The Pep Guardiola era came to a close today in the best way possible, with Barcelona beating Athletic Bilbao 3-0 to get the second Copa del Rey and 14th trophy overall of the Pep Guardiola era. The game was decided early on, with a Messi strike and a Pedro brace in the first 25 minutes.
Here are the ratings for today’s match:
José Manuel Pinto – 6
Didn’t have any difficult saves to make, but his distribution was quite poor, missing too many passes and putting the team under some danger unnecessarily on a few occasions.
Adriano Correia – 7
Solid at the back, dangerous enough when overlapping. A good performance overall, even if not particularly spectacular.
Gerard Piqué – 7.5
Had some minor lapses and was lucky not to have conceded a penalty when he fouled Llorente in the box, but had a solid performance overall, with some quality interceptions and tackles.
Javier Mascherano – 8.5
Had another great performance at the back, barely putting a foot wrong and making countless interceptions and tackles, putting an end to most of Athletic’s potentially dangerous moves.
Martin Montoya – 7.5
Mostly untroubled defensively and dangerous enough up front after a nervous start where he lost a few balls foolishly. His final ball left a little to be desired, though, but it was still a good performance overall for the youngster who replaced Alves today.
Sergio Busquets – 8
Had a very solid performance as usual, shielding the defense and participating in the beginning of attacking moves. His distribution was nearly flawless as usual.
Xavi Hernandez – 8.5
Played a great match, pulling the strings in midfield and orchestrating the Barca domination. Assisted Pedro’s third goal as well, but more importantly helped Barcelona dominate the final with his trademark vision and passing.
Andrés Iniesta – 9
A truly sublime performance, effortlessly gliding through his opponents at times and giving the team that extra dimension only he can give. His assist for Messi’s goal was fantastic as well.
Alexis Sanchez – 7
Didn’t have a very inspired performance, but did a lot of work off the ball to open up space for his teammates. On the ball, though, he failed to be as threatening and explosive as he can be this time.
Pedro Rodriguez – 9
A magnificent performance, capped off with two wonderful goals, especially the second one. Had arguably his best performance of the season, combining his trademark work ethic with substance up front.
Lionel Messi – 8.5
Wasn’t at his best, but still scored a great goal and spread terror in the Athletic defense all match long with his dribbling and jinxing runs. Ended the season with 73 goals and 30 assists, truly mind blowing figures.
Seydou Keita – 6.5
Came in for Alexis Sanchez with the match already settled and didn’t add much, although he made his presence in midfield noticed.
Cesc Fabregas – N/A
Came in too close to the end to make a big impact on the match.
Thiago Alcantara – N/A
Came into the match in the dying minutes.
These ratings have been written by Manuel Traquete. He is a lifelong FC Barcelona supporter and a freelance football writer who shares his thoughts @Manueltraquete
Image: Angel Martinez [Getty]