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Without Real Madrid, There Would Be Nothing.

21 May 2008

We’re taking a slight pause in the Tall, White Americans saga to relay this important message about Real Madrid, Madrid’s regal soccer team, as we are experiencing writers block on the TWA story and after viewing some pix we took, realized that the following story needed to get out.

Despite our best (and believe me, they were our supreme) efforts, we finally succumbed recently and went to Santiago Bernabéu stadium, home of Real Madrid, to both visit the stadium and later, to see a game. We don’t know if you’re aware, but apparently Real Madrid is the greatest team in the world at every sport, and basking in its glory and achievement is the sole reason this world and all its inhabitants exist. And possibly God, for that matter.

And that’s not hyperbole on my part; it’s more-or-less a direct quote from the numerous information panels within the Real Madrid Museum and Hall of Self-Gratifying Glory. A couple choice quotes:

“Real Madrid is the best team in the 20th Century, which is like saying that it’s the best club of all time: the best club in the history of soccer.”

“The European Cup would be meaningless without Real Madrid.”

Now, being rabid Ohio State football (the only football that matters, etymology be damned) fans (go to hell, SEC, you bunch of over-hyped weenies), we understand the tendency to over-inflate your team’s self-worth and impact on the game (thought it’s hard to beat 7 Heismans and 7 National Championships). This sense of self-awareness, however, seems to have bypassed Real Madrid. Nowhere in any part of the tour nor the game was there any sense that they could lose, have lost, or ever will lose, or that they themselves are not the reason for God’s existence. It was ridiculous.


The stadium, in a word, was cute. With a capacity of 80,500, it was so cute, in fact, that it prompted me to ask our tour guide “es para practicar?” and another friend to inquire “donde esta el estadio para los hombres?”. For being the team that invented God, it was a little underwhelming. The press room and visitors locker room, both stops on the tour, paled in comparison to the facilities of most NCAA women’s fencing programs, while the overall stadium was decorated in orange and blue, neither of which is found anywhere in the Real Madrid brand ethos (their colors are white, gold and purple). Makes one question where all the money goes.

Oh, that’s right, it goes to the overpaid players. Basically, Real Madrid is the New York Yankees of European soccer, which means they can pretty much buy anyone they want to virtually ensure that they at least get to the finals in any league in which they play. And when you consider that a large portion of the players aren’t even Spanish, it undermines their nationalistic claims all the more (not that US football teams are all Americans; there’s a Samoan and maybe Canadian or two in there, we know). Whatever is left over goes to provide the La-Z-Boy-like armchairs in which the teams sit on the sidelines. While lounging in them at one stop of the tour, another buddy leaned over and asked “why don’t our professional athletes have such comfortable equipment?”. It’s because our professional athletes are men. With the exception of pro basketballers. They’re princesses.

Alright, enough bashing. Every team has the right and board-mandated obligation to win games and turn a profit. So be it. Doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at them.

The game itself—which by coincidence was the last game of the Spanish La Liga season—was fairly interesting and passionate (at least on the part of the fans). Real Madrid played some podunk team and completely thrashed them, which didn’t matter anyway because they had already locked up the title a few weeks ago. The post-game festivities and presentation of the trophy was as ostentatious as the team that invented God would demand: music; a procession around the stadium accompanied by confetti cannons at each section; an hour-long multimedia presentation and summary of the season; and probably more, though I can’t say for sure because by that point it was getting on midnight and we’d been up for 2 days and were exhausted, so we left. Overall, it was akin to a Superbowl Championship presentation, for which I have equal disdain.

We (and by “we” I mean Al) did do our part to support the Team that Invented the Universe by purchasing 2 €45 nosebleed tickets (I will point out, however, that we were able to acquire these tickets a few hours before the game, at the ticket office, without a line, a fact that would never stand at an Ohio State game, regardless of the opponent; a truly disheartening anecdote that calls into question the true level of devotion of Real Madrid’s fanbase), a Champions scarf and replica game jersey (both for our nephew, who is, with out a doubt, being indoctrinated with this dreck as we type). It pained me to think that we were, in essence, actively supporting the European version of the M*ch*g*n Wolverines.

May God (should he be an independent creation from Real Madrid) have mercy on our souls.

Photodocumentation of our transgression available on flickr.

Final note: the fans (however deluded) were really nice.


Edited to add: I truly enjoyed the tour of the stadium and the game. The stadium does not have a bad seat, and the fans were extremely friendly and entertaining. The Real Madrid museum was completely charming in its unabashed self-glorification and I truly think I’m getting into soccer. I think BDMC’s post might have been influenced just a little bit by his love/hate relationship with a certain rabid Real Madrid fan-in-law we know

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Countess of Cava permalink
    21 May 2008 4:43 pm

    Okay, Spirit of ’73, let’s get the dialogue going on this one. It seems to me…and I am a fairly impartial spectator about this subject…that the gauntlet has been thrown not on the ground but in your face!!!!

  2. Spirit of 73 permalink
    22 May 2008 6:10 pm

    Real Madrid, in a typical season, will play more than 25 home games over about ten months of play and splits the fan base of the city with three other prominent teams. Ohio State plays seven home games in three months and has the city all to itself, as well as large portions of the state.

    As for the rest of the article, my penis isn’t small enough to agree with what bdmc is saying.

  3. conison permalink
    23 May 2008 7:14 am

    25 home games over a 10 month season? That’s the same reason pro basketball sucks.
    And Atlético and Getafe are “prominent teams”??!
    Atlético is the Michigan State of La Liga: a team with some interesting history, but generally a perennial self-destructive disappointment with no significant wins since 1996 (and before that nothing since the mid-to-late 70’s), while Getafe is barely a La Liga competitor, and it was only this season that they made any significant progress in their bid to legitimize their existence (they were so bad they were demoted and liquidated by the league in 1982) and have been the Segunda División’s whipping boy for years. That’s like saying Indiana and Northwestern are serious contenders for the BigTen crown. Face it, Spirit, you’re essentially rooting for the scUM of La Liga and you can’t handle the inner torment you suffer as a result of your conflicting moral allegiances.
    And way to resort to penis jokes. I’m going to rise above and only thow poop in your general direction.


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