The Spanish Cup—one of the major football competitions in Spain—is the contest that gets the most attention next to La Liga in Spain. Founded in 1902, it has had a good number of winners over time, but the club that has turned as the face of the tournament lately is one that comes in the form of FC Barcelona.
With 25 titles in their bag, the Catalans dominate all the other sides in the race for prestige. They last received glory in the Copa del Rey back in 2009, after defeating Athletic Bilbao in the final 4-1 at the Mestalla Stadium to clinch their first reward under Pep Guardiola. The Andalusians come close to the Blaugrana in the overall rankings of honours with 23 titles in their name, while they have also finished as runners-up 11 times—two times more than Los Cules.
Real Madrid have also earned reputation in the competition over the years, but their record isn’t as impressive their archrivals’, who beat them with 8 more trophies. It is apparent that lack of luck has very often been Los Blancos’ problem in the Copa del Rey final, having finished second on 19 occasions. One will have to go 7 years back in time to find Real’s last appearance in a Spanish Cup final—a match against Real Zaragoza which the Castellans went on to lose 3-2 despite having taking the lead first in the opening half.
For Madrid, collecting another Copa del Rey victory will not have much impact on their run in the competition’s history, although it would greatly do good to the current team striving for glory. In Barcelona’s situation nonetheless, an additional honour would simply enlarge the gap at the top of the Winners’ standings between them and their strongest challengers Athletic Bilbao.
With 8 years of uninterrupted success in the tournament required to put Barca in danger of losing their spot as the competition’s best side in history, it is obvious that Los Merengues have a huge load of work to tackle if ever they wish to stamp their authority in the King’s Cup. This might not be their target at the moment though, but further steps on the path of grandeur on their behalf would eventually do nothing but heat the enmity between the two spirits of El Clasico.
Take a trip to the past with Live Soccer TV and re-live the 5 Copa del Rey finals involving Barcelona and Real Madrid through video highlights: Barcelona vs Real Madrid & The 5 Barca-Real Madrid Copa Del Rey Finals
FC Barcelona won their first Copa del Rey title back in 1910, after defeating Club Español de Madrid in a 3-team contest that saw the Catalans top their table with 4 points, as 2 points were awarded per victories at that time. 2 years later, Barca emerged triumphant once again, this time, in a 4-team contest. With Athletic Bilbao and Academia de Infantería both withdrawing from the competition previous to its start that year, the Blaugrana’s run was made easier. They comprehensibly defeated España de Barcelona in the semi-finals 3-0, before imposing themselves on Sociedad Gimnástica in the final in Catalunya to grab their second title.
In 1913, the Catalans retained their crown in a 2-team contest that was weakened by the withdrawal of Pontevedra CF. Barcelona and Real Sociedad finally had to settle for a two-legged match resulting in a 2-2 draw on aggregate, immediately followed by a final again decided by them—where the then-defending champions ruled once more subsequent to a 2-1 win.
The club then went through 7 years of fruitlessness in the competition, and it was only in 1920 that the Azulgranas were able to bounce back and get back to the top. After narrowly edging past Real Unión 5-4 on aggregate in the semis, Barcelona reached the final where they faced Athletic Bilbao. A 2-0 end result gave the Catalans their 4th Copa del Rey title, and 2 years later, another trophy followed. 1925 1926 and 1928 were also profitable years for Barca, who received glory in the Spanish Cup.
The giants grew bigger and bigger later on, to the extent that they took for themselves 14 titles in a space of 48 years—from 1942 to 1990—finishing as runners-up on 4 different occasions in the intervening time. Brazilian legend Ronaldo joined the Catalan forces in the 90s as a supplementary weapon, and in the 1996/1997 season, he came out as the Copa del Rey’s top scorer with 8 goals, as Barcelona held the cup in Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu thanks to brilliant efforts from Luis Figo in the final against Real Betis.
Another Brazilian star in the name of Rivaldo topped the goalscoring chart for Barcelona the following season in the Spanish Cup, and again, Los Cules were crowned winners for the second time in a row. A 5-2 aggregate score line against Real Zaragoza in the semis sent the Blaugrana straight into the final at the Mestalla Stadium, where Real Mallorca were turned into victims on penalties after holding on to a 1-1 draw in extra time.
Real Madrid—formerly known as Madrid FC—held their first ever Copa del Rey trophy in 1905, in a 3-team contest that saw them compete against San Sebastián Recreation Club and Athletic Bilbao in a single group, which they eventually led with 4 points. In 1906, Los Blancos retained their medals as champions in a similarly-designed competition—with Manuel Prast finishing as their top scorer.
In 1907, Recreativo de Huelva, Club Bizcaya, Hamilton FC and Vigo joined Madrid in the Copa del Rey whilst FC Barcelona and San Sebastian RC refused to attend the event. The increase in the number of clubs proved to toughen the Castellans’ challenge, as they barely survived in the group stage. They finished on the same note as Club Bizcaya de Bilbao with 6 points, and hence entered the final where they triumphed through a loan goal from Prast.
Madrid clinched their 4th Copa del Rey title on the trot in 1908, when Athletic Bilbao and other guest teams declined their invitations for various reasons. In the end, only the Galacticos and Vigo Sporting were left to compete for the ultimate reward, and in front of 4,000 spectators, automatic finalists Madrid FC beat their opponents 2-1 to keep making history in the Copa del Rey.
After 4 perfect runs, it took the club 9 years to dominate again, and it was in 1917 that they edged past Sevilla FC, España FC, and Arenas de Guecho to clinch their 5th cup. The years 1934 and 1936 also appeared to be benefiting from the Madridistas’ prospect, although they were followed by nearly a decade of failure.
After the World War II in 1946, their temporary curse was broken, but they were merely good enough to claim 9 titles in the ensuing 43 years. In 1993, Real Madrid grabbed their last Copa del Rey title in history, defeating Real Zaragoza 2-0 in the final at the Estadio Luis Casanova in Valencia.
To finish this article, Live Soccer TV fetches you historical details from both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Having already explored the years in which both clubs were successful in the Copa del Rey, we present to you below the times in which both clubs finished as runners-up:
FC Barcelona: 1902, 1919, 1932, 1936, 1954, 1974, 1984, 1986, 1996.
Real Madrid CF: 1903, 1916, 1918, 1924, 1929, 1930, 1933, 1940, 1943, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1979, 1983, 1990, 1992, 2002 and 2004.
The Spanish Cup’s current title holders are Sevilla FC, who eliminated the 2009 champions on their way to the peak. On April 20, Barca and Real will be coming up against each other in the final’s Clasico to decide who will take home the 2011 Copa del Rey trophy.
For TV schedules and other details, check the Barcelona vs Real Madrid live streaming page on Live Soccer TV.