top scorer Messi who restored their lead, striking from close range in the 82nd minute after being teed up by Suarez.
Messi claimed his 32nd league goal of the season with the help of another pass from Suarez to become the first player to score 30 goals or more in seven La Liga seasons.
"I'm very happy, we feel so much joy after winning this league," the Argentine told Barcelona's television channel.
"We know how complicated it is to win the league, which is why we have to cherish this and celebrate it as we should with all our fans.
"It was a very special league win because we didn't lose a game. We had some tough moments and we overcame them without losing and that's incredible."
Departing Barca great Andres Iniesta came on as a late substitute and was a given a huge roar by the generous Deportivo crowd.
"We have won it with a very big margin and in the end we were the best in the league," Barca coach Ernesto Valverde told reporters.
Valverde's unbeaten side have 86 points from 34 games, with Atletico 11 points adrift and third-placed Real Madrid on 71 points.
Atletico earned a first away league win in more than two months thanks to a late penalty converted by French forward Gameiro after Fernando Torres had spurned an earlier spot-kick against Alaves.
Atletico forward Angel Correa was sent off in stoppage-time after two bookings.
Fourth-placed Valencia hosted Eibar but they could only draw a blank against the Basques.