Barcelona bid Luis Enrique a fitting farewell as they beat Alaves 3-1 to win the Copa del Rey for a record 29th time, in the Vicente Calderon’s last-ever game.
Theo Hernandez’s wonderful free kick pulled Alaves level with Barca, but Neymar’s close-range finish in first-half stoppage time was quickly followed by a genius Lionel Messi assist for Paco Alcacer as the Catalans ensured they ended the season with a major trophy.
Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique passed late fitness tests to start the Final, while Aleix Vidal appeared as a substitute for his first appearance since dislocating his ankle three months ago. However, Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez were absent through suspension.
Alaves, meanwhile, were looking to lift the first Copa of their 96-year history, and an early chance saw Deyverson shake his man off in the Catalans’ box, but his cutback was intercepted before it could be tapped in by a teammate.
Mascherano took a bloody gash to the head from Marcos Llorente in a mid-air collision, forcing him to leave the pitch on a stretcher, in what was possibly his last game for La Blaugrana.
The Basques prevented their opponents from playing their usual passing game, albeit by stretching laws of the game, and Gerard Pique was caught napping when Ibai Gomez’s angled drive from the left deflected off Jasper Cillessen’s back, onto his near post, across the line but not over it.
Straight at the other end, Paco Alcacer was denied from close range by Fernando Pacheco, but in trademark Messi fashion, the No 10 came in from the right, played a one-two with Neymar and bent a shot into the goalkeeper’s bottom-left corner.
Yet Theo showed exactly why he was a reported target for both Barca and Real Madrid as he delightfully sent a free kick past Cillessen from around 25 yards out.
Alaves seemingly did enough to take a 1-1 draw into the break, but Andre Gomes’ cutback was tucked away by Neymar at the far post.
Moments later, Messi dribbled in from the right, before playing a superb, reverse ball for Alcacer to drill past Pacheco.
With those, Neymar became the first player to score in three consecutive Copa finals since Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas in the 1960s, while Messi equalled Telmo Zarra by netting in four different Copa finals.
Messi almost helped himself to another assist, when Alcacer flung himself onto the Argentine’s cross at the far post, but the attacker was denied on the line by Pacheco.
Samuel Umtiti almost gifted Alaves a route back into the game with a poor backpass, but Cillessen positioned himself in a way that let him clear the danger.
An unmarked Ruben Sobrino hit a loose ball first time in the Barca box, but his volleyed strike was closed down by Gomes. Devyerson then had a scuffed shot pushed away by Cillessen at his near post.
Devyerson did score when he blasted the ball past Cillessen, but his effort was correctly ruled out due to an offside flag.
Sobrino shoved Neymar to the ground in Alaves’ box, but no penalty was given as Messi engaged in a pushing match with the former Manchester City striker, before Andres Iniesta protested to the referee, resulting in bookings all around.
A long ball dropped awkwardly for Cillessen, but the goalkeeper again managed to punch it clear, just inside his box and in the nick of time.
Barcelona 3-1 Alaves
Messi 30, Neymar 45, Alcacer 45 (B) Theo 33 (A)
Barcelona: Cillessen; Mascherano (Gomes 11), Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic (Vidal 83), Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Alcacer, Neymar
Alaves: Pacheco; Femenia, Vigaray, Ely, Feddal, Theo (Romero 79); Edgar (Camarasa 59), Marcos, Manu, Ibai (Sobrino 60); Deyverson
Referee: Clos Gomez