Messi nets 2, Barcelona beats Bilbao 4-0 to win Copa del Rey

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Barcelona's Lionel Messi fights for the ball against Athletic Bilbao's Raul Garcia during the Spanish Copa del Rey final 2021 between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona at La Cartuja stadium in Seville, Spain, Saturday April 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Angel Fernandez)

SEVILLE – Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 4-0 to win the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, giving Ronald Koeman his first title as coach of the Catalan club.

Messi's two goals came after Antoine Griezmann finally beat Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simón with the opener on the hour-mark.

Frenkie de Jong headed in a second goal in the 63rd before Messi dealt a double blow to put the result beyond any doubt by the 72nd.

It is Barcelona's first title since winning the Spanish league in 2019. Koeman, a former Barcelona defender, returned to coach the club last summer after Barcelona finished last season without a title for the first time since 2008.

Barcelona's record 31st cup comes at a crucial junction for Barcelona and Messi. Barcelona has seen its finances badly damaged by the pandemic and its former president Josep Bartomeu was forced to resign after the team’s poor performance last season and alleged administrative irregularities. Bartomeu has denied any wrongdoing.

But the peak of the club's crisis came last summer when Messi said that he wanted to put an end to his highly successful two decades with Barcelona. Since then, he has only said he will make a decision when his contract is up at the end of this season.

Messi did not mention his plans after the game. He smiled broadly when he received the trophy from Spain's King Felipe VI, one of the few dignitaries along with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in attendance at a stadium closed to fans due to coronavirus restrictions.

“This is a very special cup for me to lift (as captain),” Messi said. “It is too bad we cannot celebrate it with our family and fans. But that is the situation we have to accept.”