No matter how you call it – Copa del Rey, La copa in short, or Campeonato de España – Copa de Su Majestad el Rey in its full name – it is definitely a competition to keep an eye on if you’re a fan of speedy and technical Spanish football.
Copa del Rey can proudly call itself the oldest football competition in Spain, as the first tournament took place back in 1903. Actually, another competition had been played in 1902 – a forerunner of the Copa del Rey. The tournament was dedicated to celebrating the coronation of King Alfonso XIII and therefore called Copa de la Coronación, with only five teams competing for the title. Nevertheless, it later evolved into Copa del Rey with 83 teams, a competition enjoyed by Spanish football fans for more than 100 years now.
The season 2017-2018 starts in late August with Barcelona as the defending champions. Will Barca reign again? Which teams will show their superiority and make it to the finals? Watch the royal Copa del Rey online to get all the answers. You can watch it on fuboTV (U.S.), and beIN Sports (U.S.). Away from the country? Get NordVPN and stream sports from anywhere on Earth – well, except Antarctica.
Even though in both competitions we see Spanish teams competing, there are significant differences in terms of the format.
To put it simply, if we would compare it to England’s competitions, La Liga is an equivalent to the Premier League, while Copa del Rey is the Spanish version of the FA Cup.
La Liga is the top Spanish football league. From August till May, a fixed number of 20 teams play home and away matches against every team and collect points. At the end of the season, the team that has the most points wins the champions title. In La Liga, there is no final as such.
Copa del Rey is the annual cup competition in Spain. It is a knockout tournament where the matches in the early rounds are played on the one-off basis: if the team loses the game, it gets eliminated. Starting from the round 32, each team gets to play a home and away match against each other to find out which one of them gets a step closer to the title.
Unlike La Liga, Copa del Rey has its semifinals and the final, which takes place at a neutral venue. The final is again a one-off match, so the winning team can call themselves champions and are awarded the trophy. Additionally, the champions of the Copa del Rey get a ticket to the Europa League, unless the team qualifies for the Champions League. In this case, the other finalist is lucky to get the chance to enter the Europa League.
Copa del Rey is also more open, as teams from all divisions – Primera Division, Segunda A, Segunda B and Tercera Division – are eligible to enter the competition. Club’s ranking determines in which round it will enter the competition. For example, for the top teams such as Madrid Real or Barcelona, it is usually the round 32.
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