Barcelona players were spotted queuing up to have a photograph taken with captain Lionel Messi and the Copa del Rey trophy after Saturday’s impressive 4-0 win over Athletic.
Messi scored twice in the victory, in what could have been his last final with Barcelona, and was named the MVP after the final whistle. Teammates including Riqui Puig, Frenkie de Jong, Ansu Fati, Miralem Pjanic all took turns posing with the skipper after the final whistle.
At this point, Messi should be charging for these pic.twitter.com/Ipc719YPFX
— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) April 17, 2021
Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong also found the back of the net for Barcelona to secure the Copa del Rey for a record-extending 31st time. It’s also the 35th trophy for Messi in a Barcelona shirt.
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Will Messi Stay?
The reaction of the Barcelona players after the game had some fans worried that this might mean the captain will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Don't want to be the party pooper here, but…
Messi posing with the Copa and every single teammate and his words about "it's a special Copa for me as well because I've been at this club all my life"…
well, I hate to say it but you know what this might mean…
— Alex Truica (@AlexTruica) April 17, 2021
President Joan Laporta spoke to Telecinco after the match and insisted he is confident the 33-year-old will sign a new contract and extend his stay with the Catalan giants, as reported by Marca.
“Leo is the best player in the world. He’s very attached to this club,” he said. “I’m convinced that he wants to stay and we’ll do everything in our power so that he stays. Today, we saw that he’s surrounded by a great team. They played some very good football.”
Messi told reporters after the game it was “special” to lift the trophy in what has been a transitional season for the club under new manager Ronald Koeman.
Koeman Talks Messi Future
The Barcelona boss also offered his thoughts on Messi’s future after the win at a post-match press conference, as reported by Marca. The Dutchman was also full of praise for Messi after his two-goal performance.
“You never know if it has been Leo’s last final because it is he who must decide. As the president says, we will do our best to make him stay,” he said. “He has proven, once again, to be the best in the world. With enormous effectiveness, He has led the team. We also have to highlight the others, who also work a lot. The team was phenomenal today.”
Messi has said previously that he would wait until the end of the season before making a final decision on his future but fans will feel that Saturday’s victory may help convince the captain to continue at the Camp Nou.
The victory gives Koeman a first trophy as manager of the club and it’s also a first taste of success in a Barcelona shirt for youngsters such as Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Sergino Dest, Ilaix Moriba, and Oscar Mingueza.
Lifting the trophy could also provide Barca with a big boost ahead of the team’s final eight La Liga games of the season. Koeman’s team still have a chance of being crowned champions but have work to do to overhaul Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at the top of the table.