Barca targets fitting farewell for Pep


Barcelona can cap four illustrious years under Pep Guardiola with a 14th trophy when it takes on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final.

Watch the Copa del Rey final LIVE on SBS ONE and streamed online on Saturday 26 May from 5:45am AEST.

It will be the last chance for the departing boss to add to the 13, out of a possible 18, trophies he has won in his four record-breaking seasons at the club.

It is also the only trophy that until now Guardiola has not managed to win at least twice, after collecting three Spanish leagues, two UEFA Champions Leagues, two FIFA World Club Cups, two UEFA Supercups, three Spanish Supercups and a solitary Spanish Cup.

Midfielder Andres Iniesta is sure about what it will take for Barca to add to his and Guardiola's haul of titles.

"Nobody is taking this game any more lightly than any other, this final is the last big effort of the season and we'll have to be at our best to overcome Athletic," he said.

Cesc Fabregas reiterated those sentiments.

"It would be a huge send-off if we can win it for Pep, we are coming into the final full of desire to win it. And although it's not normal to wait so long for the final we'll be ready for it," Fabregas said.

In fact, Guardiola is yet to lose as a coach to Bilbao, winning nine out of 14 clashes during those four seasons in charge.

Despite Bilbao's strong season, Barca goes into the game a clear favourite to repeat the victory of the 2008-2009 final when the Catalan side ran out a 4-1 victor after Bilbao had taken an early lead.

The two historic clubs have the most Spanish Cup victories, Barca with 25 to Bilbao's 23, and both sides are appearing in their 36th final.

However in contrast to Barca's trophy laden recent past, it is 28 years since Bilbao last won a title, when it beat Barca 1-0 in the 1984 final.

The barren years weigh heavily on a club with such tradition but this season Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa has rejuvenated the club with an attractive attacking style of play.

Source AFP