This season’s Copa del Rey has been exhilarating.
Since the scrapping of the double leg tie last season, we have been fortunate enough to see some cracking ties.
Real Madrid were knocked out against Third Division side Alcoyano, Atlético Madrid lost against Cornellà (who then took Barcelona to extra time) and Ibiza knocked out Celta Vigo in an entertaining goal-fest.
These types of results have rejuvenated support for a competition which, since 2010, aside from Valencia’s 2019 victory, has seen only Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid or Barcelona get their hands on this famous trophy, although last season’s Athletic Club-Real Sociedad match has yet to be played.
But it was not always like this.
Between 2000 and 2010, there were eight different winners and 13 finalists.
2000 Copa del Rey Final: Espanyol 2-1 Atlético Madrid
The first final of the millennium saw Catalan side Espanyol face Atlético Madrid.
This was an Espanyol side who would finish in 14th place and, thanks to key players Mauricio Pochettino and Raul Tamudo, would win their third Copa del Rey title.
It was not to be a good season for Los Rojiblancos, as they, alongside Sevilla and Real Betis, were relegated, despite a strong squad including the likes of Hasselbank, Valerón, Capdevilla and Santiago Solari.
Tamudo took the lead inside two minutes, before an 84th minute goal from current Valladolid manager Sergio put Espanyol 2-0 up.
A late strike from Hasselbank wasn’t enough to salvage the game.
2001 Copa del Rey Final: Real Zaragoza 2-1 Celta de Vigo
This was Zaragoza’s first of two cup wins in four years and was played at the Estadio de la Cartuja (where Athletic and Real Sociedad will face off for last season’s trophy).
This was to be a brilliant season for Zaragoza, who would finish in fourth place and only six points off title winners Deportivo La Coruña.
To reach the final, they knocked out then Second Division outfit Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals, whilst Celta Vigo defeated Barcelona 4-2 over two legs.
Celta Vigo took the lead inside six minutes thanks to star player Mostovi, but two first-half goals from Aguado and Jamelli would give Los Maños a 2-1 lead.
A third goal from Zaragoza in the 94th minute would complete a famous victory.
2002 Copa del Rey Final: Deportivo La Coruña 2-1 Real Madrid
The 2002 Copa del Rey final would be the first of two that Real Madrid would lose in three seasons.
Despite their galacticos tag, and their 2000 and 2002 Champions League victories, Vicente del Bosque’s men would have less fortune domestically.
This would, however, be a special season for Depor as the Galician side would win their first trophy since 1995 and claim second spot in LaLiga, only behind Rafa Benitez’s Valencia.
Despite playing at the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid could not get past Depor to win the 100th Cup final.
The match was billed El Centenariazo as Real Madrid were also celebrating their centenary year.
Another cup final goal for Sergio alongside Spain international Diego Tristán’s finish stunned Los Blancos on their own patch.
A second half goal from Raúl was not enough.
As this decade in the Copa del Rey shows, the favourites do not always win.
2003 Copa del Rey Final: Mallorca 3-0 Huelva
For the first time in their history, Mallorca would lift the trophy as they were spearheaded in attack by Samuel Eto’o and Walter Pandiani.
Indeed, they would be the goalscorers, with the Cameroonian notching up a second half brace after the Uruguayan had given his side the lead.
For Huelva, this match remains one of the highlights of the club.
Their cup run came during their debut season in LaLiga, although they would relegate.
This is only matched, in modern times, by their three consecutive seasons in the top division between 2006 and 2009. They now play in Segunda B.
2004 Copa del Rey Final: Real Zaragoza 3-2 Real Madrid
Whilst the previous year’s final was one of the most one-sided, Zaragoza’s stunning victory over Real Madrid’s was one of the closest and most entertaining finals of the decade.
Having relegated and promoted since their last Copa victory only four seasons ago, Los Maños achieved cup success once again.
Although it was far from easy.
A stunning free-kick from David Beckham gave Los Blancos the lead, although Dani García would equalise for Zaragoza just four minutes later.
A penalty from David Villa gave Zaragoza the lead on the stroke of half-time, although Roberto Carlos would smash in one of his trademark free-kicks just a few minutes into the second half.
There would be no more goals and extra-time was needed.
With just eight minutes from time, Luciano Galetti received the ball outside the box and shot first-time, placing it into the corner with goalkeeper César Sánchez not able to reach it in time.
Zaragoza were champions.
2005 Copa del Rey Final: Real Betis 2-1 Osasuna
The 2005 Cup Final was to be Real Betis’ second victory, having previously won the tournament in 1977, but they did not do it the easy way.
In the semi-finals, Betis and Athletic Club drew 0-0 in both legs, with a penalty shootout giving Los Verdiblancos a place in the final.
Osasuna meanwhile knocked out Atlético Madrid 1-0 on aggregate.
And at half-time, the final was goalless.
A 74th minute goal from Ricardo Oliveira seemed to give the Andalusians the victory, but a 82nd minute equaliser from Australian John Aloisi took the game to extra-time, where Dani’s left-foot finish into the corner won the game for Betis.
2006 Copa del Rey Final: Espanyol 4-1 Real Zaragoza
Defeating Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona (over two legs) on their way to the final, Real Zaragoza, who would finish five places above their rivals, were favourites for the tie.
Yet, unlike the final two seasons previously, they would be the ones to struggle under the tag of favourites.
Although Ewerthon’s 28-minute equaliser cancelled out Raul Tamudo’s 2nd minute goal, a brace from Luis García and a goal from Coro stunned Zaragoza as the Catalan side ran out 4-1 winners.
Mauricio Pochettino was an unused substitute for Espanyol and the Argentine would retire from the game a few weeks later.
This was Real Zaragoza’s third final in six years, and whilst they would finish in sixth place the following campaign, the club would has not achieved anywhere near this level of success, having spent the last seven seasons in the Second Division.
2007 Copa del Rey Final: Sevilla 1-0 Getafe
The 2007 Copa del Rey was the first of two finals which Getafe would lose. Playing at the Bernabeu, a 10th minute Frederic Kanoute goal was enough to settle the tie.
Thanks to their second consecutive Uefa Cup and the Copa del Rey triumph, this was to be a successful season for Sevilla under Juande Ramos.
The Andalusian side would also finish in 3rd place.
Sadly, however, Sevilla’s finest season came just a few months before Antonio Puerta would tragically pass away in August at the start of the following campaign after suffering a cardiac arrest in a LaLiga match against their fellow Copa del Rey finalists.
2008 Copa del Rey Final Valencia 3-1 Getafe
Despite the triumvirate of Juan Mata, David Silva and David Villa, Valencia finished this season in 10th place.
Ronald Koemen took over from Quique Sánchez Flores, although he could not stop them from finishing bottom in their Champions League group.
Success in the Copa del Rey, however, was a saving grace.
Early goals from Juan Mata and Alexis catapulted Valencia to a two goal lead, although Esteban Granero’s converted penalty on the stroke of half-time made the second half a more nervy affair.
An 84th minute goal from substitute Fernando Morientes settled the tie.
This was Getafe’s second final in a row, but Michael Laudrup could only watch as his side were defeated.
2009 Copa del Rey Final: Barcelona 4-1 Athletic Club
Forming part of Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning side in his debut season, this was the only victory from Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atlético Madrid during this decade.
The Basques actually took the lead through Toquero’s goal, although Yaya Toure equalised after the half-hour mark.
Three goals in nine second-half minutes from Lionel Messi, Bojan and Xavi did the damage.
Despite losing and finishing in 13th place, not all was bad for Athletic Club.
This final constituted their first in 24 years, and a couple of seasons later Marcelo Bielsa would guide them to runners up in both the Europa League and Copa del Rey.
2010 Copa del Rey Final: Sevilla 2-0 Atlético Madrid
Goals from Diego Capel and Jesús Navas at the Camp Nou against David de Gea in his debut season for Los Rojiblancos sealed victory for the Andalusian club.
A front two of Sergio Agüero and Diego Forlan could do nothing for Quique Sánchez Flores’ men, although they had been crowned as Europa League winners the previous week after their 2-1 victory over Roy Hodgson’s Fulham.