Messi’s 73rd goal helps Barca to Copa del Rey

Carter Daly
Dirty Tackle

In what will be remembered as Pep Guardiola's final match with Barcelona (for now) Lionel Messi sandwiched his astounding 73rd goal of the season inbetween two Pedro strikes, all within the first 25 minutes, to lead Barcelona to the Copa del Rey title over Athletic Bilbao.

Messi's right-footed roof job (full highlights above) rounded his out of league goal total up to 23 for the year, which would be considered a spectacular haul for anyone over the course of an entire league season, let alone just in tournaments outside of league play. Add those cup goals to the nice round 50 he dropped over the course of La Liga and you have yourself a guy that without a doubt lead all humans, aliens, and video game characters in goals over the course of the 2011/12 campaign. Pedro, who was pipped out of his starting spot during the back stretch of Barcelona's Champions League run, ended the season on a solid note with goals in the 3rd and 25th minute to send the Blaugrana on its way.

The ending of the Copa del Rey presented some odd scenes for Barcelona. The club was clearly happy to win their first "real" trophy of the season (see: UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, and the Supercopa de Espana), however the bittersweet hung heavily over the Vicente Calderon as Pep hugged every member of his squad and training staff for the last time on a competitive pitch. You could almost sense that this ending just wasn't fitting enough for this manager of this club and their particularly amazing reign of dominance. Perhaps Leo Messi will immediately get to work on a life-sized Lego construction of himelf and Pep holding all of the trophies they have won together in a bid to get him to come back. For those of you counting at home that's a total of 14 trophies out of 19 competitions for Pep. By the time Leo finishes his masterpiece, Guardiola just might be ready to return.

Oh, and here's an Athletic Bilbao supporter looking extremely sad:

What to Read Next