Cesc Fábregas / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Cesc Fàbregas, who will play in his first Copa del Rey final, is counting down the hours to when the referee signals the start of the match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club on May 25 at 22:00. His team-mates have already told him about what kind of atmosphere he should expect in the Cup final, “sometimes it’s better than a Champions League game, and that’s why I’m eager to experience it.” The Azulgrana midfielder said that he’s “very motivated and very eager” for the match as he reminded the packed press room that Barça have the chance to finish off the year with four titles.

The break between games won’t be a factor

The player also recognised that the team is not used to having so much time off between matches, but he doesn’t believe it will be a factor in Barça’s last match of the season. “We’re prepared and ready for the final. It’s not normal to wait so long to play a final but our eagerness and excitement to play has helped us overcome the wait,” said Cesc.

More motivated than ever

The midfielder doesn’t believe that Athletic Club, who recently lost in the final of the Europa League, will be more motivated than the Azulgranas in the Cup Final. “I’m sure they are not more motivated than we are. Our hunger for victory and our excitement hasn’t run out.” However, he also warned of the dangers presented by Marcelo Bielsa’s side: “we’re going to play against a spectacular team that we admire. They have hope, they’re eager and they always go forward. They remind me of some English teams, with very direct football but they also utilise their passing game.” He anticipates a hard-fought match, like most of the games between the two side.

The best final for Guardiola

Cesc also recognised that wining the Copa del Rey title this Friday would be the best way to end Guardiola’s era as Barça’s manager. “Finishing with a title would be spectacular.” He also noted that the manager’s decision is not a letdown, but it has left the players with a lingering sadness: “we know what he means to Barça and its fans, both on an individual and collective level. He’s a unique and admirable person. A Barça legend is leaving but we have to look forward and be positive. We know this team have a lot yet to give.”

“Tito knows what he’s doing”

Cesc also praised the decision to name Tito Vilanova as the next FC Barcelona manager. “Tito knows exactly what he’s doing and what he wants to do.” Looking ahead to next season, Cesc hopes to improve upon this year’s performance. “I’ll try to give more next season, I’ll require the absolute best of myself” He’s also aware that after the first transitional season, the second “is more complicated.”

Cesc also rubbished claims that there’s a bad relationship between Guardiola and Vilanova. “Guardiola’s relationship with Vilanova is fantastic, hearing these comments from the outside isn’t good. It hurts us because we know that they have a good relationship.” 

“The news about Abidal is fantastic”

The Barça players were extremely happy to hear that Éric Abidal was discharged from hospital this afternoon. “It’s fantastic news. We’re very pleased that everything went well. Now it’s time for him to recover at home and, with out help, get back as soon as possible,” said Cesc.