Messi leads Barca to third King's Cup win in a row
Lionel Messi and Neymar showed their pedigree as Barcelona outclassed a determined Alaves side 3-1 on Saturday to win the King's Cup.
MADRID – Lionel Messi and Neymar showed their pedigree as Barcelona outclassed a determined Alaves side 3-1 on Saturday to win the King's Cup for a third successive year, allowing coach Luis Enrique to leave the club on a high.
Messi curled in the opener in the 30th minute from outside the area following clever link up play with Neymar after Alaves, who were playing in their first domestic final, had struck the inside of the post.
The Basque side drew level three minutes later when Theo Hernandez fizzed a spectacular free-kick into the top corner although Neymar restored Barca's lead a minute before halftime, bundling in Andre Gomes's pass from close range after starting the move with a dazzling run down the left.
Paco Alcacer further stretched the Catalans' lead two minutes later killing off Alaves' hopes of a first trophy in their 96-year history and delivering Barca's 29th King's Cup, the ninth trophy of Luis Enrique's three-year tenure.
“Nine trophies in a club like Barca, who have had a glorious decade, means that the players have been at their very best and I was able to enjoy it. These trophies were down to the players and their ambition,” Luis Enrique told reporters.
“It's great to finish the season with a trophy and not go home empty handed. We've won another trophy, but the team gave their best in every game.
“I feel satisfied with a job well done and I can't wait to rest, to be with my family and enjoy some well-deserved holiday.”
Luis Enrique said he had no plans for the immediate future and is expected to take a sabbatical year before plotting his next move.
Former Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde is set to be named as his successor on Monday, according to reports in the Spanish media.