El Clásico is part of The Adios Puerto Rico, Hola España Trip Report. Read TPOL in Madrid: Why A Second Residency?
There are many things one should do before one dies. People who don’t do such things refer to this as their ‘bucket list.. Those who do such things refer to them as living. To ‘live’ in Madrid, means going to El Clásico, the showdown between two bitter rivals: Real Madrid and Barcelona. The game is not the same with the departure of Ronaldo from Real Madrid and the transfer of Messi from Barcelona. However, regardless of who is in the uniform, the game is the game.
Here’s how to get it done:
Why bother with the metro or Bolt when you can walk (see Bolt vs. Metro vs. Walk: How to Get Around Madrid)?
As expected, the game was showing sold out online. Unlike the World Cup, I refused to purchase overpriced tickets from third-party vendors (see The Guide to Buying Tickets for the World Cup And Other Big Events). A part of this Madrid residency experiment was to do as locals do. That meant waiting until the last minute to see what became available.
At the stadium, I was approached by many scalpers offering tickets. An expert on ticket scalping in the US (see New Orleans Jazz Fest: Ticket Scalping Primer, Ohio State vs. Michigan: Advanced Ticket Scalping, Michigan Ohio State: A Case Study in Ticket Scalping, Ticket Scalping NYC: Know Before You Go, Ticket Scalping NYC: The Follow-Up), I have no knowledge for securing real tickets at a low cost abroad. Before engaging in that process, I went to the ticket counter to see if anything was available. Indeed, there was. Though 200 euros per ticket is expensive, I have no problem paying the retail value for authenticity.
I am not a rabid fan of club football. For decades, I have tried to pick a team but never could. I refuse to cheer for Man United because they are the Yankees of the Premier League. I couldn’t hop on the Barcelona bandwagon because doing so would be akin to cheering for the Lakers. I never liked Real Madrid because there’s something about Ronaldo that is off-putting. Like a child choosing a team, I settled for Man City because I liked the colors and because one of my favorite players/trouble makers Balotelli, aka Super Mario, aka the Dennis Rodman of football, was on the side for a passing moment.
To support my home team, I went with Real Madrid and purchased this smart scarf for 15 euros.
TPOL’s Tip: A hat goes for 20 euros (see Bargaining Price Guide).
Wine & Jamón
The tailgate at this game was different than at home. Instead of burgers and brat, it was vino and Jamón and not just any jamón ibérico, the finest in the world.
The place was packed leading up to the game.
TPOL’s Tip: Miajón Of Castuos is located at P.º de La Habana, 19, 28036 Madrid, Spain
As we made our way to the stadium, the sun went down but not the energy.
Remember the criticism that there was no alcohol allowed in the World Cup (see Arab’s World Cup: What We Got Right, What They Got Wrong)? That was an exaggeration. There was no alcohol at the games but plenty at hotel bars and watch parties. The same was true of El Clásico. Alcohol was not available in the stadium unless you were sitting in the VIP section. Per this article, this has been the case since 1990. “De acuerdo con el artículo 67.3 de La Ley 10/1990 del 15 de octubre de 1990, el gobierno español prohibió la venta de toda clase de bebidas alcohólicas en los estadios durante las competencias deportivas, para prevenir violencia entre los aficionados.” Like in Buenos Aires, this is done to prevent violence among the fans (see Too Dangerous? River Plate Stadium Review Buenos Aires).
Unlike the World Cup, this event was full of energy (see World Cup Day 1: USA vs. Netherlands).
The starting lineup and serenading are incredible. Listen to these chants. They are not saying ‘we love Barcelona.’
The stadium has a capacity of 81,044, though it is currently being renovated.
Real Madrid was dominating the game in terms of possession and moving the ball. However, Real Madrid had a lapse in attention and Barcelona capitalized and won the match 1-0.
Post Game Party
The crowd was understandably upset. It had just lost to its bitter rival. I, on the other hand, took the loss quite well. Instead of dealing with the crowds, I found a bar with a captivating message for some post-game drinks.
There’s a reason that El Clásico is on my list for one of the best sports events I have attended (see Wide World of Sports: The Best of Where I’ve Been). It’s the same level of hate as Michigan vs. Ohio State, but instead of cross-state rivals, it’s cross-country ones.