REAL MADRID play Melilla in the second leg of their Copa del Rey tie this Thursday – but fans will have to adjust to a rather bizarre kick-off time.
The European Champions will face the Spanish third tier minnows at 4.15pm on the weekday afternoon (3.15pm UK time).
AFP or licensors2 Real Madrid face a bizarre kick-off time for their Copa del Rey match on Thursday
As in the UK, weekday matches in Spain are almost exclusively played in the evening – but there’s a perfectly logical reason for this match beginning at such an odd time.
Thursday 6 December is Constitution Day, a national holiday in Spain – meaning most Madrid fans will be off work.
The date marks the 40th anniversary of the referendum approval of Spain's new constitution, which was passed in 1978.
This was an important step on the country’s transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco three years earlier.
LATEST FOOTBALL NEWSMourinh-oh dear Man United’s makeshift defence for Arsenal makes for horrendous viewing PicturedBus-ted Arsenal arrive at hotel ahead of United clash after 50-minute traffic jam TV TIMES When is Manchester United vs Arsenal and can I watch it on TV? Exclusivefor sale Marcus Evans to flog Ipswich for £35m but he is not ready to write off £100m debt GOT RID Arsenal flogged Sanchez to Man Utd due of burnout… now Mata's 'out-sprinting him' MASSIVE CLASH FOR FREE How to watch Manchester United vs Arsenal without paying a penny Pictured'like the 80s' Stoke fans rip out seats & hurl bottles at cops as U21s face rival Port Vale MARCHING ON When is Tottenham vs Southampton and can I watch it on TV?
This year, it’ll be a big day for football fans too as no less than five Copa del Rey matches will be shown on Spanish TV.
Real are likely to rest several of their star players against Melilla, their place in the last 16 of the competition all but secure having comfortably won the first leg of the tie 4-0.
Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Thibaut Courtois and Sergio Ramos are among those likely to be rested, with Keylor Navas, Vinicius Junior, Isco and Marco Asensio expected to start.
AFP or licensors2 Marco Asensio scored one of four first-leg goals for Real Madrid against UD Melilla
Their opponents – who are based in the autonomous Spanish city located on the north coast of Africa, bordering Morocco – had to take a ferry to the mainland on Tuesday evening, then a bus to Malaga in order to fly to Madrid.
This didn’t phase the players of the Segunda B side, who currently top one of the four groups in the Spanish third tier by some five points.
Skipper Dani Barrio summed up the mood of his team mates, saying: “This game in Madrid is for everyone to enjoy, it's a reward for the team.”