Times may be tough right now, but neither Brexit nor the grips of a global pandemic could stop the magic of the cup competition from coming back to life – after little-known Union Esportiva Cornella surprised in Spain .
Atletico Madrid may have seen a resurgence at the top of the La Liga table, but they became the last elite team to fall victim to a calamitous exit from the Cup after being knocked down 1-0 by the third level training of the Copa del Rey.
Weirdly, the same thing happened to Atleti last season – when another third tier team, Cultural Leonesa, sidelined them from the same competition in the round of 16. But we’re not here to talk about Diego’s hint. Simeone leaving the capital, no-no; we intend to dig a little deeper into who Cornella really is.
So sit back and grab your reading glasses like 90 mins makes you discover the key elements to know about them.
When Jordi Alba was released for being too short by Barcelona’s La Masia academy at the age of 16, he was arrested by Cornella.
Some experience in a youth team and a growth spurt later he was in their first team at 18 and was then sold to Valencia for € 6,000 in 2007.
He has since returned to Barcelona and operated as the world’s best left-back with an obscene trophy cabinet, much to the delight of neighboring La Blaugrana side.
Literally Cornella are Catalonia’s third big team but often goes under the radar due to their lack of status compared to Barcelona and Espanyol.
However, they’re not that far from their world-famous neighbors, at least in geographic terms. It’s a 20-minute drive from Camp Nou to the ultramodern 1,500-seat Camp Municipal de Cornella.
For those who have never heard of Cornella before – understandably – their shock win over Atletico may seem like the first time they’ve enjoyed such heights.
The semi-professional team have actually entered the competition four times in total, with their best run coming in the 2014/15 season – their first time in the tournament. Reaching the round of 16, they were drawn against Real Madrid and beaten 9-1 in two sets.
See that piece of scaffolding on top of Cornella’s only support? Yeah, that’s another stadium. RCD Espanyol stadium, to be exact.
Cornella Municipal Camp literally is next to the RCDE stadium with a capacity of 40,000 seats of the Segunda division. By “next to” we mean it’s basically in the parking lot.
If Cornella got a promotion it would make an interesting derby.
Yes, you read that one correctly.
In October 2017, it emerged that the Birmingham Championship team had partnered with Cornella. The Catalan squad’s ‘core’ model for training players and developing talent is what would have impressed the club, which ultimately resulted in a Manchester City / Girona collaboration.
Spain midfielder Agus Medina signed for Birmingham in the summer of 2019 but has since returned to Cornella on loan and assisted the winner against Atleti.