Copa del Rey, also known as the King’s Cup, is a Spanish football tournament that takes place annually. It is one of the most prestigious domestic cup competitions in the world, alongside the FA Cup in England and the DFB-Pokal in Germany.
The tournament involves teams from the top four tiers of Spanish football, which includes La Liga, Segunda Division, Segunda Division B, and Tercera Division. The tournament format consists of single-elimination rounds, with the winner of each match progressing to the next round.
History of Copa del Rey
The Copa del Rey was first held in 1903, making it one of the oldest football tournaments in the world. The first winners of the tournament were Vizcaya, a team made up of players from Bilbao and Vitoria.
Over the years, the tournament has undergone many changes. In the early years, only teams from Madrid and Barcelona were allowed to participate. However, in 1928, the tournament was opened up to teams from all over Spain.
Since then, the Copa del Rey has become an integral part of Spanish football. It has provided many memorable moments for fans, with some of the biggest clubs in the world competing for the trophy.
Format of Copa del Rey
The Copa del Rey tournament begins in August, with the early rounds featuring lower league teams. The top teams in La Liga enter the competition in the later rounds, with the final taking place in April or May.
The tournament format is single-elimination, meaning that the losing team is immediately knocked out of the competition. In the event of a draw, the match goes to extra time and penalties if necessary.
The winner of the Copa del Rey qualifies for the UEFA Europa League, unless they have already qualified for the UEFA Champions League or Europa League through their league position.
Famous Winners of Copa del Rey
The Copa del Rey has been won by many famous teams over the years. Barcelona holds the record for the most wins, with 31 titles to their name. Athletic Bilbao is second on the list with 23 wins, followed by Real Madrid with 19 wins.
The tournament has also provided some of the most memorable moments in Spanish football. In 2014, Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 in the final, with Gareth Bale scoring a stunning goal to secure the victory. In 2006, Espanyol beat Real Zaragoza on penalties in a thrilling final that ended 4-4 after extra time.
Copa del Rey in Recent Years
In recent years, the Copa del Rey has been dominated by Barcelona. The Catalan club has won the tournament in four of the last five years, with Valencia winning in 2019.
The tournament has also seen some upsets in recent years, with lower league teams causing surprises. In 2018, Leganes, a team from the Segunda Division, knocked out Real Madrid in the quarter-finals. In 2020, Cultural Leonesa, a team from the Segunda Division B, knocked out Atletico Madrid in the round of 32.
The Copa del Rey is one of the most prestigious domestic cup competitions in the world, providing many memorable moments for fans over the years. With the top teams in La Liga competing for the trophy, the tournament is always full of excitement and drama.
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