Niacka Carty: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

I can remember the first day of orientation vividly. After the head of the university welcomed us to Madrid and explained where we can use and find resources for international students, there was a section dedicated to explaining Spanish culture to all the international students. I was a bit surprised that fútbol (football) was the first topic of discussion. I was expecting Spanish cuisine or the Spanish language to precede fútbol. The facilitator commented that fútbol is not a sport in Spain but rather another religion. We all laughed. It seemed as if Spanish children learn how to play the sport as soon as they are able to grasp a soccer ball. However, they may be true. There are football schools, where young children are trained and coached with the hopes of them becoming professional athletes. Additionally, she recommended playing the sport in order to meet and make Spanish friends and to improve our Spanish speaking skills. After living here for about two months, I have realized that the facilitator was not entirely joking. Soccer, or fútbol in Spain, is very important in the life of Spaniards. Boys ranging from small children to adults can be seen playing fútbol anywhere there is an open field of grass at various hours of the day. For this reasons, fútbol is undoubtedly a popular hobby in Madrid.
Fútbol also causes the most passion that I have seen thus far. Supporters of a particular Madrid team, Real Madrid, are persistent and loyal. It is said that Spaniards are the most passionate in expressing their enthusiasm for their fútbol teams compared to other European countries. There are four fútbol teams of Madrid and Real Madrid is the most popular. The other three are Atlético de Madrid, Getafe, and Rayo Vallecano. The Spaniards I speak with are very proud to show me the team’s jersey and what tell me that the colors red and yellow represent the Spanish flag.
The picture for this blog post is the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the Real Madrid’s stadium. Though the fútbol league lasts nine months, visitors can still access the stadiums. Unsurprisingly, the Santiago Bernabeu is the most visited. The stadium has souvenir stores, a museum and a restaurant. Despite having these attractions, there is also an official Real Madrid store near a popular tourist site in Madrid, Puerta del Sol. Additionally, there are many sports newspapers that speak highly of the sport.

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