Up to seven FC Barcelona players have never participated in a Spanish Cup Final. Iniesta, for example, will experience for the first time, this Wednesday, what it is like to play in the Cup Final.
Although the 2008 Final against Athletic Bilbao (4-1) is fairly recent, and most members of the
first team squad are practically the same, there are a number of FC Barcelona players who
haven’t played in a Cup Final, a third of the squad. They are Iniesta, Maxwell, Jeffren,
Fontàs, Valdés and two of this season’s signings, Mascherano and Afellay.
Ten players can repeat the experience
Ten players in the current squad were involved in the final two years
ago. They are Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Sergio, Xavi, Keita, Messi, Bojan and Pedro, who only
played the final few minutes of the match. They're the only ones who savoured the triumph on the
pitch in Valencia. Valdés was on the bench and Iniesta, Milito and Abidal missed the Final through
injury. Abidal will also miss this year’s Final..
Iniesta's bad luck
Iniesta's case is especially painful, because an untimely muscle injury to his
right thigh during the final minutes of the Barcelona-Villarreal match (3-3) prevented him from
playing, three days later, the 2008 Cup Final. Andrés reappeared, however, in the Rome final
against Manchester United. Iniesta also was unable to take part in the World Club Championship
Final in 2009 due to injury sustained in the semifinal.
Villa and Adriano, champions with other teams
None of this season’s signings (Mascherano, Adriano, Villa and Afellay) nor
last season’s signing (Maxwell) have played a Cup Final in a Barcelona shirt. Adriano and
Villa, however, have played in finals with their previous clubs. In addition, they’ve both
won all the finals they played in. Adriano was on the winning side in 2007 and 2010, at the Camp
Nou, with Sevilla, while Villa lifted the Cup in 2004 (with Zaragoza) and 2008 (with Valencia).
It’s a similar story with Milito, injured in 2008 but won the 2004 final with Zaragoza.