‘Barca will fight for La Liga’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 19, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 19, 2021

‘Barca will fight for La Liga’

Lionel Messi, who scored twice, has revealed his delight at lifting his first Copa del Rey trophy as Barcelona captain. Barcelona thrashed Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the final on Saturday to win the trophy for a record-extending 31st time with all the goals coming in the last half an hour.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said he was very confident Messi, who has only two months left on his contract and tried to leave last year after falling out with then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu, would choose to stay at the club after the Argentine delivered a vintage performance.

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Barca's all-time top scorer and most decorated player however gave no hints about his future rather Messi echoed coach Ronald Koeman's comments regarding Barcelona's intention to continue to battle for a La Liga and Copa double this season.

La Blaugrana have eight games left in the league season but they are trailing second place Real Madrid by a point and two points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid.

"It's very special to be captain of this club, where I've spent half my life. It's a very special cup for me to be able to lift. It's a pity we can't celebrate with our fans. It was a hard year for us and to be able to celebrate this and try and win La Liga is very important. It's a transition year, with a lot of young players, the team has become stronger," said Messi, who scored a sensational individual goal midway through the second half after strikes from Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong had put the Catalans in charge.

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has issued a rallying call to his side following their Copa del Rey success as the Dutch coach refused to settle for the success of one title, with the Catalans still on course to potentially clinch a La Liga and Copa double at the end of the season. "We are very happy and we deserved to win at least one title this season and we will fight for La Liga until the last game. The club deserves it. It is a happy day for all Catalans," Koeman said. "It is a deserved success. We have made changes to the team this year, but the players have delivered," he added.

Koeman's side now face a tight end of season run in as they aim to hold of current league leaders Atletico Madrid and defending champions Real Madrid.

Up next for the Catalan giants in league action is a midweek clash at home to Getafe followed by seven games to wrap up the 2020-21 campaign.

Their May 8 Camp Nou tie with Atletico could potentially decide whether the La Liga trophy will remain in the Spanish capital or returns to Catalonia for first time since 2019.


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