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COPA DEL REY Athletic 0 - Barça 4 || A Sublime Barcelona Reigns Supreme

Koeman's team beats Athletic (0-4), who lost their sixth consecutive final in the tournament

Barcelona enjoyed a tremendous night like never before against Athletic who has made torment a way of life. He conquered the King's Cup playing like the angels to the beat of Frenkie de Jong, a superlative footballer, and seeing Leo Messi smile , denying everyone who ventured a twilight that is not such. Koeman was dazed by a work that few believed in, but which will continue. All the goals that did not fall in the first half were piled up in the second before the extreme frustration of the people of Bilbao, defeated for the sixth time in a row in a final and who will continue to see how this tournament, more than an engine of illusion, is a colt of torture. They haven't raised the Cup for 37 years.

Nothing attracts more than the things that we are unable to understand. We can already spend our lives trying to decipher football that there will always be a game that returns you badly to the starting line. For example, that first half in which Barcelona kept the ball (83% possession), came out whistling from the pressure, consistently occupied the spaces and made some rivals run who seemed only waiting to find a way out to the slaughterhouse . And here the blessed incoherence of all this. None of that works if there is no lucidity in the determining areas. And Koeman's team only finished once between the three suits in that opening act. Athletic, it is true, not even that. Although a foul that only Iñigo Martínez went to finish offin his heart he invited a certain prudence. Although that was nothing more than a simple mirage. An anecdote in a bathroom.

The first half hour of the Barcelona team had already scratched excellence. Koeman , who again denied 4-3-3 to trust his luck to 3-5-2, was right. He forced the limping Piqué. And although Araujo spent the night warming up, Piqué won how many duels he had with Williams, who wandered through the final like a lost soul. In the wide area, the superiority of the Barça midfielders was more than evident. Either because Busquets was able to pitch the tent in the three-quarter zone, either because De Jong, metronome in hand, was reaching where no one else was, or because Messi put his face on great occasions. He did not look at the ground, but at the sky. As much as he sent the referee to fry asparagus, with the cards sewn into his pocket.

The only problem in that initial act was the auction. Dembélé has already shown that he is not a nine, so he stayed on the bench. Neither is Griezmann. What difference does it make. He continues to be a footballer who won a World Cup one fine day, even scoring in the final. It did not even affect him to have started the second half by missing a clamorous occasion. When De Jong returned to leave him alone in the small area, his left foot did not play a trick on him anymore. Griezmann is persistent. Both in drama and in glory.


Marcelino went from one place to another trying to correct the incorrigible. The Athletic coach, who always trusted in the benefits of living from routine, did not offer any reason for redemption. It was chained to its 4-4-2. He made nine of the footballers who lost in the Cup final against Real Sociedad repeat ownership. He was not even tempted to bend the right side. Yuri's discomfort on the left bank allowed Balenziaga to play , while the one who accompanied Dani García on the pivot was Unai López. Muniain was also enlisted. Although the body did not give him to play more than a time. When he began exchanging pieces and ideas, his players were just bones scattered on the grass. And Barça could already take them ahead.

De Jong continued with his festival, scoring the second with his head, a sublime prologue to Messi's nirvana. The Argentine dribbled and cut to leave his rivals nailed like stakes. When La Pulga turns his feet into brushes, it is difficult not to stay and admire the painting. He did not even neglect his alliance with Jordi Alba, who best understands his gaze. Unai Simón did not know where to look before the two goals that closed the festival. Griezmann was left without the fifth, canceled for offside. By then, Barcelona was already walking on confetti.

And that's a life, isn't it? Some achievements and some disappointments, ”wrote Julian Barnes. The problem comes when disappointment hits you to the bone. Poor Athletic. Barça, on the other hand, senses a new time. And the Cup was always a good starting point.

Messi's win in a loop against Athletic: "It's a very special Cup for me"

The Cup classic in the 21st century has resulted in an endless loop of wins. Namely: 1-4 in 2009, 0-3 in 2012, 1-3 in 2015 and 0-4 last night. In each final copera between Barcelona and Athletic the previous ones are repeated, but also the chronicles that speak of a team, the azulgrana, which clearly passes over the other, the rojiblanco. And so, Barça throws one more title in an immense bag that does not stop gaining weight and Athletic confirms that the dream has long turned into a nightmare, and it no longer knows whether to burn the recently rehabilitated Gabarra in the middle of Plaza Moyua to may his memory and his invocation cease to haunt him.

In the four finals there was a common denominator, named Lionel and last name Messi, who last night lifted his first title as the first captain of Barcelona in which, who knows, it may be his last final dressed as a Barça player, since he still does not renew his contract. In the four Copa del Rey he has played against Athletic, the Argentine forward has scored four goals, two of them in last night's win.

"It is a very special Cup for me for being able to raise it as captain. It is a different year, of transition, with many young people. It was difficult for us to start in the first half of the year, but the team became stronger and, in the end, we got into in the fight, "said the forward in statements on Barça's official television, as he did not attend the press after the match, of which he was named best player.

Therefore, of course, there were no questions about his future, to which the president, Joan Laporta , did refer, after the first title of his second stage in office, in statements to Telecinco and TV3: "Leo is the best in the world He loves Barça and we will do everything in our power to make him stay. We are optimistic in every way and we want to do well to show him that he can continue to win titles here."


In the other half of La Cartuja, of course, optimism was not rife. Last night Athletic became the first Spanish club to lose six Cup finals in a row, the first of them in 1985 against Atlético. For 15 days, when he lost last year against Real Sociedad , he was even with Real Madrid (between 1918 and 1933), but since last night he has been the most unfortunate of the tournament alone.

"Barça has been superior. They have won deservedly and we congratulate them for that. To win a final we have to do much more than we did in this one," acknowledged Marcelino , who repeated the nightmare of 15 days ago. The Asturian has played the last three Cup finals and has only been able to win one, with Valencia in 2019, also against Barcelona. For Athletic, the streak of 37 years without winning the Copa del Rey continues painfully in force.

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