A night to remember for all Barcelona fans and players. Heading into the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Sevilla with a 2-0 deficit was never going to be an easy task. But Ronald Koeman and his men managed to secure qualification to the cup final with an enthralling 3-0 victory.
With the same 3-5-2 setup that he used against the Andalusians in La Liga at the weekend, the Dutchman once again got the better of Lopetegui tactically. Barcelona were fabulous- cohesive, technically solid and mentally strong as they completed a wonderful comeback in the most dramatic fashion.
A stunning goal from Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Pique’s last gasp header to force extra time and substitute Martin Braithwaite’s header secured another famous victory for the Blaugrana. They will now face either Levante or Athletic Club Bilbao in the cup final.
In the presser that followed, Koeman was full of praise for his side as they took a huge step in their journey towards a record 31st Copa del Rey crown.
On the team performance: “I’m so proud of my team. I can’t ask for more, really. We have changed the mindset of the team. We have improved many things, especially without the ball. We are a more aggressive team, we create chances and it has been greatly promising.”
On what the win meant to him: “Today was my best night as Barça’s manager, we have made a very complete comeback. As a coach, you can’t ask your players for more. I think we deserve to go through and play the final, we’ve been a better team in both games.“
On missing the fans: “I wish we had lived it with 100,000 people at the Camp Nou… I hope that some Catalans can come to the final in Seville.”
On the potential to comeback against PSG: “A 2-0 is easier than a 1-4… PSG has great players. We will go out to win, we will see whether there are any chances to go through during the game. If not, we have to accept it and we have to move on.”
On Pique’s injury and performance: “It’s not the same injury as his previous one, we don’t know if it’s serious. We have to wait for tomorrow.”
“Gerard played a great game today. He’s one of the leaders of this team and scored the 2-0 in a very important moment.”
On the squad’s mindset: “This team is very united. We played well with the ball today, but above all we have improved our game without the ball. They deserved this for the work they put in and they have improved a lot. It’s a very important result.”
Erling Haaland would cost Barcelona €320m: An impossible dream
Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland continues to be the hot topic of discussion in the footballing world. Many of the world’s top clubs are bidding for the Norwegian’ signature come summer, including Barcelona.
Although bound by financial constraints, the Catalans continue to find ways to secure Haaland’s services in a pursuit for a world-class striker to fill the gaps in the squad. Journalist Alfredo Martinez reports that Dortmund however, will not let him go for any less than 160 million euros this window.
For Barcelona in their current condition, a fee this astronomical seems rather impossible even if they focus all their attention to Erling Haaland as the sole marquee signing of the window. Mundo Deportivo also report that Borussia Dortmund are intent on keeping Haaland for at least one more year, as stated by their director Michael Zorc.
The entire transfer operation, according to the Spanish outlet, including his transfer cost and salary for a five-year contract could go up to 320 million euros. And this figure is without taking commissions into account, which Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola will definitely demand. This is a sum that English giants Manchester United are reportedly willing to shell out.
The 20-year old’s links to Barcelona have intensified massively since his father Alfie and Raiola were spotted in Barcelona to meet with Barcelona president Joan Laporta. It is clear that if Dortmund were to sell Haaland this summer, the fee would be astronomical, since in 2022 his release clause of 75 million euros becomes operational.
Earlier reports also state that the initial meeting between Raiola, Alfie Haaland, and Laporta went well. The president was confident that Barcelona could offer Haaland the lucrative contract that he wants. It is now a waiting game to see if and when Barcelona make a move for the young star and how they facilitate it given the cash crunch.