MADRID (AP) — Barcelona provided Pep Guardiola with the perfect sendoff by routing Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in the Copa del Rey final on Friday night, the club's 14th trophy in four seasons under its most successful coach.
Pedro Rodriguez scored in the third and 25th minutes, and Lionel Messi ended his record-setting season with his 73rd goal in the 20th minute. The Catalan club demonstrated the virtues the marked Guardiola's four seasons in charge — quick-touching passing, intricate combinations and clinical finishing.
Barcelona's record 26th domestic cup gave the bittersweet season some shine as its fourth title of the season made up some for its failure to repeat as Champions League and Spanish league winners.
"We had a very good year, we won four titles and winning this cup gives them better value," Guardiola said. "I'm happy to close out the season this way."
Barcelona won the FIFA Club World Cup, European Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup this season to make it 14 of a possible 19 titles for the 41-year-old Guardiola, who decided to leave and will be replaced by assistant Tito Vilanova.
"I feel like I left some good things behind for the club and that others will continue the good work," Guardiola said. "Now I will rest and try in the future a new challenge."
Fans filling the 55,000-seat Calderon Stadium were united moments before the start as Catalan and Basque spectators jeered the playing of the Spanish anthem, just as they did in Valencia three years ago when Barcelona's 4-1 win over Bilbao provided Guardiola with his first title.
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