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Copa Del Rey 2013: Winner of El Clasico Semifinal Will Win Cup

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 23:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at Camp Nou on February 23, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2013

With all due respect to Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, the winner of Tuesday's Copa Del Rey semifinal between Real Madrid and Barcelona is going to win the cup. 

I know it. You know it. Darn it, we all know it.

Okay, okay, so I probably am underrating Atletico Madrid slightly here. Atletico will go into Wednesday's tilt up 2-1 and is likely to advance to the final (though Sevilla's away goal could loom large). Oh, and they're ahead of Real Madrid on La Liga's table.

Plus, any team with the talent of Atletico—led by Radamel Falcao, who has 26 goals in 27 games across all competitions this season—is a threat.

Then again, Atletico has played each of those teams once this season and lost both matches, having been outscored 6-1 in those games. 

Atletico may be second on La Liga's table, but I'm not quite ready to put them in the same class as Barca or Real Madrid just yet.

As for Sevilla, well, they actually beat Real Madrid 1-0 in September and have at least been competitive in two losses to Barcelona, allowing five goals while managing three of their own. Real Madrid beat them 4-1 in the La Liga rematch earlier this month, however.

Honestly, both teams would likely rather face Los Blancos. Barcelona has won 22 of its 25 league games (with only one loss), and has only lost three games across all competitions this season. Lionel Messi and company are not to be trifled with this season, and I'm sure both teams will be rooting against them.

But Real Madrid has everything to play for as well. With La Liga's title out of their reach and the possibility of elimination in the Champions League when they travel to England for a second leg against Manchester United, winning the Copa Del Rey may be the one major prize Los Blancos have left to earn.

And you don't want to face a Real Madrid team in desperation mode. They're difficult enough to beat when they aren't trying to earn a bit of retribution for an otherwise disappointing season.

Anytime we get an El Clasico, it's special. But this year's El Clasico semifinal at the Copa Del Rey is essentially a championship matchup. Sure, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla probably will take some issues with my theory, but either Barcelona or Real Madrid will win this year's Copa Del Rey.

And we all know it.

 

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