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FC Barcelona have beaten Athletic Bilbao 3-1, Xavi has lifted the cup and after winning the Liga title a fortnight ago, the Catalans can now claim to have won an unprecedented six Spanish league and cup doubles.
Until now, Barça and Athletic had five doubles each, meaning that one side or other had to become the first to make it to six at the Camp Nou on Saturday night.
The great fifties
FC Barcelona won their first double in 1951/52, the year of the famous Five Cups. Managed by Ferdinand Daucik and led on the field by the great Kubala, Barça topped the league and then beat Valencia 4-2 in the cup final. They repeated the feat the very next year, beating Athletic Bilbao 2-1 in the grand final.
And the 1950s were still to produce another double when Helenio Herrera led the side to 51 points in La Liga, four more than second placed Real Madrid, and then to 4-1 victory against Granada in the cup final.
First year success for Van Gaal, Guardiola and Luis Enrique
It would take almost forty years for FC Barcelona to get double number four. Van Gaal was the manager to achieve it, and in his first season in charge. That season, FCB won the league in emphatic form, nine points clear of runners-up Athletic Bilbao, and then collected the Copa del Rey on penalties after the final with Mallorca had ended 1-1.
In 2008/09, Pep Guardiola repeated the trick of winning the double in his first term on the Camp Nou bench. That was the year of the famous six trophy haul.
And now, Luis Enrique, who played in the aforesaid final against Mallorca, has become yet another Barça coach to win the double at the first attempt. And with the Champions League Final against Juventus to come on June 6, he still has the chance to lead Barça to the treble for the second time.
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