The Spanish Copa del Rey is the second most relevant football competition in Spain. This tournament saw the light of day in 1902, and its full name is “Campeonato de España – Copa de Su Majestad el Rey” which translates to “Championship of Spain – Cup of His Majesty the King”.
It is the oldest competition in Spanish football history, preceding the formation of La Liga – or the Primera División. Due to the tournament’s rich history, the Copa del Rey is revered as one of the most prestigious domestic cups in world football. Athletic Bilbao, a club that has enjoyed tremendous success on this stage, won the inaugural title, beating Real Madrid – then known simply as Madrid FC – 3-2 in the final.
This event has seen its format change through time. The first championship was played by only three teams while the 2018/19 edition saw 83 teams participate, as it had been for many years. However, come 2019/20, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) decided to include more teams to give the tournament a new look and thus upped the number of contestants to 125. This move brought about the inclusion of regional teams from the fifth division.
Each round is played in a one-match format, excluding the semi-finals. The champions earn a ticket to the Europa League. If the winners have already secured European berth via the league, then this spot passes down to the highest-placed team in La Liga to have missed out on the UEFA club competition. The two finalists qualify for the Supercopa de España for the following season.
As is true of La Liga, the Copa del Rey has witnessed some of the greatest players to have touched a ball on Spanish soil. Telmo Zarra, Ferenc Puskas, Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, and Lionel Messi are a few icons to win the title and/or set records in this tournament. This is one of the main reasons why this competition pulls in admirable viewership numbers, with fans tuning in to licensed TV broadcasters, live streaming options, and on-demand services to catch all the action live.
After finishing the second phase of the Copa del Rey in 2021, a total of 56 teams are competing for the ticket to be in the next round of the competition, round of 32, where they will already enter Barça, Real Madrid, Atlético and Atheltic.
The draw for the next phase of the Copa del Rey will be held on Friday, December 17 at the headquarters of the Royal Spanish Football Federation. The matches corresponding to this phase will be played at the beginning of January 2022.
Direct-to-consumer streaming service ESPN+ has secured bilingual rights to the Spanish Copa del Rey in USA, following a multi-year deal with the Royal Spanish Football Federation. The OTT broadcaster will air up to 65 matches live every season with English- and Spanish-language commentary. ESPN+’s selection of games will include fixtures featuring top Spanish clubs such as FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Fourth-tier Arenteiro welcome La Liga giants Valencia to their humble 4,500-seater abode in the second round of the Copa del Rey on Thursday night (6pm kick-off, UK time).
After a murky autumnal run of seven La Liga games on the trot without a win, Jose Bordalas’ men have found form heading into the festive period. Los Che travel to Galicia off the back of a seven-game unbeaten streak, including a 3-0 victory over Utrillas in the first round of this competition. Arenteiro meanwhile beat Logrones 2-1 to reach this stage off the Copa del Rey.
stream a selection of Copa del Rey matches live for account holders. Those interested in streaming Arenteiro vs Valencia live can take advantage of this service by following the simple steps below.