The fixtures plan if Real Madrid reach Copa del Rey semi-finals
If Ancelotti’s team beat Atlético to make the Copa del Rey semis, the dates will coincide with the Club World Cup and it all gets quite complicated.
There could be a potential fixtures pile-up if Real Madrid make it to the Copa del Rey semi-finals. Real Madrid were drawn against Atlético in the quarter finals, which will be played next week. If they advance to the next round, there will be problem as the dates coincide with the Club World Cup, which have been scheduled for the first two weeks of February.
If the Qatar World Cup created a problem by compressing the calendar, the Club World Cup has complicated it even more. FIFA only announced the official dates of the tournament last month, by which time LaLiga and the RFEF had already established the only free dates for their competitions. However, no one predicted is that FIFA would announce their tournament to take place in the first two weeks of February (from 1 to 11) - dates which coincide with the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals (8 February). On that day, Real Madrid will be in Morocco playing their first game of the Club World Cup - they will face the winners of Match 2 (Seattle Sounders vs Match 1 winners [Al Ahly vs Auckland]) in the semi-final.
If Madrid eliminate Atlético, they will progress to the Copa del Rey semi-final which will be played on the same day, 8 February. Faced with this problem, the Federation has lined up other possible dates for the tie.
Plan B: Second week in February
Looking at the fixtures calendar, there are hardly any alternatives for Real Madrid if they make it to the Copa semi-finals. The first free date would be the week from 13 to 17 February. Ancelotti’s men have no commitment during that week, seeing as the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 tie against Liverpool is on Tuesday 21 February.
That first option will depend on who Madrid face in the Copa semi-final. If they face Barcelona or Sevilla (providing one of them wins their quarter final), that rules out the week of February 13-17 as both the Catalans and Sevilla will be involved in the Europa League playoffs that week. If Madrid are drawn against any other side in the semi-final (Osasuna, Valencia, Athletic or Real Sociedad) they could play the tie in one of those mid-week dates.
Now, if the draw for the semi-finals should throw up a Clásico or a Madrid-Sevilla tie, we’ll have to do a little more juggling. Also, the return leg (1 March) would be played before the first leg. Since the next available slot is in mid-to-late March. In this hypothetical case, the most viable option would be the week of 20-24 March, when there are no international commitments. Although much will depend on whether any of the three teams remain in European competition - if not, the date could be brought forward by one or two weeks.
A veritable nightmare that the Federation will try to solve as and when necessary. It can all be avoided however, if Atlético knock Madrid out of the Copa next week.
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