(Photo : Reuters)
The Copa del Rey final is one of the most hotly anticipated matches of recent seasons. Obviously every Barcelona-Real Madrid matchup is a reason for anticipation and joy in the soccer world, but seeing the two most famous clubs in the world renew their rivalry with a piece of hardware on the line is obviously a bigger treat than anyone could possibly hope for.
The two sides have faced off in six finals and have each split the games three-apiece. Here is a look back at each final.
1936: Real Madrid Wins 2-1
Both teams entered the tournament in the round of 16. Real Madrid, known then as Madrid FC at the time, took on Arenas Club and managed a 3-3 aggregate draw. In a tiebreaker match Madrid won 6-1. Barcelona took on Sporting Gijon and won 4-0 on the aggregate.
In the quarterfinals Real Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-1 while Barcelona beat CD Espanol 4-2. In the semifinals, Real Madrid demolished Hercules FC 8-2 while Barca defeated CA Osasuna 9-5; the team lost the first leg 4-2 but won the second by the score of 7-1.
In the final Madrid won 2-1 thanks to a sixth minute goal form Eugenio and a 12th minute tally from Lecue; Barcelona's Escola scored in the 29th minute.
1968: Barcelona Wins 1-0.
The two sides met once more in what was then called the Copa del Generalissimo. Barcelona managed a 1-0 win thanks to an own goal from Fernando Zunzunegui.
1973-74: Real Madrid Trounces Barcelona 4-0.
Real Madrid regained the edge in the finals with a resounding 4-0 win over Barcelona in the 1974 final. The team got goals from Santillana, Rubinan, Pirri and Francisco Aguilar.
1982-83 Barcelona Ties it Up
Los Cules would get their revenge in the 1983 final with a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Victor Munoz and Marcos Alonso Pena; Santillana would provide the lone goal from Real Madrid.
1989-90 Barcelona takes the lead
Blaugrana would get another finals victory over Real Madrid in the 1990 final and would take a 3-2 lead in the overall finals series. The Barcelona goals came from Guillermo Amor and Julio Salinas; the first goal from Amor came at the 68 minute mark while the clinch came at 90 minutes.
2010-11 Ronaldo the Hero
The two sides would meet again in the final in 2011 when Real Madrid was under Jose Mourinho and Barcelona was dominating the world of soccer with its current crop of superstars and coach Pep Guardiola. The team would win the Champions League that season but Mourinho would put a blemish on an otherwise perfect season by defeating Guardiola in the final of the Copa del Rey. Or at least his fellow Portuguese superstar would accomplish that feat. Cristiano Ronaldo, trying to get out from behind the shadow of Lionel Messi, would provide the game winner of a 0-0 deadlock in the 103rd minute of the game.
The 2014 final will feature similar casts of players on each side, albeit with some changes, but should add to the rich history of the competition. Who do you think takes the lead in the head-to-head Copa del Rey finals matchup?