Thursday evening sees Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey campaign begin away to Fuenlabrada with Los Blancos in good shape to win the competition.
The defending Spanish champions will hope to put their mixed start to the season behind them by starting the competition well and avoiding a repeat of the humiliating defeat to Alcorcon in the 2009/10 season.
For all Zinedine Zidane’s success as both a player and a coach at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, he has never lifted the Copa del Rey.
There remains a rather peculiar run with regards to the French coach and domestic cups throughout his career; he never won a domestic cup either in France or Italy during spells with Bordeaux and Juventus.
Last season’s quarter-final elimination at the hands of Celta Vigo is a sore point for the former midfielder and it was simple mistakes in the 2-1 defeat in the first leg which ultimately cost them.
That disappointment has made the trophy a priority for this season and it is a main goal for the playing squad who are determined to forget the disappointment of the last campaign.
Historically the domestic cup has never been Real Madrid’s main priority, they have generally been fighting for the LaLiga title combined with continental honours.
Now, whilst this hasn’t changed per se, Los Blancos feel they have such a fantastically gifted squad that it is possible to attempt to win every single competition.
Real haven’t actually lifted the trophy since 2014, when Carlo Ancelotti guided his team to final glory over Barcelona.
Since that Gareth Bale inspired victory, it has just been a string of misfortune for the Spanish giants; fierce rivals Atletico Madrid dumped them out of the 2015 edition before the 2016 competition saw the club expelled from the tournament as a result of the Denis Cheryshev fiasco.
Zidane is now determined to put that right, he has a talented squad at his disposal and there is a confidence within the group that they are ready to hand the 45-year-old his first Copa triumph.