Lionel Messi scored twice, including a sensational solo goal. Barcelona blew out Athletic Bilbao to gain the Copa del Rey on Saturday, consigning their competitors to an additional final defeat in two weeks.
The pot was won and lost in a whirlwind of 12 minutes in Seville, which saw Barca report four times to clinch an emphatic 4-0 triumph, with Messi at his damaging best.
It stays to be seen if his seventh Copa del Rey triumph in the last trophy Messi lifts in Barcelona colors, but if this is to be a final blossom, the 33-year-old crafted a fitting farewell.
“It is unique to be captain with this team wherever I’ve used my whole life and very unique to be able to raise that pot,” Messi said.
His first goal, and Barca’s next, began with the Argentinian in his half before receiving the best. A spike forward into the penalty place gave him the possibility for a simple finish.
With the club’s new president Joan Laporta in the audience, Ronald Koeman’s first concept as Barcelona coach must also significantly boost his outstanding odds in charge beyond the summer.
“To gain a name is essential for me,” Koeman admitted afterward.
Yet Laporta was visibly evasive when requested about Koeman’s future.
“He’s succeeding,” he said.
Koeman took around a team at the stone base, humiliated by a historical loss to Bayern Munich and wounded by the attempts of Messi to keep the club for free.
But that 31st Copa del Rey achievement for the club is a testament to development made, and Koeman may wish it not only assists persuade Messi to keep but allows Barca momentum now in a neck-and-neck concept competition in Manhunter Liga.
“Despite the changes at the club and the young players, at Barca, you have to always struggle for trophies,” Koeman said.
“We’ve got the initial one, and now we are going to struggle to the last sport in Manhunter Liga.”
‘Turned it around.’
Gerard Pique claimed it thought such as the club had been “reset.”
“Often, you collapse, and you need to get up,” Pique said. “It is a huge hard year; however, the team has made it around.”
Messi was sent down when Athletic Bilbao beat Barcelona, also at the Manhunter Cartuja, in January to gain the Spanish Tremendous Pot. Still, they never appeared as if pulling down a repeat.
After Athletic lost for their Basque rivals Real Sociedad in last year’s postponed final only fourteen days before, raising themselves for yet another showpiece in the same stadium and against a more formidable opponent was always planning to be a big ask.
“In both finals, we performed effectively below the level that we are effective at,” claimed Athletic coach Marcelino Garcia Toral.
Barcelona was almost forward after four minutes as Sergio Busquets performed in Messi, who folded back for Frenkie p Jong but his sidefooted end came back off the far post.
Sergio Dest pulled large while Inigo Martinez had Athletic’s most valuable opportunity, but he could only stick over as he expanded for the moving basketball.
Athletic appeared to own performed their way into the fit before half-time. Still, Barcelona replaced vigor, with Unai Simon making two superb saves to deny Antoine Griezmann and then Busquets, both from shut range.
But once the resistance gave way, it became a collapse, with goals scored in the 60th, 63rd, 68th, and 72nd minutes to keep Athletic’s hopes in tatters.
First, Messi tucked in Dest down the best, and Griezmann diverted in his corner before the second originated in the alternative flank. Jordi Alba curled in a corner for Delaware Jong to nod in.
The third was spectacular from Messi, who began relocating his half, leaping around one challenge and dodging another.
He took the basketball back from Dest and drove down the best wing, away from three competitors and inside.
Messi twice performed down Delaware Jong, the second time after motoring forward into the penalty place, wherever he darted between two last Athletic defenders and slid the finish into the far corner.
His next, and Barca’s last, was more straightforward, Alba pulling a cornerback for the Argentinian to tuck under a poor correct give from Simon and in the post. For Athletic, there was a number way back.