Another El Clasico looms in King’s Cup
MADRID - Reuters
Fierce rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid are likely to meet in the semifinal of the Spanish King’s Cup if they beat their opponents in the quarterfinals. REUTERS photoKing’s Cup holders Real Madrid and 2011 runners-up Barcelona are on course to meet in next month’s quarterfinals following the draw for the last 16 on Dec. 23.
If Real gets past Malaga over two legs on Jan. 4 and 11 and Barça disposes of Osasuna, the great rivals will play each other home and away on Jan. 18 and 25.
“To be champion you have to beat all the teams, whether they are from lower divisions or the best,” Real director of football Miguel Pardeza told the club’s website (www.realmadrid.com).
“We are not thinking about it yet (a possible meeting with Barca) and are focused on the Malaga tie,” the former Real player added.
On Dec. 22, Barcelona showed another one of their classic performances, thrashing third-tier Hospitalet 9-0 in the cup.
Real Madrid prevented a Barca clean sweep of trophies in 2011 by beating the Catalans 1-0 in the Cup final in Valencia thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic extra-time winner.
It was the only silverware Real won in Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge, as Barcelona secured a third straight La Liga title and a second Champions League crown in three years.
Barça knocked Real out in the semifinals of Europe’s elite club competition and went on to win the Spanish and European Super Cups and the Club World Cup, taking Barca coach Pep Guardiola’s trophy haul to 13 in three-and-a-half seasons.
The draw at the football federation headquarters outside Madrid also pitted Valencia against Sevilla and Real Sociedad versus Real Mallorca in the only other all-La Liga clashes.
Third-tier Albacete, who beat Atletico Madrid on Dec. 21, plays Athletic Bilbao, Mirandes, also in the third division and conquerors of Villarreal, faces Racing Santander and second tier Alcorcon and Cordoba play Levante and Espanyol respectively.
Albacete’s victory over Atletico Madrid cost coach Gregorio Manzano his job.
On Dec. 23, Atletico Madrid has hired former Argentina captain Diego Simeone as its new coach to replace the sacked Manzano.
“The Argentine coach (Simeone) has accepted the club’s offer for the rest of this season and one more campaign,” Atletico said on its website (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com).