Marcelino: We need Lionel Messi to have an off night in the Copa del Rey final

Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelino offered a frank answer when asked about Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi ahead of this weekend’s Copa del Rey final.

The Basque giants face their second Copa final in a month after losing 1-0 in the rearranged 2020 final against Basque rivals Real Sociedad.

However, despite edging out Ronald Koeman‘s side in the Spanish Supercopa final in his first week at the Estadio San Mames, the former Valencia coach is wary of the double chasing Catalans.

“What can be most decisive in the game and, therefore, can most influence the result is that their offensive players do not reach their best level, especially Messi,” as per reports from Diario Sport.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi

“To suppose we are going to have a possession similar to Barca is to depart from reality. Neither PSG or Madrid were capable of doing that.

“We know we will have to suffer, because you cannot beat Barca without suffering, not even the most powerful clubs know that.

“Barca would be favourites against any La Liga team, but it is not always the favourite who wins, it is the one who plays the best for 90 minutes and takes advantage of their opportunities.”

Marcelino realistic take on his side’s final preparations might appear negative, but Barcelona do have a fantastic record against his side.

Ronald Koeman

Either side of their defeat in the Supercopa at the start of 2021, Barcelona have won home and away in league action against Athletic Bilbao this season and they have lost just three times in this fixture in their last 12 meetings in all competitions.

Messi also has an excellent record against the Basque club with 27 goals in 40 appearances against them during his Camp Nou career.

 

Tags Lionel Messi Marcelino