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we’re really getting into soccer, er, futbol*

6 May 2008

Last night Real Madrid won their 31st league championship. We didn’t even realize they were playing until we heard a lot of yelling and honking coming from the street. Our roommate poked her head outside her door and asked if Real Madrid had won. Of course, we stared blankly back at her with no answer. After a short time listening to the shouts from the streets, we figured that they must have won, so we decided to head down to Cibeles (a main intersection / roundabout / plaza near the Prado where fans congregate following a Real Madrid victory). We walked the short distance to Paseo del Prado, which had been shut down to traffic in anticipation of the large crowds of people walking to Cibeles, and made our way up to the plaza. For anyone who hasn’t been to Madrid, Paseo del Prado is a MAJOR THOROUGHFARE in a large city. And they SHUT IT DOWN for a soccer game. MC said to me as we were leaving the apartment, “I want to see some burning couches and overturned cars, or I won’t be convinced that these soccer fans really know how to riot.” Although we didn’t see anything burning or even any cars in the vicinity, let alone overturned cars, we decided that completely shutting down a major road and plaza is a pretty good start to celebrating a victory.

When we got to the plaza, it was already pretty full, and more and more people kept coming. According to the Real Madrid website today, almost 200,000 people packed into the area. The city had set up a big “stage” for the players and there was a dj playing pop music and also what seemed to be the “hang on sloopy” of Real Madrid. We danced a little with the madrileños, but it was a little difficult to sing along since we weren’t sure what the words were. In fact, we spent our entire time in the plaza trying not to make it too obvious that not only did we not even know that Real Madrid was playing, we also know nothing about soccer and we didn’t even really understand what exactly Real Madrid had won. (After hearing “campeones! campeones!” and “treinta y uno! treinta y uno!” over and over again, we finally figured it out.)

We arrived at Cibeles around 11:30pm, and at 1:30am, when the team had still not appeared, we decided to head home. I was hoping to get some pictures of the team for my madrileño brother, but alas, I had no staying power. And, after reading the Real Madrid website this morning, I’m glad that we left when we did. Apparently, the game wasn’t even in Madrid, and the team didn’t return to their own stadium until 2:30am, where they were seen exiting the team bus and entering the locker room with bottles of champagne. Which means that they couldn’t have gotten to Cibeles until around four in the morning. Which means that a plaza full of 200,000 people waited at least three hours for the team to show up. Now that’s dedication. I’m still not convinced that soccer is a better sport than football (americano, that is), but I am pretty impressed by the fans.

* or maybe the idea of soccer


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter permalink
    6 May 2008 9:43 am

    I saw footage of the celebration on Sportscenter. Looked crazy.

    There’s no good way to decide which sport is better, American Football or Football/Futbol/Soccer. Totally different sports. However, the ability to have global repercussions gives Soccer the edge as far as insane fans go. Take your classic UM-OSU hatefest. Now put UM not just in another state, but in another country that you may or may not have been at war with in your past. Good times.

    And don’t worry, I play/love soccer and had no idea the La Liga championship was being played.

  2. mme. hoolaha permalink
    6 May 2008 10:15 am

    I knew La Liga was being played.

    (just kidding)

  3. Countess of Cava permalink
    6 May 2008 7:18 pm

    I cannot believe that Spirit of ’73 has not commented on this one. Could it be that he is way too nervous and distracted by the immenent birth of baby number two?

  4. Spirit of 73 permalink
    6 May 2008 8:54 pm

    I’ll have you know, Countess, that I watched that game on TV. Live. So did Brucie, and he cheered for Real Madrid’s two goals.

    Since you missed a wonderful game, I’ll give you the low-down: Osasuna scored on a PK with about six minutes to go, giving them a 1-0 lead. Since Cannavaro had been sent off with a red card fifteen seconds into the second half, they had a one goal and a one man advantage.

    Did that bother los merengues? Of course not. We merely scored two goals in the final five minutes to take the game 2-1 and La Liga.

    Now, cuptastic and MC, the Madrid/Barça game is Wednesday. DON’T MISS IT FOR ANY REASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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