Lionel Messi ensured Luis Enrique’s Barcelona reign ended with a trophy as he inspired a third consecutive Copa del Rey title with a 3-1 final win over Alaves.
The Barca coach announced his planned departure from Camp Nou at the start of March, with his side then falling short of rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga and Juventus in the Champions League.
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.
Having scr*ped past Atleti 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals in February, with Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez both sent off, Barca looked in for a similarly nervy contest as Alaves started well and Theo Hernandez then equalised Messi’s opener.
The Basque side had stunned Barca with a 2-1 league success at Camp Nou in September, but this game threatened to bear greater resemblance to a 6-0 away triumph in the reverse fixture as Neymar scored the next goal and Messi teed up Paco Alcacer to put Barca out of sight.
Although Alaves kept the score down after the break, they rarely looked likely to trouble the commanding lead built by Messi and Barca, who will now turn their focus to a board meeting on Monday, after which the club are set to announce Luis Enrique’s replacement.