El Clásico at Home

Preview of LaLiga’s 15th week

Feel my pain: it’s very hard to write this column while I’ve got two tickets for River vs Boca at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday next to my laptop and an eight-month pregnant wife who roots for River dying to go to the match. Of course, we’re totally aware that it does not make any sense to get anywhere close to the stadium, and yet… Continue reading “El Clásico at Home”

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The Long Read: The Rise and Fall of La Quinta del Buitre in Five Matches

It would not be stretching a point to say that the ‘Quinta del Buitre’ of the late eighties changed the face of Spanish football, planting the seeds of what was to come in the following decades. After a long spell in which hard work, courage and fighting spirit had become the arguably limited values of Spain’s approach to the beautiful game, four kids from Madrid and one from Huelva brought flair to the table, played as though no goal difference was big enough, won European competitions after years of drought and made many believe that the “Furia Española” tag had indeed become obsolete. Heck, even Pep Guardiola states that the Quinta was Real Madrid’s best version ever. Continue reading “The Long Read: The Rise and Fall of La Quinta del Buitre in Five Matches”

Barcelona, Atleti, Madrid and… Alavés?

Review of LaLiga’s 14th week

Granted, if above all things you’re a Real Madrid fan or an Atletico supporter, or even a Barcelona one, you’re probably not thinking much of this LaLiga season so far. But if you enjoy the game as much as your team or if you support any of the other 17 clubs, these first three months have been a gift from the gods. It’s not only the fact that only five points separate the top five teams, but especially that feeling of unease when Real Madrid, Barcelona or Atletico play and you can’t really bet the house on them because they’ve only won 21 of their 42 matches so far. Continue reading “Barcelona, Atleti, Madrid and… Alavés?”

Biases and Soft Spots

Preview of LaLiga’s 13th week

Two weeks ago, this scribe wrote “If Betis can take the ball away from Barcelona and get a result at the Camp Nou, I’ll believe in Setien”. Well, I’ll now have to believe in the wizard from Santander, leaving aside my obvious reluctance for his patronizing way of describing how the other teams play and his habit of throwing his own players under the bus after a poor performance. Wait, did I just write that? Continue reading “Biases and Soft Spots”

Greed is good

Preview of LaLiga’s 12th week

Many of you probably don’t like LaLiga’s president Javier Tebas, and you may very well have a perfectly good reason for it. To Barcelona fans, his support of Real Madrid makes him a representative of the enemy in a terrible position to have one. To the most irrational Real Madrid supporters, he’s someone who believes that Lionel Messi is the best player ever. To the rest of the teams, he’s the responsible party for the current inequality in the revenue distribution among LaLiga clubs, and thus the man who is still perpetuating the gap between the top two and the struggling followers. He’s also guilty of La Liga having become LaLiga (nospace). Adding insult to injury, he wants to take a LaLiga match to the USofA, not really giving a s*it about local fans missing that one in their home stadium. In short, he’s indeed no saint, and to the more or less objective reasons mentioned in this paragraph, you may throw on top that he’s just not a very likeable person at all. Continue reading “Greed is good”

Underperformers

Preview of LaLiga’s 11th week

The not totally surprising La Liga immolation of a certain team from the capital has hidden the disappointing beginning to the season of another three talented, high-ish budget teams that, so far, have failed to impress. I’m talking about Betis, currently in the 13th spot of the standings, Valencia in the 14th and Villarreal in 17th. Continue reading “Underperformers”

Chronicle of a Defeat Foretold

It was the match of the weekend, one of those occasions on which we all expect to see top players make an extra effort. However, only one team came along. While Barcelona performed in their most solid version, Real Madrid failed to show up. Funnily enough, the Madridista’ display was consistent with what they’ve done so far. “This 5-1 is what we’ve done all season”, said Casemiro in the post-match interview on the sidelines of the pitch, the Camp Nou still packed with fans celebrating Barcelona’s win. Any listener could probably replace “5-1” with the word “crap” and Casemiro’s sentence, already clear, would become an even more eloquent statement. Continue reading “Chronicle of a Defeat Foretold”