Copa del Rey Final: Joy and pride overflow Bilbao, Bizkaia and Seville | Soccer | Sports


The official Athletic expedition arrived early in the afternoon at Loiu airport. It was the end of a long trip that began in winter with the match against Rubí, who now boasts of having put the Cup champion in trouble. The players posed at the foot of the plane and then went to their homes to rest. It was a long night that the members of Athletic lived, after celebrating the title of Spanish champion first on the field and then in the concentration hotel.


Julen Agirrezabala, Daniel Vivian, Aitor Paredes, Yuri (Lekue, min. 106), De Marcos, O. Sancet (Muniain, min. 90), Benat Prados (Vesga, min. 45), Nico Williams, Ruiz de Galarreta (Unai Gómez, min. 79), Williams (Berenguer, min. 90) and Guruzeta (Raúl García, min. 90)



Dominik Greif, Copete (Nastasic, min. 107), Giovanni González, Raíllo, Lato (Siebe van der Heyden, min. 110), Valjent (Pablo Maffeo, min. 90), Dani (Radonjic, min. 73), Samuel Costa , Darder (Manu Morlanes, min. 62), Muriqi and Cyle Larin (Antonio Sánchez, min. 62)

Goals 0-1 min. 20: Danny. 1-1 min. 50: O. Sancet.

Referee José Luis Munuera Montero

Yellow cards Aitor Paredes (min. 26), Muriqi (min. 91) and Radonjic (min. 118)

By that moment, Bilbao had already exploded with joy and pride after the penalty converted by Alex Berenguer. Passion overflowed in a packed San Mamés where 50,000 people watched the match on giant screens. Admission cost five euros and there was a resale. Many cried for the title that comes 40 years after the previous one and that involves several generations of fans who had not lived the experience.

In the capital of Biscay, the Plaza Nueva was also filled, and all the places where screens were installed to watch the match, as in almost all the towns of Bizkaia. Juan María Uriarte, who was bishop of Bilbao and died last February, wrote in the pages of EL PAÍS, on the occasion of the titles of the 80s, that Athletic, “provokes, summons and invokes”, and that did it again this time. In his land and, of course, in Seville. The fans, around 70,000, many of them without tickets, invaded the streets of the Andalusian capital and overwhelmed the place designated for their followers, which remained open until two in the morning, with the fans celebrating the title. They even had time to cheer en masse a couple who got married in the cathedral, and who found a surprise at the door.

The red-and-white tide, evident on the field, in which it occupied the background designated for Athletic, but also the practically complete side stands, became even more striking when the team began to take the lap of honor around the field and the fans of the Mallorca retired sad. Then around 3,000 Athletic fans who had been mixed in that stand appeared in their stands, and flocked to the first rows to celebrate as close as possible to the players.

Meanwhile, in the authorities’ box, an excited Iribar greeted King Felipe, repeating a phrase that Piru Gainza, the legendary captain of Athletic, said to Franco every time he gave him a Cup. The dictator greeted the footballer with: “Gainza, Are you here again?”, and the red-and-white winger said goodbye: “See you next year,” the same thing that Chopo said to the Head of State. “It came out like that,” he confessed.

But the party didn’t end there. While the fans traveled on foot, faced with the organizational disaster that did not foresee bus lines, the very long journey to the center of Seville, they were already ruminating about what they would do on Thursday, the day that the Athletic barge will leave for the third time in its history, and will travel along the Nervión estuary from the Abra Maritime Club, in Getxo, to the Bilbao City Hall, where they will disembark to offer the cup to the fans. It is expected that there will be close to a million people who will accompany the procession, made up of close to a hundred boats, – which will have to pay a fee -, from the banks of the estuary, along the 14 kilometers of route.

On Sunday morning, the San Pablo airport and the Santa Justa AVE station received thousands of travelers still dressed in red and white, returning to Bilbao. “Tired, without money, but happy,” in the words of a fan who was waiting for his train to Madrid to leave.

Meanwhile, Ernesto Valverde is looking for formulas to prevent his players from disconnecting from the League. On Sunday Villarreal performs in San Mamés, and it will be a party again. Whether Athletic wins or loses.

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