The Washington Post Sunday
Messi and Barcelona roll to the Copa del Rey title
Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao, 4-0, to win the Copa del Rey final Saturday, giving Ronald Koeman his first title as coach of the Catalan club.
Messi’s two goals came after Antoine Griezmann finally beat Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simón at the hour-mark.
Frenkie de Jong headed in a second goal in the 63rd minute before Messi dealt a double blow to put the result beyond any doubt by the 72nd minute.
It is Barcelona’s first title since it won the Spanish league in 2019. Koeman, a former Barcelona defender, returned to coach the club last summer after Barcelona finished last season without a title for the first time since 2008.
Barcelona’s record 31st cup comes at a crucial junction for Barcelona and Messi. Barcelona has seen its finances badly damaged by the pandemic, and its former president, Josep Bartomeu, was forced to resign after the team’s poor performance last season and alleged administrative irregularities. Bartomeu has denied any wrongdoing.
But the peak of the club’s crisis came last summer when Messi said that he wanted to put an end to his highly successful two decades with Barcelona. Since then, he has only said he will make a decision when his contract is up at the end of this season.
ENGLAND: Manchester l City’s quadruple dream was extinguished by Chelsea. Even more concerning could be the injury to Kevin De Bruyne for the ongoing pursuit of a treble.
Chelsea will be back at Wembley Stadium next month for the FA Cup final after a 1-0 victory over City was clinched with a goal by Hakim Ziyech in London.
Pep Guardiola will return even sooner with City for the League Cup final April 25 but with doubts over whether De Bruyne will be fit to face Tottenham.
The influential Belgian playmaker hobbled off with an apparent ankle injury just as City is entering a crunch period of the season. An 11-point Premier League lead makes collecting that trophy a near-certainty, but there is also a first Champions League semifinal with City for Guardiola against Paris Saint-Germain in what remains the priority for the club . . . .
Sheffield United’s relegation from the Premier League was finally confirmed following its 1-0 defeat at Wolverhampton.
The rock-bottom Blades will play in the League Championship next season after Willian Jose’s second-half winner.
GERMANY: Bayern Munich l teenager Jamal Musiala starred for the Bavarian powerhouse, which moved seven points clear in the Bundesliga before Coach Hansi Flick said he wanted to leave at the end of the season.
Musiala scored two goals and was involved in the other as Bayern held on for a 3-2 win at thirdplace Wolfsburg.
That’s not enough to convince Flick to stay.
“I would like to get out of my contract at the end of the season. That’s a fact,” Flick told Sky Sports Germany after the game.
MLS: Brad Guzan had three l saves to help Atlanta United to a 0-0 tie with host Orlando City in the teams’ season opener . . . .
Randall Leal had a goal and an assist to help host Nashville rally for a 2-2 tie with Cincinnati . . . .
Mason Toye scored in the third minute, and FC Montreal led the rest of the way in its 4-2 win over Toronto FC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla . . . .
Corey Baird scored in the 61st minute, and host Los Angeles FC sent expansion Austin FC to a 2-0 defeat in the inaugural match for the league’s 27th team . . . .
Robert Beri had a goal and an assist, and the host Chicago Fire tied the New England Revolution, 2-2. It was the Fire’s first time playing at Soldier Field in more than 15 years . . . .
Gadi Kinda and Daniel Salloi each scored second-half goals, and Sporting Kansas City beat the New York Red Bulls, 2-1, in Harrison, N.J . . . .
Jimmy Maurer made six saves to help FC Dallas secure a point in a 0-0 tie with the Colorado Rapids in Frisco, Tex.
Ronaldo is hurting
A muscle issue will keep Cristiano Ronaldo out of a key Serie A match at Atalanta on Sunday.
“Cristiano will not play,” Juventus Coach Andrea Pirlo said.
“He could not recover from a flexor issue. So with the medical staff we decided that tomorrow’s match was too risky for him.”