La Liga champions Barcelona, fell to Valencia 2-1 in Saturday's Copa del Rey final match. Valencia had already dominated the scoreline by half time. They led Barcelona 2-0 with goals from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo. Barcelona's saviour Lionel Messi found the back of the net in the 73rd minute, but that wasn't enough to win the trophy. Barcelona was well poised to win this trophy, especially with the record Marcelino Garcia Toral had of being winless in the last 20 games against Barcelona. Maybe their recent knock from the Europa League competition made Valencia even hungrier to at least get some sort of silverware this season. This defeat leaves Barcelona with only one trophy this season, and countless calls by fans to sack the coach Ernesto Valverde, who joined Barcelona in 2016. Earlier in the season, Barcelona was thought to be on track to achieve another historic treble like they did in the 2014/2015 season. This was especially likely since their fierce rivals Real Madrid were having their worst season in decades. It was expected Real Madrid's grasp on the UCL trophy would have been loosened. In addition to that, the league was slipping away from Real Madrid, and in their dismal state Copa del Rey was out of the question. Ironically, it was Barcelona who knocked Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey, literally and figuratively knocking them away from any hopes of a trophy this season. With Real Madrid out of the way and Lionel Messi having a good season, Barcelona was on their way to having good season.
La Liga Champions 2018/2019Barcelona had amassed so many points that they were declared league winners from late April, after beating Levante 1-0, despite having 3 matches left. Barcelona finished on top of table with 87 points and suffered only three losses in the league for the entire season. Atletico Madrid finished second with 76 points and double the number of losses Barcelona had. Their rivals Real Madrid finished a lowly third, with a whopping 12 losses in the league this season, in which they only managed to scrape 68 points. Lionel Messi finished the season as the top goal scorer for La Liga - netting 36 goals and thereby winning the Pichichi Award for the third consecutive year. Messi also recorded 13 assists and tied with Pablo Sarabia from Sevilla for the most assists this season. This shows that Messi was very much on form.
UEFA Champions LeagueThe next trophy on Barcelona's radar was the highly sought after UEFA Champions League trophy. Real Madrid has won that trophy ever year for the past three years, with Barcelona not even getting to the finals once in that time. To make things even more exciting, the UCL finals are to be held in Madrid this year, and what would be better than yanking the trophy out of your rivals' hand in their own city? Nothing, that's what. Barcelona made it to the semi-finals this year and faced off against Liverpool. They beat Liverpool in the first leg, and so had one foot in the finals. However, whether it was Klopp's magic or Barcelona's need to battle the Champions League (see Barcelona's Champions League campaign 2016-2018) they were knocked out by Liverpool 4-0 in the second leg. You can read all about that
here. Barcelona did everything right leading up to the match. They rested their key players like Messi and Luis Suarez the weekend before, since they had already won the league. Lionel Messi was very much on form, and is still the top goal scorer for the Champions League this season. He even said at the very beginning of the season that he wants to win the Champions League. So what stopped him? Could it be Barcelona's defense? Valverde? Or Messi disappearing in high pressure situations when he is most needed to provide a more favourable result for his team. I guess we will never know, what we do know is that Barcelona's treble was cancelled.
#Valverde Out Following their shock defeat to Valencia, Barcelona fans were loudly calling for the sacking of their manager Valverde. They claim he is the reason for the failures this season, and his time at Barcelona is up. Much to their disappointment, Barcelona's president Josep Maria Bartomeu showed support for Valverde. He said "I've always said that Ernesto has a contract for the next season, he's the coach," and "I do not think this defeat is the coach's fault." These statements will give Barcelona fans a headache, coupled with their disappointing 2018/2019 campaign.