Augusto Fernandez & Denis Cheryshev
Denis Cheryshev (right) gave Real Madrid an early lead against Cadiz on 2 DecemberReuters

Real Madrid could be thrown out of the Copa del Rey if Spanish football's governing body finds the club breached rules over the selection of winger Denis Cheryshev. The 24-year-old player started and scored in Real's 3-1 win over Cadiz in the Spanish Cup on 2 December but Madrid-based daily Marca says the Russia international should have been suspended for the match after picking up three yellow cards in the competition last season.

Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) rules state that a club can be thrown out of the competition if it fields an ineligible player. Cadiz president Manolo Vizcaino confirmed that his club will make a formal complaint to the governing body.

If Real are found guilty, the RFEF is likely to overturn the result of the match and award the tie to Cadiz. In September, Osasuna were expelled from the Copa del Rey for fielding defender Unai Garcia — despite him being suspended for the game after a sending off in the 2014/15 competition — against Mirandes.

'Not informed of ban'

Cheryshev was on loan at Villarreal last season and his suspension was triggered by a yellow card he picked up in the second leg of last season's cup semi-final against Barcelona. The Russian gave Madrid the lead at the Estadio Ramon de Carranza in the third minute before being bizarrely substituted 45 seconds into the second half.

Real boss Rafael Benitez said he was unaware of the ban on the winger.

Denis Cheryshev & Rafael Benitez
Cheryshev was taken off by Real boss Rafael Benitez a few seconds into the second halfReuters

"Of course the club knew nothing. We were not informed by either Villarreal or the Royal Spanish Football Federation and when we were notified, we took him off to show good faith," Benitez told Real's official website.

Madrid director Emilio Butragueno also insisted that neither the player nor the club was notified about the suspension. "I spoke to the federation (RFEF) tonight and we will see what happens over the coming hours," he said.

"We can say little more [other than] tell the truth about what happened, be cautious and careful."

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique appeared to poke fun at Real's predicament on Twitter