|Tuesday, 29 September 2015 13:05|
In Love with Spanish Football
Spain is football mad, and it appears that the rest of the world is mad over Spanish football too. Visit Spain and you can feel the passion: football (or soccer) is the nation’s most popular sport. Grown men showing their ‘keepy-uppy’ skills on the beach, kids playing in the street, bars crowded with fans watching it on TV…it seems to be everywhere.
So what is this fascination with Spanish football? The answer could be in just two words: Madrid and Barcelona. (Or should that be Messi and Ronaldo – but more of that later!)
‘ElClásico’ (the famous match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona) is watched avidly world wide simply because of the sheer passion and quality of the football.
Barcelona have created a wonderful style of possession football called tika-taka. Here the players keep possession for much of the game making it difficult for the opposition to get the ball. The players move the ball to each other with short, quick passes. By the time the other team has come to terms with this amazing style of play, one of the Barcelona players has delivered the ‘killer pass’ which leads to a goal. And that goal is more often than not scored by no other than Lionel Messi, currently regarded as the world’s best footballer.
However, many people would dispute this because his rival at Real Madrid, one Cristiano Ronaldo, can equally lay claim to be the best player on the planet. Tall, fantastically athletic and with an appearance of having the ball permanently stuck to his feet, Ronaldo is a joy to watch. The rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona is probably the fiercest in the whole world. And it’s about more than just football. Barcelona represent Catalunya which has always regarded itself as being ‘separate’ from the rest of Spain.
Real Madrid meanwhile, have a seemingly endless pot of money to be able to buy the best players in the world. (Welshman Gareth Bale was transferred to Madrid a couple of years ago for no less than €91 million [£78 million]). But there’s more. The silky skills of Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta and the pinpoint passes of Xavi have football fans drooling all over the world. David de Gea (who very recently was nearly signed by Real Madrid) is the Spanish goalkeeper who is set to steal the crown of Iker Casillas.
And then there’s Luis Suarez. The current Barcelona maestro has a reputation for being a bit of a ‘naughty boy’ but, when on top of his game, he is completely unplayable.
Football is really all about goals. And with an average of 2.77 goals per game in La Liga, it’s no wonder the Spanish game is so popular.
So popular in fact, that people from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Spain purely to visit the FC Barcelona Football Museum at the Neu Camp, or the Real Madrid Trophy Room at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Now that’s real passion!
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