The Copa del Rey final, a game that could decide everything

OPINION

It’s not just any game. Not just any final for Barcelona. The team arrives at La Cartuja after a two year run in which everything has happened - they let a league escape them suffered an historic humiliation in Lisbon, a change of coach, Suarez leaving, Messi’s Burofax, economic crisis, serious injury, a new president… 

It’s an unsettled era at Barcelona, and a trophy could help calm waters which are still rough, even though the club have started a phase of transformation under new chief Joan Laporta. It’s the first time that a president has come in during a season and Laporta has not been an elephant in a pottery shop. Changes are happening slowly. A Copa del Rey would help the club undergo this transformation with more calm, fewer nerves and more common sense. It would also help this fistful of young players to get into the habit of winning titles, something demanded intrinsically by the club’s badge.

However there’s also a flip side of the coin. A defeat (it would be the second final lost this season against Athletic Club) would cause problems. It would be the third final lost by Laporta (basketball, football sala the other two) and would increase tension in the dressing room, leaving Ronald Koeman in a state of weakness. Sooner or later Laporta will want to make his mark on the bench too. In his history there are two coaches, Rijkaard and Guardiola, who were nothing in a coaching sense until they got the push from him. Both proved good bets.

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