Lionel Messi Climbs In All-Time Copa Del Rey Ranking, FC Barcelona To

Bartomeu confirmó en exclusiva para Sport la continuidad de Valverde

If the RFEF ruled against Barca, who deny breaking any rules, they would be thrown out of the Copa, which they have won for the last four years, with Levante given a bye.

Holders Barcelona have been handed a tough Copa del Rey last-eight draw, with last season's beaten finalists Sevilla their next opponents.

Barcelona faced a nervous wait to see whether they would be permitted to be in the draw on Friday as a result of the Chumi eligibility case, yet they were deemed to have broken no rules by the competition's lone judge.

Levante claim Barcelona defender Juan Brandariz "Chumi" played illegally in the first leg as he should have been serving a suspension.

Whilst Levante have made clear they will appeal to the RFEF Appeals Committee, the Blaugrana have drawn Sevilla in the quarter-final, with the first leg set to be played between January 22 and 24.

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Barca are convinced Chumi was eligible, with Valverde suggesting the defender's suspension was active for Sunday's win over Eibar, while the club understand a rule change in November allows a reserve player to feature for the first team in another competition as long as the suspension is less than a two-match ban.

"We have no doubts, not before, not during and not now".

"We prefer to win on the field, but the regulations exist and everyone needs to follow them", Levante coach Paco Lopez said.

Levante may feel precedent is on their side after Real Madrid were disqualified from the Copa del Rey in 2015 for fielding Denis Cheryshev, despite the player being suspended. Barca play Lyon in the Champions League last 16 next month. Coutinho found Messi on the break and he slipped free the sprinting Dembele, who ran round Aitor Fernandez and scuffed the ball home off the goalkeeper's outstretched leg. A chipped finish was all it needed.

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