Spain is three days away. I honestly can’t believe its come up on me this fast. I’m excited for a lot of different Spanish experiences: the food, the people, the language, the culture, the weather…basically everything. But one of the things I’m looking forward to experiencing is the sports, specifically the soccer. For Europeans, soccer (or futbol, I should probably get used to calling it that) is like football, hockey and baseball rolled into one. Of course, there are other fringe sports like bull fighting or basketball, but soccer is clearly the alpha and omega of European sports. And as it happens, we will be in Madrid for one of the biggest and most important soccer matches of the year, and one the most important for the city of Madrid in decades.
On May 24th, Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid will play each other in the UEFA Champions League final. This is a tournament that includes the best teams from all across Europe, including teams form the English Premiere League and German Bundesliga. We’ve lucked out, because the two teams located in Madrid are going to face off during our time in the city. I’m not trying to brag, but this isn’t the first time I’ve been lucky when it comes to watching sports abroad. In 2010, I got to watch the World Cup in bars around Greece. In 2012, I sat in on a grass field with hundreds of cheering Venetians as their Italian national team faced Spain in the finals of the EuroCup. Ok, maybe I am trying to brag a little bit. The point is, the excitement I have for this trip will be matched that day by thousands of…Madridians? Madridiites? Madridians. Either way, this match is one of many things I’m looking forward to experiencing and hopefully writing about during our trip.