Barcelona Win Copa Del Rey
Pedro struck twice and Messi scored his 73rd goal of the season on Friday night to beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in the Copa del Rey Final. All the action happened in the first half, with Pedro seizing on a loose ball to put Barca in the lead, before Iniesta threaded an incredible ball to Messi who did well to beat the opposing keeper at his near post from a tight angle. Pedro made it three with a curling shot to the bottom far corner from outside the area, in a dominant first half. Although Bilbao improved in the second period they weren't able to score the goal that would have given them a lifeline in the game.
The victory was a fitting performance for a team enjoying its final game under Pep Guardiola, who is stepping down after four incredible years as manager - during which Barcelona won 14 trophies, including two Champions League Trophies, beating Manchester United in 2009 and again in 2011. However, after a year in which his team were beaten in La Liga by Real Madrid and went out in the semi-finals of the Champions League to Chelsea, the man who is idolised in Catalonia has decided to take a sabbatical to consider his footballing future.
It's going to make 2012-13 a fascinating and challenging year for everyone associated with FC Barcelona, as new head coach Tito Vilanova will be charged with taking on Real Madrid's reenergised team led by Jose Mourinho in La Liga, and also hope to reclaim their European crown. With Xavi, Iniesta and Messi they still have arguably the best three players in the world, but it will be interesting to see who they target in the summer transfer season to improve their squad, with a defender and out-and-out striker thought to be high up on the shopping list.