Are you bored of Barcelona and Real Madrid‘s duopoly of Spanish football? Are you reluctant to pay absurd ticket prices to see Barca play? Did you find the atmosphere at Camp Nou underwhelming? Do you find yourself always wanting the underdogs to cause an upset against the mega-rich clubs and their hoards of glory-supporters?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions fear not, there is an alternative, Barcelona’s other team, R.C.D. Espanyol.
Reasons to be cheerful
Espanyol have played at their 40,500 capacity stadium, Estadi Cornella, since 2009 and it is one of the best football grounds in Spain. It cost €60 million to build and lies on the border of El Prat and Cornella, making it easily accessible.
Tickets are reasonably priced, typically ranging between €25 and €40 for a league game– though these prices go up dramatically against Barca and Madrid. If you are interested in becoming a die-hard season-ticket-holder you will be delighted to know that you can do so for a meagre price of €200 to €400 which will allow you to see 19 games of top-flight football including the games against the big two, which works out at a price of between €13.15 and €21.05 per game!
A short history
RCD Espanyol de Barcelona (Royal Spanish Sports Club of Barcelona), nicknamed Los Periquitos, have won four Copa del Reys, most recently in 2006, and have reached two UEFA cup finals, in 1998 and 2007.
In 1928 they became of of the founding members of La Liga and are the team who have competed the most seasons in that division who have not won it. They have qualified for the UEFA cup on seven occasions and came closest to winning it in 1988 when they lost to Bayern Munich on penalties in the final.
Established in 1900 the club’s founding message was clearly anti-Barca. Founded exclusively by Spanish fans in the district of Sarria, they viewed FC Barcelona as a team of foreigners and wanted to create a Spanish club, the rivalry has continued since. Although Barca have generally dominated against Espanol, there have been upsets over the years, including a 6-0 thrashing in 1951 which is still the biggest ever winning margin between the two teams.
With 129 goals in 340 games between 1997 and 2010, Raul Tamudo has made the most appearances for the club and is their all-time top scorer. Captaining the side for almost a decade, he won two Copa del Rey’s and is regarded as an icon at the club.
An exciting end to the season
Football is not all about winning titles and very often the most thrilling at the end of the season involve teams near the bottom of the league. Espanyol are currently sitting in 15th place with just four weeks until the end of the season, and a nervy end of season it could prove to be. They still have to face many of the other teams battling against relegation who have everything to play for so each game is huge from here on.
So, if you want to experience passion, excitement and drama away from the tourists, fair-weather fans and predictable scorelines, get down Estadi Cornella and get behind Los Periquitos!