Copa del Rey: La Liga joins the fray in the Round of 32

Denis Doyle

Atlético Madrid begins their march towards a possible repeat as Copa del Rey champions. In their path stand the rest of La Liga and several lower division clubs hoping to make a name for themselves with an upset.

Defending champion Atlético Madrid and the rest of La Liga enter in to the Copa del Rey tournament this weekend. Founded in 1903, the Campeonato de España - Copa de Su Majestad el Rey (Championship of Spain - His Majesty the King's Football Cup) or Copa del Rey for shot, is Spain's oldest soccer competition. This is the 110th time the cup has been competed for.

This is actually the Round of 32 in the tournament -- three previous rounds have already been played -- but like most league or national cup type competitions, it usually doesn't register on the radar until the country's top domestic league joins in.

Several lower division sides will get a crack at upsetting some of Spain's biggest clubs. FC Cartagena, who play in Segunda B (Spanish 3rd Division), get a home game against Barcelona, as do fellow Segunda B side Sant Andreu who welcome Atlético Madrid. Real Madrid also travel to face another Segunda B side Olimpic. If any of these smaller clubs could pull off an upset, it would be quite the story.

The Copa del Rey is a big deal in Spain and it's a tournament take seriously by the country's biggest clubs. Barcelona have won the cup 26 times, claiming the all-time lead. Athletic Bilbao is next with 23 wins. Diversity of champions is a little thin though with only 16 different clubs ever having won.

Here's the complete schedule for this weekend's matches.

Friday, December 6th

Lleida vs. Real Betis
Villarreal vs. Elche
Algeciras CF vs. Real Sociedad
Racing Santander vs. Sevilla FC
FC Cartagena vs. Barcelona
Real Valladolid vs. Rayo Vallecano

Saturday, December 7th

Sant Andreu vs. Atlético Madrid
Girona vs. Getafe
Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Bilbao
Olimpic vs. Real Madrid
Recreativo Huelva vs. Levante

Sunday, December 8th

AD Alcorcon vs. Granada
Gimnastic de Tarragona vs. Valencia
Las Palmas vs. Almeria
Real Jaen CF vs. Espanyol
Málaga vs. Osasuna

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