Seeing a soccer game in Spain in 1995 was definitely the most cultural event I think I’ve experienced. And this was no ordinary game — it was Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (at Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona.) We’re talking a MASSIVE game.
I’m the one who definitely scored. Maria, a Spanish friend of mine from college, hooked me up with a ticket to this game. It just so happens her father was the head cardiac surgeon at one of the main hospitals in Barcelona. He had just recently performed surgery on a big time soccer official. I guess a soccer ticket for an American fan was a small favor.
For some reason, I thought it would mostly be men at the game. I was wrong. Fans of all ages were there — even small children and frail señoras pumped their hands in the air. I really felt privileged to be at Nou Camp since it didn’t seem like many foreigners were attending the game.
I spoke in caveman Spanish to the man sitting next to me. I told him how excited I was to be at the game.
“Me gusta fútbol de España mucho!“ (I like Spanish soccer a lot!) Soon he offered me sunflower seeds for a snack. We all sported our blue, yellow and red scarves around our necks and roared for “Barca.”
After the game was over, I headed to Las Ramblas. The entire city seemed to be jumping up and down and waving flags. I couldn’t experience this at a museum, cafe, market or park. I felt Catalan for a day.
The Superbowl of Spain.
Proudly showing the Catalan colors.
Celebrating in the streets of Barcelona (Good thing Barca won!)
Stopping traffic. No riots, no overturned vehicles — Now these are some fans (of course, their team did win.)
Did you encounter any hooligans?
Fortunately, no — everyone was in high spirits and nothing radical happened. However, I don’t know what it may have been like if Barcelona had lost. Thanks for the question! Steph
Very colorful account of El Clasico, I will be travelling to Spain in a couple months and will hopefully get to see some top-flight soccer!
Thank you, Nathan! El Clasico was fabuloso, indeed. I’ve been to some World Cup games, but nothing compared to this match up. Hope you get to see some big time soccer, too. Cheers!