Athletic against their drought

The second most successful team in the history of the Copa del Rey will be in the final of La Cartuja on April 18. Athletic eliminated Granada thanks to the double value of goals away from home. Five years after Barcelona ended his dream, the Bilbao people will fight for the title again. And they will do it in a game with even more morbidity than a final means, since they will face Real Sociedad, your maximum rival.

Garitano's have played the final of the National Cup up to three times so far this century, but in all of them he was defeated. And in all of them the executioner was the same: FC Barcelona. Iago Herrerín, San José, Beñat, Aduriz, Balenciaga, Williams and Ibai are the survivors of the last final.

Now, the situation will be different. They will not have to face the team that has done more times with the title of this competition, which they had in San Mamés in the quarterfinals. But they will have to face a derby that promises strong emotions.

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La Gabarra del Athletic, ready to go out again.

36 years without Cup

Despite showing 24 championships, Athletic have not won a Cup final since May 5, 1984, when they won FC Barcelona de Maradona 1-0. A lonely goal of Endika in the 14th minute, at the exit of a cornerHe gave the rojiblancos his last league title in a game in which there was more tension than football.

In that season, an Athletic commanded by some of the most mythical players of the Biscay club, like Zubizarreta, Goikoetxea, Patxi Salinas or Captain Dani, would achieve the domestic double. In addition to the Cup, he also won the league by defeating Real Sociedad on the last day, who will be his rival in the final of La Cartuja. It was the second and last time that Athletic took out the barge, that mythical vessel with which they celebrated the titles of 1983 and 1984.

First Cup Champion

In the spring of 1902, Athletic Club and Bilbao Football Club, a team that had been born two years before, they formed a combined team under the name of Bizcaya to play the Coronation Cup, a national tournament created to celebrate the coming of age of King Alfonso XIII. This title, considered precursor of the current Copa del Rey, Bizcaya raised it, after imposing 2-1 on F.C. Barcelona with goals from Astorquia and Cazeaux, for the Basques, and Parsons, for the Catalans.

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Valverde and Aduriz lament after losing the Copa del Rey final.

The following year the Copa del Rey was created. In its first edition only three teams participated: Athletic Club, Spanish in Madrid and Madrid F.C. After beating both the Spanish, Athletic and Madrid faced in what is considered the final, where the Basques traced a 2-0 in the second half to establish the final 2-3. This comeback inspired a group of young people from Madrid to create a subsidiary of Athletic in Madrid. Years later, would unlink from Athletic to end up being what is now Atlético de Madrid.

In 1904, and after a mismatch in the organization that ended up being impossible to resolve, the Federation he gave the Athletic champion without having to play the final. The Bilbao presented the day and time that was set for the final. The Spanish did not do so, aware that the delays of previous rounds prevented the end, since that same weekend they played a game against Moncloa, which never ended. As the Basques were not notified of such delays, champions proclaimed themselves, and the Federation ended up proving them right.

The ‘Pichichi’ Cups

After the conquest of the Copa del Rey in 1910, The time came for Rafael Moreno Aranzadi, better known as ‘Pichichi’. Before playing for the Biscayan club, he played a Cup match in 2011 against them with Bilbao, scoring the only goal of his team. In the 89 games he played with Athletic between 1911 and 1921, the Spanish striker scored 83 goals, becoming the best scorer of the time.

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Brazil made offerings to the bust of Pichichi.

It was not until 1913 when he could play an official match with Athletic. From that season, Bilbao won three Cups of the King consecutively. In one of them, the one that won RCD Espanyol 5-0, ‘Pichichi’ scored three goals. Among his honors are being the first scorer in the history of San Mamés and being the first Athletic player to collect a salary for playing football. In the season of his retirement, in 1921, he would conquer his fourth Copa del Rey, the ninth in the showcases of lions.

Four twisted in a row

Between 1930 and 1936 Athletic won four League titles, in addition to many other Cup. The latter achieved them consecutively between 1930 and 1933. They were the years of the first historical front of the lions, formed by Lafuente, Iraragorri, Bata, Chirri and Gorostiza. This was one of the best times in the history of Bilbao, but it was cut by the Civil War.

His rivals in those four Cup finals were Real Betis, prevailing 3-1 in 1931; F.C. Barcelona, which they defeated 2-1 in 1932; and Real Madrid, that was its rival by double game in 1930 and 1933, in both cases becoming the Basques with the victory. The Real Madrid players would take revenge in 1934, appealing to the Bilbao people in the semifinals.

Another triplet with Zarra

Between 1943 and 1945, the lions continued to include trophies in their showcases, reaching 17 championships. It was the stage of the second historical forward, with Telmo Zarra as spearhead, accompanied by Iriondo, Venancio, Panizo and Gaínza. But not all of them participated in these titles. In 1943, only Zarra, Panizo and Gaínza played the final against Real Madrid, where they won 1-0 with a goal in the extension of the first.

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Zarra heads up in an Athletic match.

Iriondo joined in 1944, where they beat Valencia 2-0, with goals from Escudero and, again, Zarra. The following year, they got the consecutive triplet, the fourth of their history, after defeating Valencia 3-2 in the final, with goals from Zarra and Iriondo. The latter scored two goals, the last one in the discount to give Athletic his seventeenth wound. In 1950, with the complete lead, the Biscaynes achieved a convincing 4-1 in the final against Valladolid. Zarra was raised in this match with four goals, three of them in extra time.

Latest titles

With the third historical front, formed by Arteche, Marcaida, Arieta, Uribe and Gaínza, three other Cup championships arrived between 1955 and 1958, with the only blur of the one played in 1957, where they fell in the first round against Espanyol. Sevilla, Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid were the rivals they faced in those finals. From there, Bilbao's idyll with the Cup was declining.

In 1969, after 11 years without winning it and after losing two consecutive finals between 1966 and 1967, the Basques again tasted the glory. They did it after winning the minimum to Elche, with a lonely goal from Arieta. He would dial again four years later, when Athletic won Castellón 2-0 in the final, where Zubiaga would also score. The last title would be the 1984 Cup.