Winning a fourth consecutive Copa del Rey title will be mission accomplished for Barcelona, who are also competing in their fifth finals in a row, but most team members aren’t worried about the face-off with Sevilla except where they wish to compete – a stadium that suits everyone.
Image: Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi
A venue for the final will be decided on Monday, in a meeting to be attended by all LaLiga clubs’ managers and presided by Antonio Suarez, media reports confirm.
Sevilla president, Jose Castro, made a request that the 2018 Copa del Rey finals be played at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, his home ground, making a case that the final falls on a regional holiday.
However, Barcelona’s influence as one of the biggest football powerhouses in Spain will most likely push the venue to Madrid.
There are speculations that both teams will have to accept the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in its inaugural year, and for its equidistant position between the finalists. If this venue is selected, Atletico Madrid may need to find a new date for their home clash with Real Betis.
The Estadio Wanda Metropolitano is scheduled to host the Champions League final in 2019, and in this year, it will host King Felipe VI, Sevilla and Barcelona, according to reliable sources.
Real Madrid missed out in the Copa del Rey finals, having faced a terrible season this year. They have no plans, whatsoever, to request that they play host for the Barcelona and Sevilla match, unlike their prominent roles for such games in the past. Los Blancos are expected to cite excuses of ongoing renovations.
Read: Luis Enrique talks about Barca’s Copa del Rey Chances, names Denis Suarez as ‘the new Iniesta’
After due deliberations, it might become inevitable that Atletico Madrid should take the responsibility, but all interest parties will have to exercise patience until Monday when the club must accept and approve of the general decision.
Juan Luis Larrea, a representative of the federation, confirmed that tickets for the finals will be affordable, reasonable and available for all after last year’s final saw swathes of empty seats at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Barcelona ace Ivan Rakitic said he doesn’t want the game to be played in Sevilla’s home ground, and the Croatian’s reason is understandable because he was once a player for the rivals.
Meanwhile, Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta insists the venue would contribute nothing to who wins the finals.
“It feels great to be able to play in another final. We had a great game today,” he said after the 2-0 victory at the Mestalla, in which he and Philippe Coutinho scored for Barca.
“I am aware of that Sevilla president wants his club to host the Copa del Rey finals. For me, he should come to watch the match in Barcelona instead.
“Sevilla is a nice place. I love visiting my former teammates and friends there, but doing so in LaLiga is enough.
“In all seriousness,” the 29-year-old midfielder added, “the best thing would be to find a neutral site that suits everyone.”
Iniesta, 33, says the most important thing is to play in the finals, and not who plays the host.
“The location doesn’t matter,” he said. “What is important is that we will be able to contest it, along with our supporters.
“It will be awesome for us to visit whichever stadium it may be,” the club captain maintained.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde applauded his team for their exploits against Valencia, also showering praise on their hosts as “a highly motivated team with an entire city behind them.”
“In the first leg, Valencia didn’t let us score many, in the second we have dominated despite them having good chances, but we deserve to progress,” Valverde said in his post-match interview.
“We dominated the first game but weren’t clinical, today they threatened on the counter, we played our cards…I would have preferred to suffer a lot less and have everything in front of us.
He continued, “Valencia were very dangerous on the counter and created problems with good players. I got nervous the time they hit the post and could have put them through.
“We have beaten good teams like Celta Vigo, Valencia and Espanyol in this Copa del Rey campaign and I’m very happy for the accomplishment.
“Barcelona have played many finals but it’s the second with me in charge, and something I am very excited about…I hope to be luckier than in the first…At this time, all we have in front of us is a Copa del Rey final, and our intention is to focus on LaLiga now and then the Champions League, where we have a difficult game ahead.”
On his thoughts about the controversial topic of where the final should be played, Valverde said he once played a Copa del Rey final in the stadium of the opposition, but his opinion isn’t what you’d expect.
“The experience from playing with Athletic Club at the Estadio Camp Nou in 2015 left a scar in my heart, and I wouldn’t like to repeat that,” the 54-year-old coach added.