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28.10.2008 10:49

Guardiola returns to the Copa del Rey

Berta Brau

Pep Guardiola was one of the stars when FC Barcelona won the Copa del Rey on the last two occasions and now as the club’s head coach, he hopes to guide them to the 25th triumph in the competition.

On Tuesday evening, the Blaugrana start out on the first rung of the ladder in a tournament that the club is very familiar with having won it 24 times in their history. The return to Copa del Rey action also sees Guardiola make his return to the competition in charge of the team. The trainer places great emphasis on the even after tasting success twice during his playing days.

Two cups for Guardiola

GUARDIOLA_A_LA_FINAL_DE_COPA_x1997x003.jpgGuardiola enjoyed both the Copa del Rey successes in his career while playing for Barça. The first came in the 1996/97 campaign when Sir Bobby Robson was in charge. The final was played in the Santiago Bernabéu against Real Betis and it was the Catalan giants that won the game after 120 minutes. The opening 90 minutes ended level, but Barça came out on top with a 3-2 win following extra time to lift the trophy for the first time in seven seasons.

Second win

FINAL_COPA_1997-98.jpgThe second win for Guardiola was the last time that FC Barcelona won the tournament too and that came in the 1997/98 season. Louis van Gaal was in charge and he oversaw a victory over Real Mallorca on penalties after extra time. Guardiola celebrated the victory, but did not participate in the second leg because he had a hamstring injury.

Last game in the cup

EUFORIA_COPA_96-97.jpgAnother link between Guardiola and the Copa del Rey is the fact that the current coach’s last game for the club came in the competition when he played against Celta Vigo in Camp Nou during the 2000/01 season.
Guardiola returns to the Copa del Rey
The most triumphs
FC Barcelona have won the Copa del Rey on more occasions than any other team, with 24 triumphs to their name. The first came in 1910 and the last was in 1997/97. Just behind the Blaugrana are Athletic Bilbao with 23 wins and Real Madrid have lifted the trophy 17 times.

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