Barcelona went into the match knowing defeat would hand Real Madrid the title but first half goals from Lionel Messi and Seydou Keita, and an own-goal by Rober, put Pep Guardiola’s men 3-0 ahead at the break, while second half goals from Thiago, Messi and a Pedro double completed the rout.
He added: "the team ran a lot, and they played a serious game against a team that’s fighting to stay in the Primera División. The players know that we’re preparing ourselves for a final and that everything has its worth. Every match counts." Guardiola also said that his players are pleased after having scored seven goals in today’s game. "I have the impression that we have scored a lot of goals over the years. They are all welcome," he said.
The Spanish striker said that the team is with Guardiola "100%" until the end of the season, but that the squad is optimistic about Tito Vilanova’s appointment as manager for next season. "It was a hard blow for the players, after everything Guardiola done for the Club, but we have to respect his decision. However, we’re very pleased that Tito will be manager. We wish him the best," said the player. "We’d like to present the King’s Cup title to the fans and to Guardiola. We’ll see how we come into that match," said Pedro. The canterano also evaluated Lionel Messi’s insatiable goalscoring appetite: "he demonstrates game after game that he’s the best in the world. We all have to help him finish the season as top scorer."
His last minutes played in the Barça strip were at the Camp Nou during the 8-0 thrashing of Osasuna, and today, he did his part in another Barça exhibition (7-0). After a long time on Barça’s injury list, Ibrahim Afellay returned to competitive football today against Rayo Vallecano."I really like to play football. I’ve worked hard during the team’s training session and I’m very pleased," said the Dutch footballer, who also said that he’s been looking forward to this moment with a lot of enthusiasm: "you know the moment will come someday but you don’t know when. I’m happy to return."
The Spanish League have published the kick off times for next weekend’s round of games - week 37 – and FC Barcelona will play city neighbours Espanyol at nine o’clock on Saturday night. With the team also facing Malaga at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night (20.00), this will be the second game at the stadium in four days and will also be Guardiola’s last home game in charge of the team.
The Spanish soccer league denied a report by the Cadena Ser radio station that it had asked for an investigation into possible match-fixing in the current championship. The league said in an e-mailed statement it met officials from a unit of the Justice Ministry responsible for investigating fraud a few weeks ago, although "at present" had not made any formal accusation.
Radamel Falcao struck a stoppage-time equaliser to salvage a point for Atletico Madrid following a dramatic finish to their La Liga clash at Real Betis. Atletico took a 63rd-minute lead through substitute Jorge Koke but Betis looked to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when their own replacements Alejandro Pozuelo (86) and Jonathan Pereira (88) netted in quick succession to put the hosts 2-1 up.
Real Madrid completed their part of the bargain with a comfortable 3-0 win against Sevilla in a game that was at times more complicated than the final result implies. Once again, however, Madrid's power in attack made the difference. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the first half, while two goals in three minutes shortly after halftime from Karim Benzema sealed the result by the 52nd minute.
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