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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

La UNDÉCIMA ya está aquí!

So the Champions League final was just over a week ago, and this post has taken so long to write for 2 reasons:

1. There has been so much to write about from that night
2. I may still be a little hungover from the celebrations afterwards 

Now I said I was probably going to end up watching the game at a bar, but I ended up at the second best place after the San Siro itself...the Bernabéu. The stadium broadcasts the final on huge screens in the middle of the pitch, and despite it seeming sold out we managed to get a ticket the day before the final. We arrived at the stadium a few hours before kick off at the atmosphere was absolutely electric, no better way to spend the build up than drinking beer amongst that. One stall was selling buckets, I mean BUCKETS of beer for only 6 euros. I looked like a borrower trying to drink it with two hands.


About 20 minutes before kick off we decided to get our seats, and made friends with the Real Madrid fans next to us. The experience was surreal, watching the game on a huge screen but actually being in the stadium surrounded by thousands of fans.




I'm sure you know exactly what happened after kick off, so I won't bore you with that but after Atlético equalised the tension in the stadium was crazy. When the FT whistle blew I had a feeling it was going to go to penalties, I told that to the Real Madrid fan next to me and he looked like he was about to throw up. Finally after another 30 minutes, it was going to penalties and I have never heard the Bernabéu so silent. As Juanfran stepped up to take Atlético's fourth penalty the screen froze for about 20 seconds and you could literally hear a pin drop, When the screen finally came back on, it was just after he missed and the entire stadium erupted as Ronaldo stepped up for his penalty...and you all know what happened next. The celebrations at the Bernabéu were incredible, confetti, streamers and a rendition of 'We are the Champions'. Also, I'm pretty sure someone blew a lung out through their vuvuzela but you only win your 11th Champions League once!








Afterwards whilst walking down the main road next to the stadium cars drove past slowing down and celebrating with all the fans, it was so surreal and the atmosphere in the city was amazing (well one half of the city anyway). We made our way to Cibeles to continue the celebrations and that's pretty much all I can blog/remember. As a lifelong football fan with a soft spot for Real Madrid it was a night I'll never forget.


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 more...football 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 Evertonian...you 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