Sunday, April 18, 2010

18 April 1905 - Madrid Starts A Cup Collection

On 18 April 1905, Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 in the Copa de Su Majestad El Rey Alfonso XIII (His Majesty King Alfonso XIII's Cup). Now known simply as the Copa del Rey, the win gave Real their first national title.

The competition originated in 1902 as an invitational tournament called the Copa del Ayuntamiento de Madrid (Madrid City Council's Cup) to honor the coming-of-age of King Alfonso XIII. Five teams participated that year, including Real Madrid (known at that time simply as Madrid FC) and FC Barcelona, who met each other for the first time in a semifinal match on 14 May with the Catalan side recording a 3-1 win.

Only three teams contested the 1905 edition - Madrid, San Sebastian RC, and Athletic Bilbao. The tournament used a table format, with each team scheduled to play one match each against the other two. Wins earned two points, while draws earned one and the team at the top of the table at the finish took the trophy.

Madrid opened the tournament on 16 April with a 3-0 win over San Sebastian, then faced Bilbao two days later. It was a close contest, refereed by one of San Sebastian's players, but Madrid claimed their second win thanks to Manuel Prast (pictured, front row, second from left), who scored the match's only goal. The win secured Madrid's place at the top of the table with four points, while San Sebastian later defeated Bilbao to finish in second.

Madrid went on to win the tournament each of the next three years and has since amassed a total 17 Copa del Rey titles. Their last one came in 1993, however, and they have since struggled in the competition. For the past two seasons, they were eliminated by lower division sides Real Unión (in 2008) and Alcorcón (in 2009).

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