More Than Just a Game: El Clásico de Fútbol…

O.K., so I’m excited for two reasons: 1) I’m going to my first professional football match, and 2) It’s not just a football match, it’s El Clásico (The Classic)

Now, when I refer to football (or fútbol, as it’s called it Spanish), I’m not talking about that watered-down, Americanized version of rugby…I’m talking about this:

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A game with 11 players on each side where the object is to kick/head-butt the ball into the net of the opposing team…Now this is real football because all the players (except the goalie) aren’t allowed to use anything but their feet (unless someone’s throwing in the ball from the sidelines)…Add the fact that these people are essentially running around a field with more square yards than an American “football” field, during which their trying to manuever a ball/steal it from people solely with their feet while the people from the other squad are trying to trip you/knock you over, with very little rest for 90 minutes (or more)–yeah, there’s more than a little athleticism involved here…

But I digress…Now there are several games between certain teams that are derived as a clásico match–But THE Clásico is whatever game there is between:

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…Real (Royal) Madrid (a.k.a. Los Blancos [The Whites])…

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…and F.C. (Football Club) Barcelona…

Now I must note that the rivalry between these two teams is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) one in sports history…In Spain, people can have other clubs in La Liga (The League) that they support/are there favorite, but when it comes down to El Clásico, you’re either Madrid or Barcelona…Considering the history of these two clubs (which is to long to go into detail here) and of Spain itself, it’s become more than just a game: it’s become representative of Spanish nationalism vs. Catalan identity…

See, I’m not the hugest football enthusiast, but I do enjoy it/understand it pretty well…And I don’t care if you like it or not (sorry I’m not sorry, ;-)), I’m a madrista!!!!…When  my cousin Shanikwa introduced me to football over a year ago (shout out to her if she’s reading this–love you, cuz!!), Real Madrid was the first club she introduced me to–thus, there’s a sentimental value to it…Now, like I said, I’m not the absolute hugest fan, but I’m definitely a madrista…And when it comes down to it, my view of Barça is like my stance on Duke (for those who are familiar with North Carolina college basketball): I can’t stand them, and I would never root for them…

But, I digress–Here’s a lowdown on some of the key players of interest from both squads:

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Iker Casillas (a.k.a. San Iker [Saint Iker])–The beloved goalie/captain for Real Madrid and the Spanish national team–often considered the best goalie in the world right now…He’s currently out right now because he injured his hand some weeks ago…Hopefully Madrid will be able to win again against Barça (like we did earlier this week) without him…

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Sergio Ramos, mi amor co-captain for Real and one of it’s midfielders…He’s a bit hot-headed and that tends to get him in trouble (e.g. yellow and red cards), but ultimately, he’s a true crack (gifted athlete)…

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Cristiano Ronaldo (a.k.a. CR7 [7 is his jersey #])–A forward for Madrid, and the guy that many people consider to be the best in the world…Yes, he is rather arrogant, but hey–the guys got skills…

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Gerard Pique (a.k.a. Waka Waka [a.k.a. Shakira’s baby daddy])–I mainly included him here because I like his nickname…

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Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández–Two players who are two essential parts of Barça’s tiki-taka style of play, whith the other being…

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Lionel Messi- (a.k.a. Public Enemy #1)–THE other guy that many others consider the best in the world…Never mind that he actually seems like a decent human being, he’s the most dangerous people in the game right now…He maybe only a little over 5′, but the midget can ball, i’ll give him that…

So, yeah, that’s a basic lowdown on El Clásico…Granted, I know that Madrid might not win tomorrow (you can’t always win), but still, it would be oh-so-satisfying to see them get one over on Barça twice in one week–¡¡Hala Madrid!!

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