FC Barcelona Camp Nou tour 2019

I visited FC Barcelona‘s Camp Nou stadium last year on April 5th, which was the day before they defeated Atlético de Madrid with two late goals. It was exciting to have walked down the same tunnel many legendary players have walked through.

Here’s a short video of the tour including the walkthrough of the locker room area and the player tunnel ending with the entrance onto the field:

And a few photos:

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Lionel Messi’s 5 Balon d’Or on display at the stadium museum.
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The press area.
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The full album of photos is available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afroxander/albums/72157714330528121

Can Johan Cruyff Save Las Chivas De Guadalajara?

So this announcement appeared yesterday:

And there are thousands of Chivas fans at the Omnilife Stadium right this minute welcoming Johan Cruyff to the organization as the team’s new advisor. The move comes after a 3 – 0 loss against Velez Sarsfield in a Copa Libertadores match this past Wednesday, leaving the team with a win-less streak of 13 games. The club hired a new coach, Ignacio Ambriz, last month and now adds Cruyff to the roster to pull the team out of its slump.

Cruyff, born Hendrik Johannes Cruijiff, is a famous footballer who was incredibly successful as a striker and, later, as a manager. His career began with Dutch team AFC Ajax where he was a star player thanks to his mastery of Total Football under the guidance of manager Rinus Michels. His influence in the Netherlands international team was such that the team never lost a match he scored in.

He then played for FC Barcelona where he scored his most famous goal, known as “The Phantom Goal” and “Cruyff’s Impossible Goal,” during a match against Atletico Madrid:

Cruyff retired from football as an athlete in 1984 and began his career as a coach with the same team he started his career as a player, Ajax, before coaching Barcelona in 1988. He led the team to many championship wins and also trained/mentored a young Josep Guardiola.

Only time will tell how his role will help Guadalajara but a little Dutch influence never hurt any other team.

El Clasico: The Most Intense Sports Rivalry On Earth

This Saturday’s match between FC Barcelona (Barça) and Real Madrid (Los Blancos) will mark the 216th/241st (official/friendly match tally) time the Spanish teams have faced each other on the field. The game is known as El Clásico (The Classic) or El Derbi Español and has grown to become the most watched, most anticipated and most intense rivalry in sports today.

More than just a game...

The rivalry exists thanks to a number of cultural, historical, and political reasons.

From Xoel Cardenas for Bleacher Report:

Real Madrid has always been seen as a symbol of Spanish pride and nationalism. Most Madridistas in Spain are Castilians who share relatively conservative political and social views. Most Real Madrid fans in Spain are loyal to the monarchy and continue to value monarchical traditions.

Culés {fans of Barcelona – Afro.} are very much opposite in political and social viewpoints. Most Catalans will never acknowledge that the city of Barcelona and all of the land that “was” Catalonia is Spain. Catalans prefer democracy to any kind of monarchical rule. They have more liberal political and social views; they see Catalonia as an unrecognized country.

Madrid is the capital of both Spain and the autonomous region of the Community of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid) and holds the honor of being the country’s largest city. It became the capital in 1561 after Philip II moved the seat of the court from Seville to Madrid. Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city, is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia (Catalunya) in northeastern Spain.

Catalonia has a long history of defending itself against the suppression of its autonomy and its culture from monarchic forces beginning with the rise of the Kingdom of Spain in the 13th century culminating with the fall of Barcelona on September 11, 1714.

The 20th century saw a number of major developments in politics and sports in the country. FC Barcelona was established in 1899 (yes, technically that’s the 19th century but we’ll give it some leeway) and Real Madrid in 1902. King Alfonso XIII assumed power in 1902 and the Copa Del Rey (The King’s Cup) was established to celebrate his coronation. It was in this tournament that both teams met for the first time.

This will make more sense a few paragraphs from now

Continue reading “El Clasico: The Most Intense Sports Rivalry On Earth”