Are you a newly inaugurated football fan? Here are some facts you should note down before seeing your fist game at Camp Nou.
La Liga is the professional association football division of the Spanish football league system. It is officially named Liga BBVA (BBVA League) due to sponsorship agreements. It is comprised of 20 teams including the clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Do these two teams sound familiar? They certainly should! Throughout history, 60 teams have competed in La Liga since its beginnings and out of those nine teams have been crowned champions, with Real Madrid winning the title a record 32 times and Barcelona 24 times.
The Spanish Players
The Spanish national team is full to the brim with talent, some top names to familiarize yourself with are:
Andrés Iniesta – Position: Midfielder, Club: FC Barcelona
Iker Casillas (aka “El Santo”) – Position: Goalkeeper, Club: Real Madrid
Sergio Ramos – Position: Defender, Club: Real Madrid
Cesc Fabregas – Position: Midfielder, Club: Chelsea
Gerard Pique – Position: Defender, Club: FC Barcelona
David Silva – Position: Midfielder, Club: Manchester City
The style of play used by the team is Tiki-taka (spelled tiqui-taca in Spanish; reports vary on the meaning of this word either being ‘touch touch’ or ‘tick tack’ to describe the quick style of play). The players are not positioned in a traditional football formation but rather the whole team is fluid and free to move. The passing is short and quick, with the aim being to work the ball through various channels and maintain possession.
The place to be when they win
Whenever the Spanish national team wins, the people of Spain fill the streets to celebrate. Pay attention next time a game is on when victory ensures you will hear fireworks, horns, and loud cheers filling the neighbourhoods.
In Madrid go to fountains like Cibeles (for Real Madrid victories) or Neptuno (for Atlético de Madrid victories). In Barcelona, the Red Tide (a nickname for Spanish fans dressed in red) go to the Canaletas Fountain.
Football en Español
Here are a couple of terms to get you started:
Gol – Goal
Fuera de juego – Offside
Tanda de penaltis – Penalty shoot-out
Tiempo añadido – Extra time
Tiro libre (falta) – Free kick
Saque de esquina – Corner kick
Last but not least: Barça!
The Barça team has a truly Catalan culture with the motto “Més que un club” (More than a club). Barça is one of the most famous football teams in the world. No matter which country you visit, if it’s football season you will likely see supporters wearing the blue and red stripes of their uniform; this club has no borders when it comes to admirers. It is said that no side passes the ball more often or more accurately than Barça, they are masters of tiki-taka.