Messi inspires Copa victory

Neymar thought he had opened the scoring as early as the 10th minute, only for his neat volley to be ruled out for offside, but it was not long until Barca were celebrating the first goal – and it arrived in some style.

Messi, starting just inside the Athletic half near the right touchline, weaved his way past four defenders and then beat Iago Herrerin at his near post for a stunning strike which set the Nou Camp alight on 20 minutes.

Neymar rounded off a neat team move to double Barca’s advantage nine minutes before the break and Messi put the game further out of Athletic’s reach by stabbing home a third goal on 74 minutes.

Twenty-year-old Inaki Williams, who had struck the bar with a volley four minutes before half-time, was rewarded for his endeavour with a consolation cup final goal 11 minutes from time, but that was as good as it got for the Basque outfit.

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