Surreal cannot even describe my third night in Madrid.
I was graciously invited to a championship Real Madrid game against Shakhtar Donetsk, a Ukrainian team. My friend from my study abroad year in Sevilla, Martine, is staying with a family this year and her host dad just happens to be the Director of Human Resources for Real Madrid…what are the odds?!
Her parents picked us up at our hotel a couples hours before the match began. They simultaneously flew out of their mini van and ran up to us with dos besos and big smiles; a déjà vu moment for me, as my host mom in Sevilla did the same thing when I arrived at her house for the first time.
They both know a bit of English, but we spoke in Spanish for the entirety of the evening along with their two friends who accompanied us. It’s both surprising and reassuring how fast a language will come back to you when you are thrown into a monolingual situation.
We parked the van in the same garage as the players’! Martine and I asked if it would be appropriate to take pictures and their response was “Claroo!”
Once we found our seats, we quickly pulled our cameras once again to capture a panorama of the enormous stadium which can hold over 81,000 spectators!
Real Madrid is one of the two biggest teams in Spain along with FC Barcelona. Ask any child in Spain who the best players are, and they will undoubtably say either Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid or Lionel Messi from Barca, both forward positions on their respective teams. Ronaldo scored most of the points during our evening of fútbol and we won 4-0! Hala Madrid!
When I studied in Sevilla, I attended a Real Betis game (before I was converted to a Sevilla fan) and multiple Sevilla FC games. Spain, like most of the world has an obsession for soccer. Actually, it’s more like a religion here so before you visit, pick a team and be ready to cheer!