Athletic Club and Mallorca, for a long-awaited Cup

Athletic Club and Mallorca, for a long-awaited Copa del Rey

The Basques, due to lost finals, and the Balearic Islands, to take advantage of their opportunity, promise to give everything in La Cartuja


Athletic Club and RCD Mallorca face each other this Saturday (10:00 p.m.) in the final of the Copa de Rey at the Estadio de la Cartuja in Seville, a day marked for both where the ‘lions’ seek to lift the trophy for the 24th time but 40 years later , while the vermillions dream of winning the second title in their history.

The Spanish football festival returns to the Andalusian capital with an Athletic with the title of favorite, due to history and a high-level campaign, against a Mallorca that represents the hope of every humble person in this ko tournament. In addition, Javier Aguirre’s team also They have shown a lot of class this season.

The red and whites, with the disappointment of five lost finals in the last 15 years, have a new appointment with the Gabarra, the Bilbao celebrations barge that has been docked for 40 years. With Ernesto Valverde at the helm, Athletic is a team with vertigo in its play and with suffocating pressure that gives no respite to its rivals.

Thus, the ‘lions’, contenders for the ‘Top 4’ of LaLiga EA Sports, will try to take advantage of the possibility of returning a title to the capital of ‘Botxo’. Meanwhile, the vermillions want to lift the second Cup 11 years after lifting the first, and what would be the third title in the history of the entity.

Four decades have passed since Athletic lifted its 23rd Copa del Rey, the second most successful team in the tournament, after beating Maradona’s FC Barcelona in a historic match, thanks to Endika’s goal. Since then, the former ‘king of cups’ has seen how his attempts to be crowned again have been frustrated up to four times by Barça and one more painful one if possible by Real Sociedad, in the middle of the covid pandemic.

However, optimism has been established in Bilbao this season. Valverde’s team, fifth, two points off the Champions League spots, is having its best season in a long time. The Guruzeta, Sancet, Williams brothers and company have brought hope back to the city and, after a brilliant Cup in which they got rid of Barça and Atlético de Madrid, they are one victory away from returning their fetish trophy to Bilbao.

To do this, they will have to end their curse with the Cup, in which they have lost their last six finals, two in the last four years. With the a priori lesson learned and with a 4-0 in San Mamés as the last precedent against Mallorca, Valverde’s team does not trust a seasoned rival who also knows how to compete.


Despite fighting for permanence, something they are well on their way to, Javier Aguirre’s team has proven to be capable of anything. The Balearic team looked good at the start of the campaign, after the good foundations of last season and with the good reinforcements of Sergi Darder and Cyle Larin, but it was difficult for them to get going.

From less to more, the pieces and the idea of ​​the Mexican coach fit together again, defeating Girona in the Cup, also in the League, and Real Sociedad in the last rounds before reaching the final. A cup edition in which Aguirre’s men are showing their best side, both in defense and attack. Mallorca has only conceded three goals in the seven games it has played, scoring on 15 occasions, just 10 less than in the 30 league games it has played so far.

With a defined scheme with three centre-backs, the Balearic Islands have one of their strongholds in the defensive framework. He concedes very little to his rivals, and little by little he wears them down mentally and physically. In addition, air power allows them to concede lateral crosses with hardly any suffering. Proof of this has been three of the last four matches against Athletic, in which Ernesto Valverde’s men failed to get past a draw, scoring only one goal.

Rockiness at the back that complements the efficiency in front of goal, especially in this Cup in the boots of Larin and Abdón Prats. The two Mallorcan strikers have scored six goals in the competition, which makes them top the list of top scorers along with Athletic Club forward Asier Villalibre. The result of the final will largely depend on their success.

A Mallorca, that of Aguirre, Abdón, Raíllo, Antonio Sáchez or Muriqi, who has only 90 or 120 minutes to go down in the history of the vermilion club by winning what would be its second Copa del Rey. 11 years have passed since the first, when a team full of talent and with players of the stature of Pandiani, Ibagaza and Samuel Eto’o beat Recreativo de Huelva (3-0) at the Martínez Valero in a final that still remains in the retinas of vermilion fans.



ATHLETIC CLUB: Julen; De Marcos, Vivian, Paredes, Yuri; Prados, Galarreta; Iñaki Williams, Sancet, Nico Williams; Guruzeta.

RCD MALLORCA: Greif; Giovanni, Copete, Raíllo, Valjent, Jaume Costa; Darder, Rodriguez, Samu Costa; Adbón Prats and Larin.

–REFEREE: Munuera Montero (C.Andaluz).

–STADIUM: La Cartuja.

–TIME: 22.00/ETB 1, IB3, La1, Movistar Plus+, RTVE Play.