The team that calls itself the best in the world has gotten themselves entangled in an ordeal that only amateur clubs are used to dealing with. The Spanish giant, Real Madrid, have egregiously been eliminated from the Spanish Copa del Ray due to mistakenly playing an ineligible player.
In the Copa Del Rey game against Cadiz FC, Real Madrid had fielded Russian-born player Denis Cheryshev, who was carrying over a one-game suspension from last season for accumulation of three consecutive yellow cards while playing on loan for Villarreal CF. The 24 year old forward position player was handed a rare start by Rafa Benitez, the new Real Madrid Manager. This season in La Liga Denis Cheryshev was playing as a substitute, he wanted to prove his worth to the manager, and his Copa Del Ray start was a dream come true. He had scored the first goal which impressed the manager and helped his side’s 3-1 win over Cadiz.
During the start of the second half, Rafa Benitez had substituted Cheryshev, where critics claimed that he found out about the suspension of the player and quickly removed him from the game. Spanish football’s governing body, the RFEF, confirmed after the game that Cheryshev was ineligible to play and Real Madrid had been disqualified from the tournament as a result.
As a result from being eliminated from the tournament, Real Madrid have extinguished their very last bit of their reputation, of which was left after an embarrassing and demoralizing defeat in a 4-0 home loss to Spanish rival Barcelona. Many have speculated for the resignation of Manager Rafa Benitez and Club President Florentino Perez. However, the club has already appealed to the Spanish Federation to overturn the ruling. Additionally, to make matters worse Real Madrid’s President had shifted the blame and the penalty on technicality, where neither the player nor the club were notified on the player’s suspension. And although some might be happy that the club is doing everything it can to get reinstated, the attempt is seen by the rest of the soccer world as an act of desperation.
Real Madrid remained optimistic it would be restored into the Copa Del Rey and continued selling tickets for the return match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Dec. 16. However, there has yet to be any confirmation or response from the Spanish Federation allowing Real Madrid to continue at the tournament. If the appeal does work, it could take some pressure off Perez, at least momentarily. But it wouldn’t change the fact that Madrid made a mistake uncharacteristic of a team of its significance.