Andres Iniesta earns 9/10 with incredible display in last Barca final
Barcelona romped to a 5-0 victory over Sevilla on Saturday to win the Copa del Rey for the fourth year running and a record 30th time. A domestic double now appears inevitable.
Luis Suarez struck twice, Lionel Messi and man of the match Andres Iniesta scored once each and Philippe Coutinho fired home the fifth from the penalty spot to seal a special victory that helps to heal the wounds caused by Barcelona's Champions League quarterfinal defeat to Roma.
Barcelona effectively sealed the double at the Wanda Metropolitano, given they are three points from the league title, and they did it with one of the best performances of their season. With such an emphatic victory, some of the bad vibes after their European exit will dissipate.
Iniesta put in a sensational performance but left the pitch in tears in the final stages of the game, as it seems his time at the club is coming to an end. Reports in Spain suggest it is only a matter of time before he announces his move to the Chinese Super League, and this performance was just a painful reminder of what a giant Barcelona will lose.
Manager rating (out of 10)
8 -- Ernesto Valverde's work was perhaps done for him by the team's failure in Rome and the desperation among the players to make up for one of the most disappointing nights in their recent history. Valverde played his strongest team and it was as simple as that, with the coach watching as they took Sevilla apart.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jasper Cillessen, 7 -- The Dutchman has never let Barcelona down on the rare occasion he gets the chance to play, and he showed both sides of his game here. The stopper helped set up the first goal with a superb long kick downfield that fell to Coutinho just a few yards out from goal. After the break, he was alert to deny Sandro Ramirez as Sevilla broke for a consolation.
DF Sergi Roberto, 7 -- Solid and dependable at the back, giving Joaquin Correa and any other player who drifted into his zone short shrift. He doesn't have the same thrust as Jordi Alba going forward, but he is dependable on the ball and rarely wastes a pass.
DF Gerard Pique, 8 -- Led the defence and on various occasions was the man who nipped Sevilla's threats in the bud. Pique was one of the main beneficiaries of Valverde resting key players for the midweek trip to Celta Vigo and was at his dominant best.
DF Samuel Umtiti, 7 -- No player has epitomised Barcelona's recent drop in form as much as the French centre-back, but he returned to a high level to help them win the cup and keep Sevilla at bay. Came close to scoring in the second half but couldn't quite nudge the ball home.
DF Jordi Alba, 8 -- Produced an assist that Messi himself would be proud of when setting up the Argentine for Barcelona's second goal. Alba reached Iniesta's pass, broke into the area and back-heeled the ball perfectly into Messi's path to rifle home. A constant thorn in Sevilla's side.
MF Sergio Busquets, 8 -- The holding midfielder finally looks to have recovered from his toe fracture, as he put on a master class on how to use the ball in midfield. One piece of skill on the edge of his own area left even Sevilla fans in awe.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 8 -- The Croatian sometimes goes under the radar in games like these, but his hard work and defensive efforts allow Barcelona's star names to thrive ahead of him. Rakitic was essential against his old side, always getting his foot in at the right time to make sure Barca stayed on top in midfield.
MF Philippe Coutinho, 8 -- Game by game, the Brazilian looks more comfortable in the team, and soon it will be hard to imagine Barcelona without him playing. Nominally on the right but floated in midfield, setting up the first goal for Suarez and sending David Soria the wrong way from the penalty spot for the fifth.
MF Andres Iniesta, 9 -- If this is the Barcelona captain's last final for the club, it was a sensational way to go out, with his name ringing around the stadium at the end, sung by both sets of fans. Sensational passing in midfield, hit the crossbar and then rounded Soria and finished from a tight angle for the fourth goal.
FW Lionel Messi, 9 -- At first this didn't look like it was going to be his day, with Sevilla cutting him off twice in his stride, but Messi didn't give up. Drove home the second and laid on goals for Suarez and Iniesta as he became the first player to set up goals in three consecutive Copa del Rey finals and only the second player to score in five Copa del Rey finals.
FW Luis Suarez, 8 -- The Uruguayan was in the right place to hook home the opening goal and battled well throughout, finishing clinically from Messi's through ball to more or less seal Barcelona's triumph before half-time. His struggles in front of goal from the first half of the season have been long forgotten.
MF Paulinho, NR -- Came on for Busquets with the game already won.
FW Ousmane Dembele, NR -- A brief cameo on the right flank.
MF Denis Suarez, NR -- On the pitch for less than two minutes, after Iniesta came off to his well-deserved applause.
Richard Martin covers FC Barcelona for ESPN FC. Twitter: @rich9908.