Spanish Super Cup vs Copa del Rey

Spanish Super Cup vs Copa del Rey – What’s The Difference?

If you’ve just started following Spanish football, you may be confused about some of the competitions played in the country. The Spanish Super Cup and the Copa Del Rey are two big competitions played in Spain

But what’s the difference between them?

Here’s what you need to know: 

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Real Madrid vs Lazio DLS gameplay
The difference between the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa Del Rey 

The Spanish Super Cup (or Supercopa de España), is a mini-tournament contested by 4 of the best performing teams from La Liga and Copa Del Rey in the previous season. Meanwhile, the Copa Del Rey is the official cup competition in Spain which is contested by 126 teams each year. 

Here is an in-depth explanation of the differences between the two competitions: 

Number of teams

The Spanish Super Cup is contested by four teams: the winners of the Copa Del Rey and La Liga, as well as, the runners-up of both competitions. 

This is a relatively new format that began in 2020. Before that, the competition was only played by two teams: the winners of La Liga and Copa Del Rey. 

Furthermore, the competition is now held in a foreign country (Saudi Arabia in 2022), instead of Spain!

Meanwhile, the Copa Del Rey has 126 teams each season that come from all tiers of professional Spanish football. 

Competition format 

The Spanish Super Cup is a four-team knockout tournament. The winners of the Copa Del Rey and La Liga alongside the runners-up of both competitions are drawn against each other randomly into a semi-final tie and the winners go on to play the final. 

The 2021/22 Spanish Super Cup was contested by Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Athletic Bilbao .

Meanwhile, the Copa Del Rey is a knockout competition. This means that the winner of each match will progress on to the next stage.

The loser will automatically be eliminated from the competition!

Extra time and penalties 

If a game in the Spanish Super Cup ends in a draw after 90 minutes, the game goes to extra time and then penalties. This applies to both the semi-final and final games. 

You can find out more about penalty shootouts in this guide.

For the Copa Del Rey, extra time and penalties are present in every round of the competition from the preliminaries all the way to the final. 

Unlike the FA Cup, the Copa Del Rey does not have replays.

Number of matches 

The Spanish Super Cup only consists of a semi-final and final. This makes two games available to each side to win the competition. 

In the Copa Del Rey, there are 7 rounds to be played before teams can win the final. All of the teams in Spain will start playing in Round 1, including teams from La Liga.

However, the four teams that participate in the Spanish Super Cup don’t join the competition till the Last 32 stage. 

Eligible teams 

To be eligible for the Spanish Super Cup, you need to either win or be the runner-up in La Liga or Copa Del Rey. This qualifies you for the next season’s Spanish Super Cup.

If the same team wins both La Liga and the Copa Del Rey, the 4th team in the Super Cup will be the third-placed team in La Liga. 

For the Copa Del Rey, every official team in the Spanish football pyramid is eligible to contest in the tournament. This includes clubs from La Liga all the way down to the grassroots level.

Frequency and Duration 

Both competitions are held annually

The semi-finals and finals of the Spanish Super Cup are played in January and are played within the same week. 

This is in contrast to other Super Cups like the UEFA Super Cup and the FA Community Shield. These cups are considered to be the curtain raisers of the season and will be played in August.

The Copa Del Rey begins in November and the final is played in May. Unlike the FA Cup, top-flight teams join from the first round, so you can see some upsets very early in the competition. 

Squad Size 

The Spanish Super Cup allows a maximum of 22 players in the squad. This includes 11 starters and 11 players on the substitute’s bench. 

The rules for the Copa Del Rey are the same. Coaches are required to name a 22-man squad for the match. 

Prizes for winning the competition 

Here are the prizes teams will receive for winning the competitions: 

The winners of the Spanish Super Cup add the Super Cup trophy to their cabinet. The winners also get £3,800,000 in prize money. 

For the Copa Del Rey, the winners will be crowned the Spanish Cup Champions. Moreover, they will achieve automatic qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stages, as well as an accumulative cash price of £1,800,000

Verdict 

Here is the summary of the comparison between the Spanish Super Cup and Copa Del Rey: 

Spanish Super CupCopa Del Rey 
Number of
teams involved
4126
Competition
format 
Elimination Elimination 
Frequency AnnualAnnual
Duration 4-5 days November – May
Eligible teams2 winners and 2 runners-up
off La Liga and Copa Del Rey
All Spanish professional clubs
Number of matches Max of 7
Squad size 2222
Presence of replays NoNo
Prizes for winning Spanish Super
Cup trophy 
Europa League + Spanish Super Cup

Which is better between the Spanish Super Cup and Copa Del Rey? 

The Copa Del Rey may be considered to be more prestigious than the Spanish Super Cup as it gives teams that chance to qualify for the UEFA Europa League and is a more historical competition.

However, with the Spanish Super Cup expanding and now being played abroad, the value of the competition will continue to rise in the coming years.

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