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Founded in 1903, the Campeonato de España–Copa de Su Majestad el Rey or as it is commonly referred to as Copa del Rey is a yearly knockout football competition. The Royal Spanish Football Federation is responsible for organising this competition. Copa del Rey is Spain’s oldest football competition.
The winners of the Copa del Rey qualify the next season’s UEFA Europa League. This national cup trophy is regarded as one of the most prestigious in the world. Copa del Rey has a rich and regal history.
The most successful club in the Copa del Rey competition is FC Barcelona. They won their 30th title in 2018 after defeating Sevilla. This game was played at the Wanda Metropolitano. The second most successful club is Athletic Bilbao. Valencia currently holds the title. They beat Barcelona at the Estadio Benito Villamarín to become the 2019 champions.
Before the establishment of La Liga, Copa del Rey was the National Championship of Spain’s football. Qualification to the competition was through regional leagues. Various other means of qualification have been used, including group stages over the years.
Also known as the King’s Cup, the Copa del Rey trophy is permanently awarded to the competition winners. Invitations to enter this competition are awarded to teams from the Segunda A, Segunda B, Primera División, and the champions of the Tercera División.
The early stages of the competition involve one-off games. Home advantage is given to teams from the lower divisions. Two legs are played in the semi-finals, the quarter-finals, the round of 16, and the round of 32. A neutral venue hosts the one-off final match. The winners of this match qualify for both the UEFA Europa League and the Supercopa de España.
Athletic Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra is the competition’s all-time top goalscorer. He was a Spanish national who played between 1939 and 1957. He scored a total of 81 goals. Josep Samitier and Guillermo Gorostiza are the second (70 goals) and third (62 goals) top goal scorers respectively. Lionel Messi is the competition’s sixth top goalscorer. He is the only player still playing football in the top ten all-time goalscorers. He has a total of 51 goals for FC Barcelona.
Copa del Rey has several key matches for you to watch out. The competition’s quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals are some of its exciting matches. They pitch teams with excellent football talent. El Clásico is one of the key games that may happen at any stage of the competition. This match is between the football giants FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Other vital matches that can be played in the Copa del Rey if the teams are pitched together is the Seville derby. It involves Sevilla and Real Betis, the Madrid derby between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, or the Derbi de la Comunitat between Valencia and Villarreal. Another critical match to watch out for is the Galician derby between Celta Vigo and Deportivo La Coruña.
Copa del Rey is a prestigious cup that gives teams a realistic chance of glory. This cup invites teams from the lower leagues to play and win the trophy. It is the oldest football competition in Spain with Barcelona holding the most titles. Valencia is the current titleholder.