Real Madrid’s squad were reportedly incredibly happy to be drawn against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final, preferring to face their rivals now rather than in the final.
The semi-final will be played across two legs, with the first taking place at Camp Nou on Wednesday. Real will then host the second leg of the tie at the Bernabeu on Wednesday 27 February.
News of Real’s reaction to the draw comes from AS, who claim that the players are “far happier” at the prospect of facing Barcelona at this stage of the tournament, instead of the final.
This feeling reportedly stems from Real’s belief that they stand a better chance of beating Barcelona over two legs, instead of the single occasion that is the final of the Copa del Rey.
They are thought to believe that, regardless of what happens during the first leg at the Camp Nou, they will be able to channel the emotion from their supporters in the second leg to overturn any potential deficit.
AS add that the squad are cautiously optimistic about the tie, given they are currently in the midst of an improved run of form. Santiago Solari’s side have won their last three La Liga matches, including crucial victories over Sevilla and Real Betis, as they seek to close the gap to league leaders Barcelona.
The last time the two rivals met came in Julen Lopetegui’s final match in charge of Real, as he suffered a resounding 5-1 defeat at the Camp Nou in October.
Real’s form has still been mixed since Solari’s arrival, but the likes of Karim Benzema and Luka Modric have impressed for the Champions League holders.
The second Copa del Rey semi-final will pit Betis against Valencia, with the winner of this tie going on to face either Real or Barcelona in the final of the competition.