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May 12, 2009

Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona are the two clubs which can boast of maximum Copa Del Rey victory in the history of the tournament. FC Barcelona has won the cup 24 times whereas Athletic lies just behind with 23 victories. For FC Barcelona there inability to close out La Liga last week means this is their chance to win the first silverware of this season. But most of Barca players has been deprived of rest in last match and the majority of stars who will start this final are deprived of any match time. How much these two factors are going to affect the performance has to be seen. But for players like Gudjohnsen, Hleb and Bojan it is the best way to showcase their talent and probably book a starting place in Champions League final in Rome, especially with Henry being in doubt. This is one trophy which we had been missing for almost 11 years. The last time when we won it, Guardiola was still a player at FC Barcelona. It is very difficult for players to suddenly forge a partnership and then prove themselves. Hence this will be more tough than what we all have expected it to be.

Mean while Athletic Bilbao has prepared well for the final with a home win against Real Betis. That victory made sure that they will stay out of relegation zone this season. To top it all they were able to rest majority of their stars. Andoni Iraola, Aitor Ocio, Koikili Lertxundi, Javi Martinez, Pablo Orbaiz, Fran Yeste and Fernando Llorente were all left out of the squad altogether. Guardiola would be giving some of the cup regulars a start for this final. The attacking trio most probably would be made of Messi, Eto and Bojan. Keita, Busquets and Xavi should form the midfield. Alves who is destined to miss the Champions League final surely should start. Sylvinho as is the case with Copa Del Rey matches should occupy the left back role. Caceres and Pique would be the ideal choice at central defense infront of Pinto. As I said earlier this one is going to be a very tough battle. But the dissappointment at the weekend should drive the players. Bojan who has a great chance to book his place in teh Champions League final. Keita also do stand a good chance. So both these player should be motivated to perform to their best. I predict a 2-1 victory for Barcelona.

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