MADRID – Real Madrid have been thrown out of the Spanish Cup after fielding an ineligible player in their tie against third-tier Cadiz on Wednesday, the Spanish Football Federation confirmed on Friday.
Madrid began the game with Denis Cheryshev, who scored the opening goal in the 3-1 win, in their starting line-up even though the Russian should have been suspended after he received three yellow cards in the competition for Villarreal last season.
Though star Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas did not play in the match Wednesday, he was expected to help lead “Los Blancos” through later rounds of the tournament against more challenging competition.
The federation’s competition committee judge ruled that the player was “ineligible, … so the match is resolved in favor of Cadiz.”
He also slapped Real Madrid with a fine of €6,001 ($6,520).
Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez said Thursday that the club “is not at fault” and would not be disqualified from the competition because Cheryshev had “not been personally notified” that he was suspended.
Pérez also argued that according to the club’s interpretation of the competition’s by-laws, previous bookings are voided at the start of the round of 32.
The head of the Spanish league, Javier Tebas, earlier on Friday said he felt the possible disqualification of Real Madrid over the affair “seemed a bit disproportionate.”
Last season Spanish football saw second division Osasuna booted out of the cup in an almost identical case. And in 2001, current Real Madrid coach Rafael Benítez was in charge of Valencia when that team was thrown out of the same competition for fielding four non-EU players when only three were permitted.