- Barcelona forward Neymar scored in a third consecutive Copa del Rey final
- 25-year-old Brazilian became the first player to do so in nearly half a century
- Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas scored in three finals between 1960 and 1962
Barcelona capped a disappointing campaign on a high note by lifting the Copa del Rey in Luis Enrique’s final match in charge – and the victory included an historic moment for forward Neymar.
Alaves had drawn level through a brilliant free-kick from Theo Hernandez, after Lionel Messi’s 50th goal of the season had opened the scoring, before Neymar tapped Barca back in front, converting Andre Gomes’ cross.
The 25-year-old’s strike was the third successive Copa del Rey final in which he has scored, equalling the record set by Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas in the 1960s.
Neymar scored for a third consecutive Copa del Rey final as Barcelona beat Alaves on Saturday
The Brazilian equalled Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas’s record in the competition
The 1954 World Cup Golden Ball winner was prolific during his career, winning five Spanish league titles and three European Cups during his time with Madrid, but he only won the Copa del Rey once.
It was third time lucky for Puskas in 1962 as the Hungarian scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Sevilla, following two successive runner-up medals courtesy of defeats by cross-city rivals Atletico.
Neymar has not enjoyed his most clinical season in front of goal, with Barcelona’s crucial second at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday night his 20th strike in all competitions – some way fewer than Messi and Luis Suarez.
His latest Copa del Rey final goal was not without controversy as he appeared to be standing in an offside position as he poked home at the far post to restore his side’s lead – and he will now go in search of the record outright next term.
Puskas scored in three consecutive Copa del Rey finals between 1960 and 1962 for Real
Neymar scored Barcelona’s second goal in the 3-1 win over Alaves at the Vicente Calderon
NEYMAR EQUALS PUSKAS’ COPA DEL REY RECORD
1960 – Atletico Madrid 3-1 Real Madrid (Puskas)
1961 – Atletico Madrid 3-2 Real Madrid (Puskas)
1962 – Sevilla 1-2 Real Madrid (Puskas 2)
2015 – Athletic Bilbao 1-3 Barcelona (Neymar)
2016 – Sevilla 0-2 Barcelona (Neymar)
2017 – Alaves 1-3 Barcelona (Neymar)
But he can at least boast sharing a record with the great Puskas after scoring in a third straight Spanish Cup final, which have all resulted in victories.
In Enrique’s first season in 2014-15, Barcelona secured the second trophy in a famous treble by beating Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at the Nou Camp, with Neymar scoring in between two Messi strikes.
The Catalans retained their title the following campaign with a 2-0 win over Sevilla at the Calderon, but they had to wait until extra time to break down their opponents through Jordi Alba before Neymar put the icing on the cake in the final minute.
Neymar was on hand to poke home at the far post although there was a suggestion of offside
The former Santos forward will hope to break the record next season by defending the title