opinions | 2017-05-28
Player Ratings - Spanish Cup Final - Barcelona 3:1 Alavés
Messi leads Barça to its third consecutive Spanish Cup in yet another masterful performance
Jasper Cillessen (5.5): Had a decent game for the most part, early on he had a scare when he was beaten at the near post from a rather tame shot. Luckily it hit the post and didn’t cross the line. His passing was solid, Alaves didn’t trouble him with their pressing. He couldn’t do much about the goal, it was a wonder goal from Theo. He did make a couple of good saves in the second half but it was a rather easy last 45 minutes for him as Alavés didn’t offer too much threat to his goal.
Javier Mascherano: Started as a RB yesterday but didn’t last long on the pitch as he got injured in an aerial duel with one of Alaves players and had to be subbed off after 11 minutes. With the rumours of him possibly leaving the club, it would be sad if he leaves this way and this was his last game for the club.
Gerard Piqué (6): Got back into the line-up but didn’t have the best of games and looked shaky at times, especially in the 1st half. Alaves almost scored early on after he got dispossessed in dangerous area. It seemed like there was lack of communication between the back 4 and the GK and Barça looked vulnerable at times. However, the 2nd half was much easier and he didn’t have much to do as Barça waited for the final whistle and didn’t allow Alavés to create many chances.
Samuel Umtiti (6.5): Another good performance. He was the better player out of the CB’s on the day. Passing wise he was fine as we know, he can distribute very well under any sort of pressure. He’s not the tallest CB but still he managed to win 3 aerial duels which isn’t often for him. On top of this he managed 3 interceptions and won all his tackles. Though he can get caught out occasionally, he recovers really well. After the first half, Barcelona stepped off the gas a bit to control the game so he wasn’t called into much action as he was in the first half. A first major trophy for him at Barcelona. Let’s hope there is more to come.
Jordi Alba (6): Surprisingly a solid game from him. He wasn’t challenged too much defensively as Alavés attacked more down Mascherano/Gomes’ side. When he did need to defend he did do well. Though he did lose the ball a few times with silly giveaways. His passing was really good though he usually passes straight to Neymar which isn’t too difficult. He’s prone to making mistakes in crucial and big games but he managed to keep them to a very minimal amount. A mixed season for him, more bad than good it has to be said. Let’s hope a new coach can get the best out of him like Lucho did in his first season with Barcelona.
Sergio Busquets (6.5): Solid performance once again, even though he wasn’t as involved in the buildup as he usually is, only attempted 50 passes which isn’t much for him. Passing was fine when he had the ball though, completed 91% of his passes. He didn’t have it easy without the ball but did relatively well, completed a couple of important clearances and interceptions, read the game well. Had a great 2nd half of the season, it’s a shame he won’t have much to show for it.
Ivan Rakitić (5): Not a good performance for the Croatian international. Misplaced passes and got dispossessed way too easily at times and wasn’t much involved in the buildup yet again. Had a solid attempt in the 1st half but his shot went just wide. He did well to help Gomes at times defensively and that was the only positive aspect. Subbed off after 83 minutes. Not a good season for him, let’s hope this will change next season.
Andres Iniesta (8.5): Another final, another game he bossed. You always know he’ll put in a clutch performance in a final and it was no different against Alaves. The Alaves players couldn’t get near him when he had the ball, his ball retention and press resistance still leaves me baffled even after all these years. He put in a shift defensively though we had the ball for large parts of the game. Early on he had to help defend in our own box as we started rather poorly. What surprised me was his efficiency in tackling. He completed all 5 of his tackles and had 2 interceptions. Gave away the foul for the goal which I didn’t think was a foul truth be told. Alaves did play rough and there was a chance he could’ve got injured, luckily he didn’t. That is now 30 trophies for him at Barça, wonderful achievement. Now let’s hope he renews because he’s irreplaceable and I have no hope the club would find an adequate replacement.
Lionel Messi (9): Another fantastic performance in a crucial game. Got involved from the start and anything Barça did went through him. Brilliant finish after he started the move and combined with Neymar to make it 1-0. Involved in the buildup for the 2nd goal with his pass to Gomes, who assisted Neymar. Finished the perfect half with an astonishing run and assist for Paco, who made it 3-1. Second half wasn’t as action packed as first and Barça were just getting the job done and waiting for the final whistle, but he still had a couple of great moves and passes to his teammates. Ended this season with a trophy, but he deserved much more for what he showed.
Paco Alcácer (6.5): Replaced Suárez who was suspended for the Copa del Rey final and did well. His movement was good and he was a constant danger for Alaves, had 5 shots on goal and 4 were on target. Passing was fine when he was on the ball, combined well with his teammates at times and managed 1 key pass. Great movement and a finish after Messi’s brilliant run to make it 3-1. He’s done well in the 2nd half of the season and it seems like he’s much more confident compared to his early days in a Barça shirt. Let’s hope this will continue next season.
Neymar (6.5): Not a great game from him. He did however manage a goal and an assist. There have been times where he’s played brilliantly but didn’t manage a goal contribution. Though he lost the ball more than he should’ve and made some bad decisions, he managed 4 key passes, the same amount as Messi had. Knowing when to dribble or not has been a problem for him and it was the same against Alaves. He failed 6 of his 11 dribbles and got dispossessed 5 times, the most out of both teams. Defensively he was good as per usual, winning 75% of his tackles. He was frustrating to watch but if he manages to fix his decision making then there is no doubt his goal contributions will increase vastly and he’ll be one be among the best in the world for many more years.
André Gomes (7): Replaced Mascherano 11 minutes in and had to play in a RB position which isn’t natural for him, but he did surprisingly well. Solid on the ball, even at times when Alaves pressed high in numbers, he managed to keep the ball. Defensively, he didn’t have much to do but managed to block the shot of one of Alaves players which would’ve been a goal most certainly. Passing was really good, completed 94% of his passes. Solid movement and assist for Neymar after a perfect team move. This won’t be his role next season but it’s good to see him perform well regardless. Strangely enough, he’s performed well in all the positions except the one Barça signed him for. Hopefully he’ll continue improving next season.
Aleix Vidal: Replaced Rakitić in the last 10 minutes of the game. There’s not much to note about his performance but it’s great to see him back on the pitch after he suffered a bad injury back in February. After the game he confirmed he’ll stay at Barça next season.
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WRITTEN BY: Josip
23 years old, born in Split, Croatia. Football fanatic and a die-hard Barça fan. Currently studying tourism and communication.
WRITTEN BY: Sulaiman
Sulaiman is a Barcelona fan since 2005. He loves discussing anything related to the club. Sulaiman is currently studying Accounting and Finance and has a keen interest in Statistics.