Today, Real Madrid played the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie against Cádiz. Real won 3-1, thanks in part to a goal from Denis Cheryshev. Unfortunately, Cheryshev’s presence on the pitch is also why they’re probably going to be knocked out of the competition.
According to AS English, Cheryshev, who spent last season on loan at Villarreal, was supposed to be serving a one-match suspension in this competition because of the three yellow cards he accumulated at the end of last season’s edition. Sure enough, they have a document outlining Cheryshev’s suspension, which carries over between seasons and teams.
The rule on using ineligible players is clear (despite Real’s attempt to weasel their way into a loophole). Teams that commit that infraction forfeit the match in question, and, if it’s in a knockout competition like this one, are disqualified. Probably because they learned about this too late, Real subbed Cheryshev off right after halftime.
This was cause for great amusement, of course. Real instigator number 1, Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué, apparently really enjoyed the mistake:
In the stadium, Cádiz fans reportedly chanted “Benítez, check Twitter,” “Cheryshev, I love you,” and “Campeones, campeones.”
There is, however, one potential way for Real to sneak out from this same provision that saw Osasuna kicked out of the Copa last season: Cádiz must file an official complaint. Remember, this is Spain, the land where late-season suitcase bribes are common and the head of the soccer federation is an avowed Real Madrid fan. A few thousand Euros and/or a call to the boss could very easily sort out this whole misunderstanding.
Photo via Getty