More reading from Sid Lowe
Sid's latest column is now online...
Despite a hectic schedule of games, César Muñiz became the protagonist in La Liga after his baffling penalty decision
At seven minutes past midnight the police finally arrived. "We've had over 120 mentions about football in the last 10 minutes," ran the tweet from Spain's Policía Nacional. "Remember," it continued, adding a smiley face at the end, "we're here to help you on questions of SAFETY :-)". It wasn't hard to imagine what had happened and it wasn't hard to imagine them having a good giggle down the station: "Hello, police? Yes, I want to report a robbery." Very soon, everyone was reporting a robbery. Here we go again.
It was right in the middle of an 11-day stretch of consecutive games, weeks five, six and seven running into each other. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, with Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to come, and Real Madrid were at newly promoted Elche, back in the first division for the first time in almost a quarter of a century. Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick had gone through the wall to give Madrid the lead and the clock was ticking away. Carlo Ancelotti had sent on Dani Carvajal and Asier Illarramendi to protect a precarious lead but his side seemed on course for another three points. Continue reading
That's all folks
Yeah, sounds good and all, but could Messi do it on a cold Wednesday night in Stoke?
Sid, is the following attribution legit?
"In a good team there have to be two Argentinians, but no Englishmen." - Santiago Bernabéu
Everyone always talks about the clasico being Castilla versus Catalunya. However, there are many, many non-Catalan Spanish cules. To what degree do you think their support for Barcelona is motivated by non-footballing reasons - provincial resentment of Madrid, or a reaction to the (to my mind, inaccurate) perception that Real Madrid were "Franco's club" or the sporting wing of the PP?
Yousif Nur asks:
What do you think is the biggest misconception regarding the Clasico?
John Carlin refers to the galacticos period as "the wild romanticism of the original Perez model". Would you agree with that description?
Do you cover the infamous 1943 Clasico in your book? The one that Real Madrid "won" 11-1? I'd say that THAT was possibly the real start of the rivalry?
Hi Sid. Why do Barcelona seem hell bent on not buying a defender who can defend?
Are Real Madrid funded by the Royal Familia of Spain?
Javi Marcos writes:
Barcelona won more cups with Franco than Real Madrid. He helped them with the sales of the lands when they would build Nou Camp (BOE, 2735/1965, 14 August 1965). Barcelona as an institution rewarded Franco with two medals for his help. And Barcelona and Cataluña, always governed by conservatives parties (CiU), was not really anti-Franco. After all of that stuff, why people say Franco hurted the FC Barcelona?
Did the CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo) ever have any links with FC Barcelona?
How is it possible to get for the reality there when each party has its own storytellers for decades? And congratulations for the book, hope to read it very soon!
One of your introductory quotations is that of Michu choosing Oviedo over Madrid or Barcelona. Why did you choose that particular quotation for the beginning of your book?
Sid, I realise this is something that will be covered in the book but can you give us a quick answer - just how far back in history does the immense bitterness of this rivalry go? Was it kickstarted by Alfredo di Stefano's transfer shenanigans in the 1950s? Was it related to the Civil War previously? Or just a natural clash between the two biggest cities in Spain that was always there, as soon as football started?
Sid, how accurate is the legend of Patrick O’Connel, an Irish working class lad, who is giving the credits for saving Barça in mid-1930s, during the Spanish Civil War?
What defines Barcelona and Real Madrid? And do you think what defines these two clubs comes into conflict when they play against each other?
What are your thoughts on the domination of Madrid and Barcelona in regards to the percentage of overall supporters each have in Spain? I believe that around 60% of football fans in Spain affiliate themselves with either Madrid or Barcelona which cannot be healthy for the game as a whole. What are the effects of this for the clubs lower down in the league pyramid? How are they coping financially with the drain of their traditional support base or have these smaller clubs found ways to solve this problem? P.S. I just cited your book on the JAP in my PhD thesis!
Firstly what is your overriding emotion (fear? joy? euphoria? arousal? hunger?) now that your labour of love is now out there to be dissected/lauded/slagged-off/misinterpreted? Did you ever think, "you know what, this just isn't worth it?"
Secondly, having spent a career passing judgment on footballers/athletes, how does it feel having your peers review and pass judgement on you?
Real Madrid has always been criticised for the way the club is run and their buying of new players while Barça are always praised for their academy. Why have Madrid not been able to rectify this over the years?
Amitai Winehouse asks:
Sid, do you think it's healthy for a footballing nation to be so indelibly drawn across one footballing battle line, or do you think ultimately the Barça/Real rivalry will damage Spanish football?
Hello Sid. Congrats on the book release. The term 'El Clasico' confuses me slightly. At first, from what I know, it referred to the matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona in the league. But then that was later changed and we use the term even when they play against each other in the Champions League and so on. Isn't this indicative of how powerful these two clubs are considering the change was for marketing needs?
Calvin Jake Ferguson asks:
Why is it that Barcelona and Real Madrid don't sign British players more often? Or more commonly, why do hardly any British players choose to go and play in Spain?
Hi Sid, Have you ever met Ronaldo? If so, is he a 'winker'? Cheers!
How is the Clasico rivalry viewed in regions of Spain outside of Madrid and Catalonia? Is there passion for the fixture, with football neutrals each having their own favourite? Or is there annoyance at the dominance of these two giants and the saturated coverage the rivalry receives?
I would be very interested to know as I am going to study in Zaragoza soon, which is relatively equidistant to Madrid and Barcelona! Thanks!
I've read that Barcelona were close to signing Gerd Muller and only when they were not able to get him, they went ahead with getting Cruyff. How much truth is there to it? Also, if they had managed to get Muller, was there ever a possibility that Cruyff could have joined Real Madrid, provided they were ever interested in Cruyff?
What lasting effect, if any, do you think the Guardiola-Mourinho rivalry will have in the foreseeable future in the context of the Clasico rivalry?
Wow, congrats Sid. I saw the pic of all those books you did research on to compile 'Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona v Real Madrid'. Personally, I think it will do very well. My question to you: what inspired you to write 'Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona v Real Madrid'? Was it something you've always wanted to write? Or have the recent El Clasicos aided the development of this book?
Does Estella (sorry if names wrong) prefer Barça or Real
Sid. Are there any examples of the two clubs getting along, or at least working together against a common enemy? Or has it always been a negative relationship?
Loved the extract this morning, and looking forward to to getting hold of the book itself. What impact do you think the ownership model of the two clubs has had on their rivalry? El Presidente v El Presidente. When sports and politics mix, consequences can be ugly.
Hardik Vyas asks:
How much of this great rivalry is merely staged by the media fronts of Madrid and Barcelona? Are they largely responsible in instigating uncalled drama with pre-derby stories? How much are they responsible in infuriating the already polarized opinions across the divide?
Can you envisage another Spanish team being competitive (trophy-wise) in La Liga in the foreseeable future? The economic dominance of Real & Barcelona is so strong as a result of TV rights and marketability it seems nigh on impossible for a realistic rival to emerge. Sevilla, Valencia and Malaga have all attempted it through various means but fallen short. Is there a realistic alternative out there?
Who would you have in a combined RM/Barca XI best of all time?
Which stadium do you prefer from a journalistic point of view, the Bernabeu or Camp Nou?
Do you think that, with Barcelona so successful with their academy players and Real Madrid breaking transfer records again, the two clubs are driving each other down opposite ideological paths? Barcelona seem determined not to spend money when they need to (on a CB), and Real seem to be refusing to give youth a chance (Morata)? Will we ever see a home grown player established in the RM starting 11 again? And would the Barca fans be angered if their club ever followed RM with Galactico signings? Congrats on the book too, always enjoy listening to your opinions on Spanish football. Thanks!