La Liga Daily – Copa del Rey last 16 throws up some Christmas crackers

The draw for the last 16 of the Copa del Rey has ensured the big two of Real Madrid and Barcelona can’t meet each other until the final, but there are still some mouth-watering ties on offer before the Christmas break. The first legs will be played on Tuesday December 21 and Wednesday December 22, with the return fixtures pencilled in for January 4 next year.

Real Madrid have been drawn against Levante while the two most decorated teams in the competition’s history – Barcelona (25 wins) and Athletic Bilbao (23) – came out of the hat together in what is without doubt the tie of the round. The clubs last met in the 2009 final when Barcelona won 4-1 in the Mestalla, Valencia, with goals from Yaya Toure, Messi, Bojan and Xavi.

There are also a couple of local derbies to get passions racing. Villarreal have been matched with great rivals Valencia in what is sure to a highly-charged affair, and with the La Liga title probably destined to go to either Real or Barca this could be the best chance either side has of claiming any domestic silverware this season. In southern Spain there is also the small matter of an Andalucian ‘derby’ to be taken care of as Manuel Pellegrini’s M

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