Barcelona's astonishing 60-pass move for Lionel Messi goal in Copa del Rey final

  • Kobe Tong
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Barcelona put on an absolute masterclass to defeat Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final.

It's not often that you see the domestic cup competition in one of Europe's top five leagues won by a 4-0 scoreline and even less frequently do you see it when the game was goalless for so long.

In fact, despite Barcelona essentially dominating from the get-go, it wasn't until the final half an hour that they really drove the knife in Athletic with a flurry of four goals in the space of just 12 minutes.

Athletic Bilbao 0-4 Barcelona

Frenkie de Jong was absolutely pivotal in breaking the deadlock for Ronald Koeman's men, first turning provider for Antoine Griezmann to score and then heading home a strike of his own for 2-0.

And although the Dutch midfielder was also involved in Barcelona's third goal at the Estadio de La Cartuja, it was all about Lionel Messi from that moment onwards with a stunning solo run.

Pinging a brace of one-twos to De Jong along the way, Messi essentially ran the length of the pitch, ghosting past Athletic players like they weren't even there, before cooly slotting home his finish.

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Barcelona's fourth goal

It was pretty jaw-dropping, I'm sure you'll all agree, but what if we were to say that Barcelona's fourth goal on the night might actually have been more impressive? Yes, you heard that right.

On the surface, Messi capping off a fine Jordi Alba cross with a shot that Unai Simon probably should have saved looks, well, pretty average but it was the build-up that made it so spectacular.

In fact, get your abacuses out because by our calculations, Barcelona played a mind-boggling 60 passes uninterrupted before Alba and Messi's endgame rippled the net in Seville.

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Barcelona pass Athletic to death

Now, trust us when we say that's pretty crazy because Goal reported in 2017 that the goal with the longest build-up since records began in the Premier League actually stood at 48 passes.

That, for the record, was a Nacer Chadli strike for Tottenham against Queens Park Rangers in 2014, but it's got nothing on the masterpiece that Barcelona put together in the Copa del Rey climax.

So, be sure to channel your inner footballing hipster and grab yourself a cappuccino or craft ale by checking out Barcelona killing Athletic Bilbao with 'tiki-taka' brilliance:

It's like the good old days, isn't it?

Superb passing from Barcelona

There's just something about Barcelona playing gorgeous football that's like a hug from an old friend because, frankly, the footballing world's a better place for seeing passages of play like that.

And while, yes, certain sections of the move aren't going to get Pep Guardiola weak at the knees, it felt fitting that Barca's metronomic build-up got the pinball ending that it so thoroughly deserved.

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Besides, it was the umpteen-millionth reminder that Alba and Messi have a telepathic connection, finding each other within the blink of a second to hammer the final nail in Athletic's coffin.

So, whenever you see another tweet criticising Bilbao's defending in the final, fear not, because it's absolutely spot on, but it just happens that Barca inflicted that upon them by way of passing them into submission. 

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