Barcelona players handed Ronald Koeman a ‘perfect birthday present’ at Reale Arena on Sunday night.
Koeman, who turned 58 on March 21, got to see his side maintain their imperious domestic form in a commanding manner.
Barcelona ran riot against Real Sociedad in their final La Liga fixture ahead of the international break, claiming a stunning 6-1 triumph.
In what was arguably their best performance under Koeman, the Catalan powerhouse utterly outclassed the Basque hosts to stay within touching distance from Atletico Madrid.
Very few things indicated the Blaugrana will hammer Sociedad in such an emphatic fashion as Antoine Griezmann broke the deadlock only in the 37th minute.
Offensive-minded right-back Sergino Dest made sure to propel Barca to a two-goal cushion at the stroke of half-time following a delightful assist from Lionel Messi.
Everything went smooth for Koeman’s side in the second half, with the former Ajax full-back latching on Jordi Alba’s perfect delivery to make it three for Barcelona.
Messi and Ousmane Dembele poured more misery on Imanol Alguacil’s men before Ander Barrenetxea slotted home a consolation goal for the La Real.
But, it was the Argentinean wizard who had the final say in this seven-goal epic.
High-flying visitors exchanged a few quick passes in a true ‘tiki-taka’ style before Alba set up Messi for a tap-in finish to put the icing on the cake.
During the post-match interview, Koeman hailed his team’s display as a ‘perfect birthday present.’
“We played a great game, even though it was difficult for us to score the first goal,” the Dutchman told Marca.
“At 2-0, we dominated, and we had a lot of effectiveness in attack.
“They have given me a great birthday present, and also to Alba and Griezmann [who turned 32 and 30 respectively this weekend].
“But I am not convinced we are not going to lose. There are very difficult games to come. The best we can do is to continue like this, and today is important in order to win something.”
Having now won 13 consecutive La Liga matches, Barcelona continue to breathe down Atletico’s neck as they sit only four points adrift of Diego Simeone’s pacesetters.