Champions League, then La Liga and then Copa del Rey. In this order, Real Madrid takes the importance of the competitions it enters and doesn’t take the Spanish Cup too seriously. That is why it took nine years to reach the final.
It was 2014 and Carlo Ancelotti was sitting on the bench of Real Madrid. The Italian coach had led Los Blancos to the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals.
In the final of the Spanish Cup, Real Madrid faced their biggest rival, Barcelona. Ángel di María opened the scoring in the 11th minute and Marc Bartra equalised in the 68th minute. At that moment he was still a hero, but he didn’t know what would come later.
In the 86th minute, Fabio Coentrao sent a pass down the left flank to Gareth Bale, who one-touched the ball in front of Bartra. The Barcelona stopper pushed it out of the area, however, and the Welsh speedster, even with a stop behind the line, kicked the engines, outpaced Bartra, headed into the whitewash and stabbed the ball into the net between goalkeeper Pinto’s legs.
Real Madrid subsequently dominated the Champions League final as well, again helping themselves only in the final minutes. Against Atlético Madrid, Sergio Ramos took to the air at 92:48 to send the game into extra time, where Real added three more goals.
But this was the Merengues’ last Copa del Rey trophy for a long time, and even more, their last final.
A nine-year wait
A year later, Real crashed out in the 1/16 final against Atlético Madrid, and in 2015/16 came a bizarre elimination. Although Real had won 3-1 at Cadiz in the first round, it was the introduction of Denys Cheryshev, who even scored the first goal, that was the problem.
He had picked up too many yellow cards while on loan at Villarreal at the end of the CdR season, which carried over into the new season. But Real’s management had a huge doubt, didn’t realise it and wrongly put Cheryshev in the game. The match was thus called off in favour of Cadiz.
A year later, Real failed to beat Celta Vigo in the quarter-finals, and in the next edition they fell out in the quarter-finals to Leganés, but in both cases Real managed to win the Champions League.
The year 2019 brought an elimination in the semi-finals with Barcelona, in 2020 Real fell in the quarter-finals with Real Sociedad. In 2020/21, the biggest embarrassment came when Los Blancos crashed out in the first round to third-tier Alcoyane.
Last season, Ancelotti’s charges knocked out Athletic Club in the quarter-finals. This year, Real finally managed to reach the final, first knocking out Cacereño, then Villarreal and Atlético Madrid, and then beating Barcelona 4-0 in the semi-finals. They will meet Osasuna in the final on Saturday at 10pm.
Source: Copa del Rey, Real Madrid
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