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Lionel Messi rolls back the years as Barcelona win Copa del Rey to avoid trophyless season

Barcelona have won their 5th Copa del Rey in seven years
Barcelona have won their 5th Copa del Rey in seven years
ANALYST

Everything is coming together quite well for Barcelona. After a disastrous start to the season, the Blaugrana are finally back to where they belong – at the pinnacle of Spanish football.

A few months ago, though, everything was different. Lionel Messi’s decision to leave plunged the club into turmoil even before the season started.

The club failed to make any major signings last summer before a series of poor results quickly followed. By mid-February, they were out of the Champions League and lagging behind in the La Liga title race.

However, Barcelona have managed to turn all that around and Saturday’s Copa del Rey win means the Blaugrana will now end the season with at least one major trophy.

Messi masterclass sinks Bilbao

Barcelona took some time to get going in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao, but they finally sprung to life in the second half.

Some believe Barcelona play better when Messi is happy. For almost an hour, the Argentine was missing from the game but once he clicked into gear, there was no stopping him.

Ronald Koeman’s side scored four goals in the last 30 minutes as they ruthlessly put Athletic Bilbao to the sword. What started as a tight game ended up as one of the most one-sided finals in Copa del Rey history.

This win had Messi’s genius written all over it. The 33-year-old rolled back the years to put up one of his best performances this season, scoring a brace to add to earlier goals from Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong.

Messi was deservedly awarded man-of-the-match, with his first goal – which saw him take on as many as five Athletic Bilbao players before calmly slotting home – becoming a highlight reel on various social media platforms.

Barcelona avoid second successive trophyless season

Having gone trophyless last season, Barcelona’s triumph in the Copa del Rey comes as a huge relief to the club and its millions of fans across the world.

Exiting the Champions League came as a huge disappointment but this is a welcome consolation and could set the tone for a final charge in the title race in La Liga.

"It's a fantastic feeling. Getting to the final was difficult, with those extra-time games. We're very happy and we deserved to win at least one trophy this season. The club deserves it,” Koeman said, as quoted by Marca.
"It's a really important trophy for the club in a year of change. The team always had faith in winning something. It's a happy day for all Barcelona fans. It's a deserved success.
"We've made changes to the team this season, but the players have bought into it. I want to credit the team's attitude, especially in the Copa, where we've suffered a lot. We were hungry. Now we have one trophy in the bag and we're going to go for a second. We will fight for LaLiga until the last day."

One trophy is down but there is another to go. Barcelona are just two points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid and the probability of ending the season with two trophies is now more realistic than ever.


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Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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