Real Madrid head coach Rafael Benitez claims he was completely unaware of Denis Cheryshev’s reported ineligibility against Cadiz until he substituted the Russian early in the second half of the 3-1 Copa del Rey win.
Cheryshev scored three minutes into the first leg of the last-32 tie, but was substituted amid confusion almost immediately after the second half kicked off as it emerged he should not have been playing in the game.
The midfielder picked up three yellow cards on loan at Villarreal in last season’s competition and has yet to serve the ban.
Cadiz have confirmed they will be submitting a complaint over Cheryshev’s inclusion, with Madrid’s future in the competition now in jeopardy.
But Benitez insists Madrid were unaware about the player’s suspension and only found out something was wrong at half-time.
“The club had no idea that Cheryshev was ineligible to play,” he said. “The [Royal Spanish Football] Federation did not communicate and Villarreal did not either.
“Nothing was known and when we heard, we substituted him. We found out at half-time and replaced him to show good faith.
“Apart from that I can only speak of what I have seen in the field. The rest is not for me.”