Real Madrid have seen their second appeal against expulsion from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player rejected by the Administrative Tribunal for Sport (TAD).
Madrid were kicked out of the competition for playing Denis Cheryshev in the first leg of their round-of-32 tie with Cadiz. The Russian – who picked up three bookings in last season’s competition while on loan at Villarreal – started and scored in a 3-1 win for Rafael Benitez’s side.
Cadiz complained and Madrid subsequently saw an appeal against their disqualification turned down by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Thursday.
And the TAD has concurred with the RFEF’s ruling, meaning Madrid will not have the opportunity to regain the trophy they last won in 2014.
Having run out of options in the sport’s legal framework, Madrid’s only remaining avenue is to take the case to the civil legal system.
The latest development in the saga will do little to ease the pressure on coach Rafael Benitez, whose future has been the subject of much scrutiny amid a below-par campaign to date, with last month’s 4-0 loss to rivals Barcelona a particular cause for concern.
Madrid, who have responded to that Clasico reverse by scoring 21 goals in a run of five consecutive victories, are four points adrift of La Liga leaders Barca and face Cheryshev’s former loan club Villarreal at El Madrigal on Sunday.