Real Madrid’s Champions League display will determine Barca’s season

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SPORT’s Rik Sharma believes because of bitter Madrid rivalry, Barca’s season can’t be judged until after the CL final.
“Barcelona face Sevilla on Saturday in the Copa del Rey final in Madrid. If they win, it’s 30 triumphs in the competition, it’s a record. It’s four consecutive cup wins. It’s something to be proud of. Or it should be. On paper, if Barcelona beat the Andalusians, as they did in the 15-16 final at the Vicente Calderon, they will win the double – considering La Liga is virtually over with five games remaining and they are 12 points clear of second place Atletico.

“And winning the double is not to be sniffed at. Last season all they managed was the Copa del Rey. But as usual, things aren’t looked at in isolation. Barcelona’s accomplishments are always judged against Real Madrid and vice versa.

“Madrid have won the last two Champions Leagues and if they make it to Kiev and win there, it will be an unprecedented hat-trick in the modern era. And if that happens, Madrid will be delighted, Barcelona downcast.

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“So really, Barcelona’s final against Sevilla is unwinnable, at least until we know what is going to happen in the Champions League. If they win and Madrid triumph in Europe, Barca ‘lose’. If Sevilla win, Ernesto Valverde will be torn to pieces and the season would be viewed, incredibly, as a failure, despite winning the league.

So effectively if Barcelona win the double, we have to wait until after the Champions League final to know if they’ve had a good season or not. A bizarre situation but this is the price paid for sharing such a delightfully fraught rivalry.”

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