Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona with the trophy at some level of the Spanish Copa del Rey. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Photos)
Lionel Messi scored twice, in conjunction with an magnificent solo operate, as Barcelona blew away Athletic Bilbao to map shut the Copa del Rey on Saturday, consigning their opponents to a second closing defeat in two weeks.
The cup became once received and misplaced in a whirlwind 12 minutes in Seville, which seen Barca acquire four conditions to clinch an emphatic 4-0 victory, with Messi at his devastating simplest.
It remains to be viewed if his seventh Copa del Rey triumph is the final trophy Messi lifts in Barcelona colours nonetheless if this became once to be a closing flourish, the 33-one year-historical crafted a fitting farewell.
“Or no longer it’s very special to be captain of this team where I even have spent my complete existence and in actuality special so that you can prefer this cup,” Messi acknowledged.
His first operate, and Barca’s third, began with the Argentinian in his possess half earlier than a charging bustle down the staunch and a surge forward into the penalty dwelling gave him the chance for a easy appreciate.
With the club’s contemporary president Joan Laporta in the gang, Ronald Koeman’s first title as Barcelona coach could additionally aloof also seriously boost his chances of most attention-grabbing in payment past the summer season.
“To map shut a title is compulsory for me,” Koeman admitted afterwards.
But Laporta became once noticeably evasive when asked about Koeman’s future.
“He’s doing nicely,” he acknowledged.
Koeman took over a team the least bit-time low, humiliated by an historic loss to Bayern Munich and wounded by the makes an try of Messi to leave the club at no cost.
Nonetheless this 31st Copa del Rey success for the club is a testomony to development made and Koeman will hope it no longer simplest helps convince Messi to save nonetheless offers Barca momentum now in a neck-and-neck title flee in La Liga.
“No topic the changes on the club and the younger gamers, at Barca it’s compulsory to continuously fight for trophies,” Koeman acknowledged.
“Now we have the important thing one and now we are going to fight to the final sport in La Liga.”
Gerard Pique acknowledged it felt relish the club had been “reset”.
Messi became once sent off when Athletic Bilbao beat Barcelona, also on the La Cartuja, in January to map shut the Spanish Noteworthy Cup nonetheless they by no technique looked relish pulling off a repeat.
After Athletic misplaced to their Basque rivals Precise Sociedad in final one year’s postponed closing simplest two weeks in the past, lifting themselves for one more showpiece in the identical stadium and towards a more difficult opponent became once continuously going to be a good test.
“In both finals we played nicely under the extent that we’re succesful of,” acknowledged Athletic coach Marcelino Garcia Toral.
Barcelona were nearly forward after four minutes as Sergio Busquets played in Messi, who rolled reduction for Frenkie de Jong nonetheless his sidefooted appreciate got here reduction off the far put up.
Sergino Dest dragged wide whereas Inigo Martinez had Athletic’s simplest chance nonetheless as he stretched for the bouncing ball, he could additionally simplest shuffle over.
Athletic gave the affect to have played their components into the match earlier than half-time nonetheless Barcelona got here out with renewed vigour, with Unai Simon making two perfect saves to disclaim Antoine Griezmann and then Busquets, both from shut range.
Nonetheless when the resistance gave components, it modified into a collapse, with targets scored in the 60th, 63rd, 68th and 72nd minutes to leave Athletic’s hopes in tatters.
First, Messi slipped in Dest down the staunch and his nasty became once diverted in by Griezmann earlier than the second got here from the reverse flank, Jordi Alba curled in a terrible for De Jong to nod in.
The third became once a spectacular from Messi, who began the pass in his possess half, leaping over one anguish and dodging one more.
He took the ball reduction from Dest and drove down the staunch wing, away from three opponents and inner.
Messi twice played off De Jong, the second time after motoring forward into the penalty dwelling, where he darted between two final Athletic defenders and slid the appreciate into the far nook.
His second, and Barca’s fourth, became but again straight-forward, Alba pulling a terrible reduction for the Argentinian to tuck under a outdated staunch hand from Simon and through the put up. For Athletic, there became once no components reduction.