It’s almost that sad time of the year when football fans go into hibernation as the season is coming to an end. The Copa Del Rey final – to be played on Saturday, May 27 – will be Barcelona and Alaves last match of the 2016/17 campaign with both teams trying to end the season on a high note.
It’s no surprise to find Barca in the final again but Alaves was an unexpected entry. Barca will be looking to defend their cup title, which they have won in the previous two seasons. Moreover, it will be the last competitive match to be hosted at Atletico Madrid's Estadio Vicente Calderon stadium, as the team will be heading to their new stadium from next season onwards.
The two teams will go head-to-head for the first time in the Copa Del Rey final with Barca trying to win the Cup for the third consecutive time. Back in September 2016 at the start of the La Liga campaign, Alavés managed to shock the Blaugranas in Camp Nou with a 1-2 victory. However, in the second La Liga encounter, Barca managed to thrash Alaves at home with a dominating 0-6 victory.
Barca Still Chasing a Double
While Barca’s La Liga hopes lie in the hands of Real Madrid, however, Copa Del Rey looks like the only silverware the champions of Spain will be taking home this year. Barca currently sits in the 2nd place in La Liga with 87 points while Real Madrid occupy the 1st spot on 90 points with one game left to play for both teams. The only way Barca could be crowned La Liga Champions again this year is if Real Madrid loses their final game against Malaga and Barca wins their match against Eibar. Then, both teams will be leveled at 90 points but Barca will have the edge due to better head-to-head record.
Road to the Final
It has been a bumpy ride for both the teams on the road to the final. Barcelona had to beat Athletic Bilbao in the round of 16, then Real Sociedad and the dangerous Atletico Madrid in the quarter-final and semi-final, respectively.
On the other hand, Alaves was able to beat Deportivo in the round of 16 on away goals, and managed narrow victories against Alcorcón and Celta Vigo in the quarter and semi-finals, respectively.
For most football fans and pundits, this is an easy prediction. It’s a battle between David and Goliath and let’s just say this David doesn’t own a slingshot nor are there any rocks lying around. The last time these two teams met, Alaves was destroyed by Barca at their home ground. However, this is still football and anything can happen, as was the case when the two teams met in September at Camp Nou with Alaves pulling a shocking win.
Even though the “S” in the “MSN” will be missing as Luiz Suarez is suspended due to two yellow cards he picked up in previous encounters, Barcelona shouldn’t have trouble managing without their Uruguayan superstar as Messi, Neymar and Co. will be on the field.
18th MAY 2017
Jose Mourinho seems furious over Real Madrid’s attempts to offload Rodriguez. Reportedly, Real Madrid have offered Manchester United a chance to sign out-of-favor midfielder James Rodriguez. The Colombian himself is quite frustrated due to lack of playing time. However, Jose isn’t happy with the offer as he has been offered as part of the deal that will see David De Gea move the other way.
Responding to the offer, Jose said:
"Do you take us for fools?"
Manchester United are not in a mood to off-load David De Gea but are willing to sign James Rodriguez as well. However, the Red Devils will prefer an outright signing of the Colombian and will pay a maximum of £43m to make him a Red.
Jose Mourinho on David De Gea: "David is top in the world and obviously we want to keep the top in the world." pic.twitter.com/5gFGGWKmHh
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 18, 2017
Real Madrid will carry some extra cash ahead of their game against Malaga on Sunday. The Andalusian club will receive a payment of €1m from the Galacticos as part of Isco’s 2013 transfer if they manage to win the league this Sunday. Isco joined Real Madrid in 2013 from Malaga for a reported fee of €27m while €3m were to be paid in variables.
But only in the case if the midfielder takes his new side to win the Primera Division in his first five seasons. Since joining forces with Real Madrid, Isco has won Champions League twice but has never won the league in that time. However, Real Madrid can clinch the title with a draw in their final league game on Sunday.
— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) May 17, 2017
18th May 2017
James Rodriguez was absent from training on Tuesday ahead of a vital La Liga clash against Celta Vigo. His absence affirmed the rumors of his transfer to Manchester United this summer. But Real Madrid’s coach, Zinedine Zidane, has insisted that the Colombian had a slight injury that forced him to stay out of training.
Rumors are surrounding that the playmaker is not happy with the lack of playing time at Real and is frustrated. Speculations suggest that Manchester United have been offered a chance to have James Rodriguez. But Zidane has played down any suggestions linking James’ move to Man Utd.
17th May 2017
Manchester United have been offered a chance to sign out-of-favor Real Madrid star, James Rodriguez. James seems frustrated and is definitely not happy at Real due to a lack of playing time under Zinedine Zidane.
Rodriguez has scored 36 goals in 109 appearances for Real Madrid and is bound by contract till 2020. According to sources, Real Madrid are ready to accept an offer around £50 million.
— Football Pulp (@FootballPulp) May 16, 2017
Despite the win over Eibar this Sunday, Sporting Gijon couldn’t get themselves to safety and were relegated from the La Liga after Deportivo La Coruna and Leganes both drew to doom them.
— Real Sporting (@RealSporting) May 14, 2017
Burgui's 32nd-minute winner guided Sporting to only their second away-win of the season but it wasn’t enough to find them another season in La Liga. Sporting has joined Osasuna and Granada in the second division.