Luis Enrique Ends Tenure At Barcelona With A Pretty Incredible Record

Barcelona fans have many more years to enjoy Lionel Messi, assured Luis Enrique after the Argentine handed his outgoing manager a successful send-off in a 3-1 Copa del Rey final win over Alaves.

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Paco Alcacer scored in the first half as Barcelona won its third straight copa and 29th all-time.

The coach capped his three-year stint with the Catalan club by winning the Copa del Rey title with a 3-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.

But Luis Enrique belatedly added to the sizeable haul of medals collected in his first two years in charge as Messi showed his class in the last game to be played at Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon. Atletico moves into a new venue next season.

Not so fast. Just three minutes later the young Alaves striker Theo Hernandez tied it up 1-1 with a curling shot from outside the box into the far corner of the net.

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique stressed he would never stop defending his players in his final pre-match media conference in the role.

Ibai Gomez hit the post for Alaves before Messi scored his 54th goal of the season with a 20-yard curler.

But those missed chances cost Mauricio Pellegrino's side the opportunity to make a fist of the closing stages and Barca cruised to victory, with Aleix Vidal making a late appearance having suffered a serious injury against Alaves in LaLiga. "It would have been nice to have won La Liga and contended for the Champions League title this season, but it just wasn't meant to be".

It has been a disappointing season for FC Barcelona, who finished runners-up to Real Madrid in La Liga and were eliminated from the Champions League by Juventus in the quarter-finals. Its other title was the Spanish Super Cup.

Luis Enrique said he had no regrets about announcing his decision to leave the club back in March.

Defender Javier Mascherano had to be substituted less than 10 minutes into the game with a head cut after colliding with an Alaves defender. Athletic finished seventh in the Spanish league, outside of the automatic qualification spots, but it earned a berth because Barcelona will play in the Champions League.

  • Julie Sanders