Alba: Real Madrid downplaying Copa del Rey because they were knocked out

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The Barcelona defender believes the cup competition is only declared as unimportant by players and teams who are prematurely dumped out of it

Jordi Alba has suggested that Real Madrid are downplaying the importance of Copa del Rey because they have been knocked out of the competition prematurely.

Barca saw off Real Sociedad to reach the semi-finals of the competition this week but their rivals suffered a surprising defeat to Celta Vigo over two legs.

Barca draw Atleti in Copa del Rey

With both clubs now placing a huge emphasis on winning the Champions League as well as La Liga, the Copa has become less of a priority in recent years.

Celta Real Madrid Copa del Rey

Zinedine Zidane Celta Real Madrid Copa del Rey

Alba argued, however, that the competition is only be looked down upon at the Santiago Bernabeu because of their lack of success in it of late.

Barca have won the trophy three times in the last five years to Madrid's one, with the current European champions disqualified last season for fielding an ineligible player.

"Sometimes a team loses a Copa tie and suddenly the competition is downplayed," Alba said after the win over Real Sociedad.

"It's not a good excuse to say that the Copa has no merit. As a Cule, I always want Real Madrid to lose."

Alba identified Madrid's conquerors Celta as his preferred opponent in the semi-finals before Barca were handed a crunch tie against Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid.

"Luis Enrique was Celta coach, it's normal if you ask me about that," he said. "I would have liked Valencia."

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Barca currently sit third in La Liga and return to top-flight action at lunchtime on Sunday when they take on Real Betis away from home.

Madrid, meanwhile, are top of the table with a game in hand, leading Sevilla by a point and the Catalans by two, and face Real Sociedad on Sunday evening.