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About the sport

Arguably more so than any other European nation, football (soccer) holds a special place in the collective consciousness of the people of Spain. As a transplanted North American with a good degree of fanaticism for sports from that part of the world, I remain somewhat amazed at the passion exhibited by football fans here for their sport of choice (and to the degree to which football dominates the Madrid press). Prior to big games, in particular those between Real Madrid and Barcelona, palpable feelings of excitement and anticipation can be felt throughout the city. With a slew of international stars and spanish stars, the quality of play in the Spanish Premier League is extremely high. Football, furthermore, is a game that at its apex is sport raised to an art form, and one need only be a general aficionado to appreciate the astonishing display of skill evident at league matches.

If one is interested in taking in a match, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid are the obvious choices. Real Madrid is a team with a glorious history, having won twenty-five league championships and six European cups (an annual inter-country competition), but having fallen on (relatively) hard times recently. Nonetheless, every season they are considered as one the favourites for the league title. Atlético Madrid, a club traditionally appealing to the blue-collar sector, are no slouches themselves, having won their share of league championships (nine), as well as one European Cup.

Madrid also boasts a third team on the cusp of the big leagues, Rayo Vallecano. Spanish football (and that of Europe generally) is a hierarchically structured affair, with the various leagues arranged in distinct tiers. There is movement between the ranks based on intra-league performance. In this respect, Rayo Vallecano seem to be perpetually shuffling between the First and Second Divisions.

When to go

The Spanish football season extends from September to May. Matches are normally held at 5 PM on Sundays (7 PM in the warmer months), but also less frequently on Saturday evenings at 8:30 PM and some weekday evenings as well. European cup matches are mid-week affairs. For those interested in taking in a match during the summer, exhibitional tournaments are fairly frequent during the off-season.


Unfortunately, none of these stadiums are within the range of our detailed maps.

Rayo Vallecano
Nuevo Estadio de Vallecas

Avda. de la Albufera, 132
Tel: 91 478 22 53
Metro: Portazgo

Tickets: 9-18 euro
Capacity: 20,000

http: Rayo Vallecano Web site

Athlético Madrid
Estadio Vicente Calderón

Calle Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto, 67
Tel: 91 336 47 07
Metro: Pirámides

Tickets: 12-50 euro
Capacity: 60,000 seated

http: Atlético de Madrid Web site

Real Madrid
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

Concha Espina
(corner of Paseo de la Castellana)
Tel: 91 350 06 00
Zone: Nuevos Ministerios
Metro: Santiago Bernabéu
Cercanías: Nuevos Ministerios.

Tickets: 12-100 euro
Capacity: 100,000 seated

web: Real Madrid Web site

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