El Clasico – Football Fantasy

Ready for kick-off

With the end of football season approaching for the European leagues, I am reminded of one classic match that I had the luck and pleasure of watching a couple of years back. This is a dream match for any football (soccer) fan and I was truly fortunate to have witnessed and watched, The El Clasico.

For those unfamiliar with the game, El Clasico (The Classic) is a much anticipated match of La Liga (Spanish Premier League) that takes place between 2 football giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

My better half and I had plans to visit Europe in April 2011, so when we found out that El Clasico was going to take place in Madrid that month, we planned our trip around the match. We didn’t have tickets, but we knew it was going to happen somehow.

Call it good luck or the law of attraction, few random events do occur and the universe often conspires to give you what you want.

It all started here in Thailand. At the airport at check-in, we were allotted better seats with more leg room. Once on the flight, our main topic of conversation was about how we were going to get such sought after tickets for the match.

During the flight we also befriended a stewardess who was seated in her place opposite us. We exchanged friendly advice and few kind words. Upon landing, she kindly let us exit the aircraft at the same time as business and first class passengers.

While walking out the plane, we exchanged courteous smiles with a group of Thai passengers and then heard them talking about the El Clasico match that they were going to watch that night. My hubby and I exchanged quick hopeful looks. We next learned from one gentleman that they were from ThaiBev (Thai brewery giant and proud sponsor of Real Madrid) and had extra tickets. More optimistic glances exchanged; we were glowing. However, we had to contact him later that day to purchase the tickets since they were with a local agent.

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

We reached Santiago Bernabeu (Real Madrid home stadium) an hour before the match but our angel (that’s what it felt like) had yet to show up, so we waited, in much anticipation! We walked around outside the stadium and saw that a lot of people were also wandering, mostly looking for tickets, so while waiting we calmed our nerves with few bottles of the Spanish beer, Estrella Damm. 10 minutes before kick-off and the heavens sent their representative with our tickets. At last, it was happening!

Excitement in the air!

The atmosphere inside was lively and we could see so much passion and excitement amongst both sets of fans as they sang and cheered on to encourage their teams. It was time for these giants to clash and show what they were worth.

Players in action

Real Madrid was under the guidance of Jose Mourinho and Barcelona under coach Pep Guardiola at that time. We were not rooting for any team in particular but were so ecstatic to be part of this exhilarating event, and that we got to see talented players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Xavi, Kaka, Iniesta and Casillas in action. Gerard Pique was also on the field, and his girlfriend, the famous singer and hip-shaker, Shakira was also there watching and cheering him on. At one point, the fans even started chanting ‘Shakira, Shakira’! We also got to witness penalty shots from both sides, taken by Messi for Barcelona early in the 2nd half, and with few minutes left on the clock Ronaldo also equalized for Madrid. 90 minutes flew by and the final score was tied at 1-1.

Mercurial Messi

The coaches - Mourinho and Guardiola

The match was exciting and definitely left an impression, but the events leading up to it were no less special or extraordinary. We got to enjoy it because we obtained tickets that were almost impossible to find, because we overheard some passengers talking, because we got to exit the plane a few minutes earlier, because we got to sit on those particular seats. I know that’s a lot of ‘becauses’ but you get the picture of how small details matter in life.

I love visiting new places, regardless of events or festivals, but it’s always nice to have something a bit extra to make your trip that more special, and this experience was a highlight and enhanced my holiday in Madrid.

Slightly jet-lagged but super happy fans!

 

Comments: 8

  1. Si @ Man vs World Jul 16 at 2:48 pm Reply

    Sounds amazing! I never really liked football until I moved to London and went to a Premier League match; after that I was hooked on the amazing atmosphere at the top flight matches. I’m sure it’s even crazier at the El Clasico

    • Nita Jul 16 at 9:59 pm Reply

      Hi Simon! The entire experience was really amazing and impressive – We were very lucky. Got to watch Arsenal vs Chelsea in London a few years back too. The craziness levels are equally impressive 😉 Thank you so much for stopping by!

  2. memographer Jul 27 at 4:01 am Reply

    You’ve witnessed goals by Messi and Ronaldo!? on Bernabeu Stadium!? sounds like a dream to me :)
    Enjoyed the story, Nita. As I always say, everything is possible, you just need to want it very badly :)

    • Nita Jul 27 at 3:55 pm Reply

      Happy to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks Alex :)
      It was so surreal.. And you’re absolutely correct – When you want something really bad and put yourself out there, great things happen :)

  3. Travis Jan 7 at 9:55 pm Reply

    Wow! I could not be more jealous. I was able to get to a couple matches in Madrid when we were there last year, but “el Classico”, that’s an experience of a lifetime! I guess sometimes things just sort themselves out and the stars align when you’re traveling! Glad to have found your blog!

    • Nita Jan 7 at 11:40 pm Reply

      Thanks Travis :) I like your blog as well! Sometimes, I still can’t believe how lucky we got that day. The stars did align for us to see those stars out there on the field. I hope you get to experience El Clasico someday too!

  4. Lillian Duggan Jul 9 at 2:06 am Reply

    Wow! The universe was definitely on your side, Nita. What an amazing set of events. I’m sure it was fabulous.

    • Nita Jul 9 at 5:04 am Reply

      Fabulous indeed Lillian. We were incredibly lucky! Little surprises from the universe 😉

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