A barren 2013-14 season was remedied by Barcelona in style as Luis Enrique waltzed to La Liga in his first year as coach at Camp Nou. The Catalans' victory was one third of a famous treble, becoming the first-ever Spanish side to achieve the distinction on two occasions as they added Copa del Rey and Champions League success in a campaign to remember.
The cornerstone of Barcelona's success was the so-called ‘MSN’, who in their debut season together beat all-comers to form a formidable attack. Luis Suarez joined Lionel Messi and Neymar up front, and the trio combined for 81 goals to outshine Real Madrid's BBC. The team coached by Carlo Ancelotti were eventually beaten out by just two points for the title, although there was some consolation in the shape of Cristiano Ronaldo's Pichichi trophy, the Portuguese hitman netting an incredible 48 times over the course of the season.
The major change for Barcelona during the summer of 2014, and indeed one of the major changes of their history, saw Enrique return to the club as manager after a successful period as a player. Enrique had impressed with Celta, and earned the return to the club he loves, where he would go on to claim a historic treble. Part of his success can be attributed to the acquisition of Suarez for €82.3 million from Liverpool and Ivan Rakitic from Liverpool, as the Uruguayan would go on to form the devastating ‘MSN’ partnership with Messi and Neymar. For this season, La Liga also welcomed newcomers Eibar, Deportivo, and Cordoba.
Still hurting after missing out on both La Liga and the Copa del Rey with defeats to Atletico and Real respectively, Barcelona came flying out of the blocks with seven wins in their first eight outings. Messi and Neymar, both with an additional point to prove after their nations were denied World Cup glory by Germany in the summer, were in potent form, taking Barca to the top of the table at the end of October.
Madrid, however, were still basking in the glory of their 10th Champions League title and were determined not to let their rivals get the upper hand. Goals from Ronaldo, Pepe and Karim Benzema handed a 3-1 Clasico defeat to Enrique's men at the Santiago Bernabeu, and a subsequent reverse at the hands of Celta saw Barca relinquish their hold on the summit. And while the Catalans' fortunes were fading, Real were back on top after a shaky start to the season: 12 straight wins up to the Christmas break saw the Merengue take control of La Liga, despite the distractions of a Club World Cup campaign in Morocco.
With previous champions Atletico failing to repeat the heroics of 2014-15 it appeared certain going into the new year that the Liga winner would once again be one of Spain's traditional giants.
Right now I'd like to thank everyone who helped in achieving this title and our fans. There are still two titles left to find out our grade, but winning La Liga is very satisfying to us.Luis Enrique
Diego Simeone's men had struggled to find the goals following Diego Costa's move to Chelsea, although new arrival Antoine Griezmann was quickly making a name for himself up front following his switch from Real Sociedad. The Colchoneros, however, did inflict a memorable 4-0 thrashing on Real that arguably changed the course of the entire campaign.
That defeat was one of three suffered by Ancelotti in the second half of the term, while Barca – now with Suarez firing on all cylinders having missed much of the pre-Christmas action due to his ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup – kept up the pressure. A 2-1 defeat for Madrid at Athletic on March 7 saw Barcelona retake the top spot, a position they consolidated with Clasico revenge two weeks later that made La Liga theirs to lose.
Both Clasico giants ended the season in sparkling form, but as fate would have it the Blaugrana's 1-0 win over Atletico in the penultimate round gained revenge for 2013-14's last-day drama and gave Enrique his title with a game to spare.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
A memorable debut campaign for the former Barca player, who emulated Pep Guardiola's heroics in 2009 by taking the treble.
CRISTIANO RONALDO - 48 GOALS
Madrid may have ended 2014-15 without silverware, but Ronaldo hit new heights with 48 goals to beat out Messi for the top scorer's accolade. The mark represents CR7's best-ever league season in front of the net, no mean feat even for one of the finest goal-getters in football history.
TEAM OF THE SEASON
GOAL OF THE SEASON
LIONEL MESSI makes the whole footballing world stop and appreciate for a moment, as he goes on a slaloming run against Athletic before emphatically finishing. It may be from the Copa del Rey, not La Liga, but to be honest, we don't care.
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER
Liverpool to Barcelona
KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON
Suarez cemented his name in Barca folklore by putting his side 2-1 up against Madrid in March's decisive Clasico. That win put the Catalans clear at the summit, paving the way for La Liga glory just two months later.