Barca take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon stadium in a showdown that pits the two most successful teams in the competition’s history against each other. It is also a clash between two sides who will be looking to put recent disappointments behind them, with Barca having surrendered both their Primera Division and Champions League titles over the last few months, while Athletic were beaten Europa League finalists.
However, much of the focus will be on Guardiola and whether Barca can end the 41-year-old’s record-breaking reign with yet more silverware.
Since taking charge in 2008, Guardiola has guided Barca to 13 trophies with the blaugrana winning two Champions League crowns, three La Liga trophies, one Copa del Rey, three Supercopas, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups in just four years. That stunning run of success started with a Copa del Rey final victory over Athletic Bilbao, and Barca ace Andres Iniesta would love to finish Guardiola’s tenure in a similar fashion.
Iniesta, who is looking to win his first Copa final having been injured in 2009 and on the losing side against Real Madrid last season, said: “We will give everything to win the cup and finish these four years with a smile. This is our objective, we aren’t thinking about losing.” In the 2009 final Barca won 4-1 to clinch a record 25th Copa del Rey crown — two more than Athletic.