Spanish Football Review

Spanish Football Vocabulary

Interesting facts on Football in Spain

With “el clasico” this Saturday, we at Spark thought we would give you a little info on the Spanish league set up and our predictions for the coming campaign.

Interesting facts on “la liga”:

  • Amazingly only 9 teams have won la liga, with Real Madrid and Barcelona leading the way with 31 and 21 victories each.
  • All la liga games are played at night, usually on Sunday night but also often on Saturdays and on occasiones during the week.  Going to away matches is not such a big thing in Spain and it is common even for the big clubs to only have a few hundred travelling supporters for certain games.
  • The top scorer in Spain wins the Pichichi Trophy and the the goalkeeper who concedes the least wins the Ricardo Zamora Trophy.  The current holders of both are Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo with an amazing 41 goals and Vicky Valdez of Barcelona who was only beaten on 16 occassions.
  • Atletico Bilbao from Basque Country only allow players of Basque origin to play for them.  Other Basque teams like Real Sociedad allow foreigners (non-Spaniards) but do not permit Spaniards to play for the side.
  • Almost every football fan in Spain has a second team, one of the big two: Real Madrid or Barcelona.  It is very normal for a Spaniard to open his conversation about football with “¿Eres del Madrid o Barca?”.  The big game between the two is called “el clásico”.  The importance of “el clásico” in Spanish culture can be seen by the lack of cars on the roads when the games are on, with almost 70% of the population glued to the tele at home or in a bar.
  • The first football club in Spain was el Recreativo de Huelva, founded in 1896 by British miners working in the Rio Tinto mines.

Spanish Football Vocabulary:

  • All Football teams in Spain carry the pronoun “el” o “la” (the), meaning when you talk about the team you say “el Madrid” o “el Barca” rather than just Madrid for example.  “La Real Sociedad” is the only current team in la liga which has the feminine pronoun.
  • Portero (which is also “bouncer” in Spanish) is the Spanish word for Goalkeeper.  Defenders are known as laterales (full backs) y centrales (centre halves).  Midfielders are mediocampistas and forwards known as delanteros.
  • Spanish football managers are known as “coaches” rather than managers so dont make the mistake of saying: “Mourinho es el jefe (manager) del Madrid” because correct Spanish is “Mourinho es el entrenador (coach) del Madrid”.
  • Spaniards DONT refer to their national team as “el equipo nacional” but rather call them “la selección”.  If you want to refer to other national teams you say “la selección de Inglaterra (for example)”.  “La selección” is also affectionately know as “los rojos”(the reds).
  • To tackle in Spanish is known as “entrar”, pass is “pasar” and to score is “marcar”.  Win is “ganar”, lose “perder” and to draw “empatar”.
  • Football is more commonly known by its anglicised “el fútbol” but “el balompie” (literally foot (pie) and ball (balón although for sounds purposes the “n” in the word is changed to an “m”)) is the tradional way of saying it in Spanish.

For more Spanish football vocabulary check out this Spanish Football Vocab page.

Nico's and Pepita's football predictions

Nico’s and Pepita’s football predictions

Spark Predictions for the coming la liga:

  • Douglas says: “Barcelona’s recent big purchases will destabilise the team rather than help it.  Although I hate saying it (as I am a Barca fan), I feel Real Madrid will pip the league this year, although Barca will  win the Champion’s League again”.  Surprise team: Watch out for Malaga, they have spent big and could slip into third.
  • James says: “Barcelona will win the league because they have bought Fabregas and this can only make a great team even stronger”.
  • Nico says: “Only a true team can win such a long tournament as la liga, el Madrid necesita corazón y ya que no lo tiene, el Barca ganará la liga otra vez”.
  • Inge says: “I think PSV might win but ops they arent Spanish…. no really I just couldnt care…”

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