Thousands turn out to celebrate Barcelona teams' victory parade

The men's team clinched a 27th La Liga title on Sunday with a 4-2 victory away to neighbours Espanyol – their first since 2019 – while Barca's women's team earned their fourth consecutive Liga F win at the end of April

Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski, top center, holds a scarf as he and other players celebrate from a bus during a parade to celebrate winning La Liga in Barcelona, Spain, Monday May 15, 2023.  (AP Photo / Joan Monfort)
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Thousands of Barcelona fans turned out to celebrate as the men's and women's teams paraded their Spanish league titles in an open top bus parade on Monday afternoon.

The men's team clinched a 27th La Liga title – their first since 2019 – on Sunday with a 4-2 victory away to neighbours Espanyol while Barca's women's team earned their fourth consecutive Liga F win at the end of April.

The players rode in two open-top buses, heading from Camp Nou to the city's Arc de Triomf monument five miles away, the streets lined with jubilant supporters despite the threat of rain.

Players from both sides wore T-shirts proclaiming "the league is ours, the future too". The women carried the slogan “We play together, we win together.”

Crowds increased as the buses headed along their route, to the main square, Plaza Catalunya, and then on towards the Arc.

Striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored twice in Sunday's win at Espanyol, showed some of his dance moves on top of the bus during the parade that lasted about three hours.

“I've never experienced anything like this,” said defender Ronald Araujo, draped in a Uruguayan flag. “I hope to enjoy many more experiences like this.”

"You can see the fans are very excited about it and obviously we are too," goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen told club television.

"It's a pride to share this with them [the fans] and have them closer than ever."

In front of the two players' buses, another bus pumping out pop songs to set the mood led the way, cutting through streets filled with blue and red smoke.

Feeling among supporters was positive, as expected during a parade, although they expect more to come from both teams in Europe.

Barcelona's women have reached the Champions League final, where they will face Wolfsburg in Eindhoven on June 3, while the men were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage for the second season running.

"We say to the fans that we are celebrating today, but that we have a lot of our minds focused on Eindhoven and that we will give everything and more to make them proud," two-time women's Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas told Barca TV.

Some supporters chanted Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Lionel Messi's name, hopeful that Barcelona can bring him "home" this summer at the end of his contract in France.

Others were more torn by the idea of Messi returning, despite president Joan Laporta pledging the club would "do everything" to sign him.

"On one hand I would like it because it would bring back a lot of excitement," said Anabel Sanz, 16.

"But on the other, I think not, because it would mean rebuilding the team again and in the long run, that would hurt us, it would not be good."

Messi, who turns 36 in June, is Barcelona's all-time top goalscorer, and said a tearful goodbye to the club in 2021 when they could not afford to renew his contract.

The Argentine World Cup winner is also said to be considering a bumper contract offer to play in Saudi Arabia worth €400 million a year.

Updated: May 16, 2023, 6:34 AM