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Friday, 27 May 2016

Finally - Vicente Caldeón!

A few months ago I finally got to visit the Vicente Calderón - home of Atlético Madrid. Having practically lived at the Bernabeú this was a completely new experience, and the first thing you notice is the difference in size. The Calderón has a capactiy of 54,907 and a orientated atmosphere surrounding it. The Bernabeú draws lots of people who are not necessarily football fans but are at the stadium because they read it on time out's 'top 10 things to do in Madrid' list, whereas the Calderón has a lot more people who are there because they are die hard fans. There is nothing wrong with the former or latter, it's just something I noticed  visiting both stadiums.

I managed to get 2 tickets for the price of one so it worked out at 20 euros per ticket, another example of how much cheaper it is to watch league football in Spain. The stadium overlooks the Manzanares river, and is in the south of the capital. There wasn't much time to explore as we arrived before kick off and went to the supporters bar in the stadium. It was a pretty cool bar, filled with Atlético memorabilia and plasmas replaying old games.

The fixture was Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad with Atlético winning 3-0, with an own goal from Reyes, Saúl and finally a Griezmann penalty. This victory was their 3rd win in their last 4 home games but despite a great campaign Atlético finished 3 points behind La Liga winners Barcelona and 2 points behind derby rivals Real Madrid.

I was unable to do the tour of the stadium, but at 10 euros it's cheaper than the Bernabeú and Camp Nou so I may have to try and do that within the next month!

Happy Belated New Year!

So I am finally back with my first post of 2016!! (in May I know but I've been so busy!). This is the perfect time to blog though, with the Euros and Champions League final coming up! The atmosphere in Madrid is amazing at the moment with city split between Real and Atlético!

The main square, Puerta del Sol, currently has both team flags hanging up in anticipation for the final!

Photo taken by me 5 minutes ago!

There's so many options for watching the final on Saturday I really am spoilt for choice, although I am leaning towards a terrace with a massive outdoor projector or at the Bernabéu where they are showing the game on the big screen, if I can get a ticket! Either way  I'll be sure to blog the night and subsequent celebrations (more on that in the next post!).

Next on the agenda is the Euros! Kicking off with France v Romania on the 10th June and culminating with the final on the 10th July, this is the first time I've spent a tournament outside of the UK so it'll be interesting to experience this one in Spain. Can't wait to blog through it, had so much fun writing about the last World Cup!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

La Liga: team of the week!

Interesting photo showing the team of the week from the weekend's La Liga fixtures. Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Celta Vigo and Barcelona all got 2 players into the team, with Sergi Roberto (who featured in our Top 5 Young'uns to watch out for blog post 2 years ago) making the cut! Roberto managed an assist, whilst teammate Neymar had the highest score this week after his performance and goal in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Getafe. After watching the Real Madrid game at the weekend, it's pretty clear to me why Marcelo cemented his place among the top this week. Positioned at left back, he was defensively and offensively fantastic - so much so that the man sat next to me had to whip out his phone and text a friend "Marcelo is the best left back in the world" I don't necessarily agree with that, but he's definately up there. Another interesting player to make it into the team is Iago Aspas, who failed to impress at Liverpool last season. The 28 year old has scored 6 in 10 for current club Celta Vigo. With this team of the week in mind here's a look at how things currently stand:

Who's your favourite player from this team of the week?

Monday, 2 November 2015

Back to the Bernabéu!

Real Madrid took on Las Palmas at the Bernabéu this weekend, and I was *finally* in attendance. I bought my ticket last Monday, and was given two ticket options - Print it off or download it to the Passbook app on my iphone. Now my iphone is shattered into a thousand pieces and is literally clinging on for dear life..but I think I might be banned from the printing room at uni (wasn't my fault) so I opted for the former.

Saturday morning arrives...along with an unplanned hangover. I decided to use this unusual predicament to investigate whether a live football match can cure a hangover... It can't. I did however feel a lot happier after watching Real beat Las Palmas 3-1. 

So back to the beginning, I climb about 3000 stairs and reach my seat with 5 minutes to kick off and the row is completely empty. I stretch out thinking I've hit the jackpot, until about 10 minutes after kick off a man and woman arrive. She proceeds to take 32 selfies before actually acknowledging the fact Ronaldo has just scored. Obviously watching the likes of Toni Kroos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo play football isn't nearly interesting enough when someone has posted another picture of a minion with a totally unrelated quote. No less than 30 minutes into the game a group of friends arrive with the demeanour of someone taking a leisurely stroll through the park..before realising there is a game of live football happening directly in front of them and taking the rest of the seats to my left.  The rest of the stadium is booming, my seat was in Lateral Oeste which is more for tourists than die hard Madridistas, the view however was amazing.

The game itself was great, with all the goals coming in the action packed first half before things slowed down in the second. Real took the lead inside 4 minutes with a goal from Isco, a few minutes later Ronaldo headed home his eighth La Liga goal of the season bringing it to 2-0. Las Palmas managed to pull one back through Santana Trujillo, before Jese scored to restore Madrid's 2 goal lead. The scoreline stayed the same until the final whistle, despite Ronaldo almost adding to his tally in the closing minutes. This victory allowed Real Madrid to remain at the top of the table ahead of Barcelona...both teams remain on the same points but Madrid have the better goal difference.

I am so tempted to book tickets for the PSG game tomorrow night...95 euros is justified right?! It's for blog research purposes!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Back in Business!

So after an unplanned hiatus, I am back! and there's been a few changes since the last post!!
I now live in Madrid, one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one with football running through it's core. Football is a way of life here, with most of the city fiercely divided between Real and Atlético Madrid. Living here means I also have super easy access to all things La Liga, so I will be able to keep you updated with everything happening here direct from source. I'll also be posting the usual array of posts regarding football in general!

One of the few things I miss from England (and I mean few) is the MOTD theme tune warming my eardrums on a Saturday night...I am constantly online checking the latest news from the English league but somehow it's not the same without Gary Lineker's dulcet tones (inset obligatory joke about shitting yourself). Don't get me wrong most Spanish people are aware of the English league, but they probably don't know who scored West Brom's first goal on Saturday at 3pm...

Secondly during the break, the blog reached 10,000 views! which is so incredible that it has reached so many readers from all around the world. Honestly the best, most humbling feeling ever. Thanks to anyone who has read the blog! (or even accidentaly clicked! your sausage fingers could have earnt me about 1p in advertising)

*Also, just like to mention a certain Leeds fan I met outside a club last weekend who told me there was absolutely no chance in a million years Klopp would ever manage Liverpool, I have something I'd like to say to you...hahahahahahahahahahhaha...HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Famous Football Fans

Nothing quite defines your opinion of a celebrity like the knowledge that they're rooting for the same team as you! So read on carefully, your favourite film could be a little less favorable if it's main star is a rival fan.

Tom Hanks - Aston Villa

Yes, you read that right, Forrest Gump was actually heading to Villa Park when he started running. Seriously, Tom Hanks is a big fan of the midlands team, stating that he "Relishes their victories". He began supporting them after seeing their name whilst on a trip to the UK and thinking it sounded like a 'lovely place'. If you're still finding it hard to believe, watch the hollywood legend in this teaser clip for AVTV.

  Jay Z - Arsenal


Jay Z began following Arsenal after Arsene Wenger lent him that infamous coat for a music video*...only messing, he's mates with Thierry Henry. He reportedly wants to invest some of his $520 million fortune in the club. He's no stranger to the Emirates either, he watched the Gunners draw 1-1 with Man United there in 2013.


Lana Del Rey - Liverpool


Lana Del Rey began following Liverpool thanks to her manager whose mood is dependent on the results (don't we all know that feeling!). She turned up with him in tow for the reds 3-2 victory over Spurs in 2013, stating "I’ve not had the chance to attend a game before but I’ve watched Liverpool on TV before. It’s great to actually come to Anfield"

Matt Damon - Everton

Matt Damon ran into the Everton team whilst staying in the same hotel, and was given a signed shirt before taking photos with the squad. He also pledged his alliegance to the toffees in an interview by a fellow can watch that here. It's worth mentioning the fact he attended a Chelsea/Arsenal game at Stamford Bridge...maybe he just supports anyone wearing blue.

Justin Timberlake - Man United

Justin became a fan thanks to his friendship with Alan Smith who played for United from 2004-2007.  The unlikely pair met at the Lowry hotel and struck up a friendship, with Justin confirming “I’m a Red! I’m mates with Smithy so he’s my favourite player but Ronaldo doesn’t suck either, he’s awesome. I really like Rooney too."

Snoop Dogg - Everyone

This fella says he smokes 80 joints a day...I think that's all we need to say to explain this one.

*this is definitely a joke

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Who Nou?

Almost two years ago I visited one of the most famous stadiums in the footballing world, the Santiago Bernabéu, home of Real Madrid.

This week I returned to Spain, but this time ventured into the home of their Catalan rivals: Camp Nou. The largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 98,787, it stands in the centre of Barcelona along with it's museum and 3 storey merchandise store. You can tour the legendary stadium for 23 euros, and like the Santiago Bernabéu, it does not have a guide - you are free to take as much time as you like browsing the various sections open to the public (and believe me, it's gonna take time!) 

The tour follows a chronological pattern leading you from the inception of Barça in 1899 through their illustrious career, in both La Liga and Europe. The museum features tri-lingual plaques filled with information about the club and important moments throughout their history - for example the signing of Diego Maradona in 1982. 

Once you've finished looking at the endless rows of trophies and vintage kits, you step out into the stadium itself. No matter who you support or where you come from, you cannot help but feel awestruck as the infamous 'més que un club' comes into view. 

Stadiums this big make the average premier league 45,000 seaters feel like a cosy meeting in the pub, some seats are so high up it makes you wonder whether they provide a complimentary telescope with every match ticket in order to watch the game...

Once you've finished marvelling at the pitch, it's back inside to the dressing rooms. Initially they are quite plain (unlike the personalised dressing rooms at the Bernabéu) that is until you reach the massive hot tub in the middle of the room...

Where Carles Puyol washed his hair for 15 years

The tour continues by giving you the chance to have a photo taken of you and your favourite player! (With the help of green screen of course) After this you can go through onto the touchline, and from this angle the place looks even bigger! The next part of the tour takes place at the top of the stadium, so prepare for some serious stairs. They can pay £65 million for Luis Suárez, but don't expect them to shell out for a lift. You may think this is an overexaggeration, but the woman next to me had to stop climbing the stairs because she couldn't breathe (to be fair, she was trying to climb them like Usain Bolt).

Once at the summit, you can admire the view of Barcelona from Camp Nou. The landscape of Barcelona is beautiful and takes your breath away (if you haven't already lost it climbing the stairs). The tour concludes with a 3D experience of the club, where you can use to headphones to listen to the typical atmosphere at the Nou Camp during a game and view clips of their finest moments. After this you are directed, as always, back to the shop to spend 15 quid on a pencil. I saved this money and spent it in one of the small bars close to the stadium (£1.20 for a beer!).

The 23 euros was well worth paying however, in order to experience one of the most famous stadiums in football. I'd love to go back to watch a match and experience the atmosphere first hand. A must for any football fan.