Hércules CF: Looking to muscle up to FC Barcelona one more time
The side from Division 2B Group III would appear to be easy pickings in the opening Copa del Rey match, but older fans know that the side from Alicante are not to be taken lightly
FC Barcelona’s bid to retain the Copa del Rey begins this Wednesday night with the first leg of their Round of 16 tie (10.00pm CET). There are two divisions between the Catalans and their hosts, but there’s a surprising amount of history that works in favour of Hércules. Let’s take a closer look at los blanquiazules:
Hércules hail from the coastal city of Alicante, which lies about 80km south of Valencia. Founded in 1922, the football club borrowed the name of the Roman god Zeus’ tough, adventuring son.
The club's best ever cup run came in the final edition before the Spanish Civil War. They went all the way to the semi-finals, where they were soundly beaten 8-2 on aggregate by Madrid.
Barça have met Hércules twice in the cup before progressing both times (1955/56 and 1995/96).
They play at the Estadio José Rico Pérez, which was inaugurated in 1974 with a friendly against none other than FC Barcelona. The Catalans won that game 4-0, which was also Johan Neeskens' first game for the club after signing from Ajax Amsterdam.