Messi bags Puskas contender but magical Frenkie de Jong deserves the plaudits as Barcelona clinch Copa glory
- La Liga
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Barcelona steamrolled Athletic Bilbao on Saturday evening, to add another Copa del Rey title to the club’s ever-growing collection.
Messi at the double
Ronald Koeman’s men made the trip to the Estadio La Cartuja a short time ago, for the Copa showpiece.
The Blaugrana of course headed into proceedings as favourites, despite a damaging 2-1 Clasico defeat to Real Madrid last weekend.
Bilbao, meanwhile, were aiming to avoid a 2nd heartbreak in the space of 10 days, having been put to the sword by Real Sociedad in the rescheduled 2020 Copa finale just last week.
When all was said and done in Seville, though, Barca’s class simply proved too much, en route to as one-sided a tournament showpiece as one could possibly imagine.
With an hour played out on Saturday night, the scoreline actually remained locked at 0-0, as Barcelona toiled in their efforts to turn complete dominance of possession into a telling advantage.
HALF-TIME 4️⃣5️⃣ 🇪🇸🏆
Athletic Club 0-0 Barcelona
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) April 17, 2021
The Catalans finally took the lead, though, just beyond the 60th minute, when Frenkie de Jong’s delivery across the face of goal was guided home by the arriving Antoine Griezmann.
And from here, the floodgates opened.
Within three minutes, Barca had added their 2nd, as Jordi Alba’s delightful floated ball from the left was nodded beyond Unai Simon by Frenkie de Jong.
Then, the moment of the night was forthcoming, just over 20 minutes from time.
This time it was Lionel Messi at the heart of things, as the Argentine started and finished one of the finest team goals likely to be scored across Europe all season:
MAGIC FROM MESSI! 🤯🙌
A moment of absolute genius, vintage Barcelona, and they’re now well on their way to picking up another Copa del Rey trophy 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/SWWOhMEIkB
— Watch Rangers v Celtic live on Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) April 17, 2021
And there was even time for the Blaugrana’s talisman to bag his brace, slotting home at Simon’s near post from another Jordi Alba assist.
In turn, on the back of the action coming to a close in Seville, it has come as little surprise to see that man Messi take centre stage in the post-match chatter.
In truth, though, it was another of Barcelona’s stars who proved the catalyst in their victory this evening.
The player in question? Frenkie de Jong.
The full extent of Dutchman de Jong’s contributions do not always show up in the ‘box score’, but tonight, his brilliance was on display for all to see.
Amid a remarkable all-round performance, the former Ajax man stepped up to break the will of an initially steely Bilbao backline, teeing up Griezmann’s opener with class and poise, before getting on the scoresheet himself minutes later.
De Jong was also at the heart of Messi’s stunning first, laying off for the Argentine to cut inside, and pick out the far corner.
The big-money midfielder’s stint in Catalunya has of course not always proven smooth sailing to date, but tonight, Frenkie de Jong reminded anyone who may have forgotten of just what a world-class talent he truly is.
Frenkie de Jong vs Athletic Club
96% pass accuracy
3 key passes
2/2 accurate long balls
4/4 successful dribbles
1 tackle won
8/11 duels won
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) April 17, 2021