Lowly Cornella in the path of Real juggernaut
When third-tier Cornella were drawn to play holders Real Madrid in the last 32 of the King`s Cup, players and officials from the Barcelona-based club celebrated wildly what they called "winning the lottery".
Madrid: When third-tier Cornella were drawn to play holders Real Madrid in the last 32 of the King`s Cup, players and officials from the Barcelona-based club celebrated wildly what they called "winning the lottery".
Wednesday`s first leg match will be played at the nearby stadium of top-flight Espanyol and will provide some welcome extra revenue for tiny Cornella, whose annual budget of around 1 million euros (1.3 million US dollars) is dwarfed by Real`s income of more than half a billion.
Real are likely to rest some of their big guns but with the team on a high after Saturday`s 3-1 win at home to Barcelona in the La Liga `Clasico`, Cornella will probably become the latest team crushed by the Real juggernaut.
Speaking after this month`s draw, Real director Emilio Butragueno warned against underestimating sides like Cornella, perhaps with a famous Cup defeat to third-tier Alcorcon at the same stage in 2009 in mind.
"There have been a lot of surprises in the Cup over the years and we will have to be very focused," Butragueno told reporters.
"They (Cornella) are in mid-table in their division but playing Real Madrid is always a great challenge and a huge motivation," added the former Spain and Real forward.
"They will be a dangerous opponent and we will very much have to be on our guard."
If Real get through to the last 16 as expected, they are likely to meet 2013 winners Atletico Madrid, with Barcelona, who Real beat 2-1 in last season`s final, the probable opponents in the last eight.
All but two of the last-32, first legs take place at the beginning of December but Real`s has been brought forward because of the European champions` participation in the Club World Cup in mid-December.
Due to the disruption to the La Liga calendar caused by the tournament in Morocco, Sevilla have also had their King`s Cup first leg brought forward and meet second-division Sabadell on Wednesday. The return legs are at the beginning of December.
Sevilla, level on points with Barca at the top of La Liga after nine matches following Sunday`s 2-1 win at home to Villarreal, last won Spain`s domestic Cup in 2010.