Neymar and Messi after the derby. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

FC Barcelona have led La Liga since August 19, 2012. They have played 50 games since then, 38 in last season’s championship and 12 in the present. First under Tito Vilanova, and now under Tata Martino, they have been top of the table for all that time.

2012/13: From start to finish

Such a long run at the top requires a strong start, and last season Barça went straight to the top on goal difference day one thanks to a 5-1 win over Real Sociedad.

They went on to win their first six games in a championship that they led from start to finish, eventually running away with the title by an astonishing 15 points, a league record.

2013/14: Best ever start

This season Barça have enjoyed their best ever start to a Liga campaign, winning their eight first matches. Once again they have led from the start, this time with a 7-0 drubbing of Levante on day one. This term, they did share the lead at one point with Atletico, when after four games they both had the maximum 12 points and a 14-6 goal difference.

Barça’s top spot came under the greatest threat when they were held 0-0 at Osasuna in game nine, but Atletico suffered shock defeat at Espanyol and stayed in second.  This lead has since been consolidated with further wins against Real Madrid, Celta and Espanyol, to take the streak to fifty games at the top.