Categories: Real Madrid – SUNSTAR
How does it feel to sit next to 58,367 screaming fanatics of one of the most famous football clubs in the world?
Our JJJ family watched the Real Madrid CF vs Girona FC game in the Spanish capital on October 30. Jasmin, Jana and I arrived from Cebu to Madrid early that morning, and within hours we were ready for the 4:15 p.m. game. kick-off time.
Bull horns sounded outside the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home of the Galacticos for 75 years. Souvenir stalls were scattered around selling scarves, magnets, water bottles – placarded items bearing the “REAL MADRID” brand, declared by Fifa to be “the most successful football club and the best of the 20th century”.
When we entered and took our seats on the second level (of five levels), the One Republic song “I Ain’t Worried” blared over the speakers. The goalies danced to the tune of “Top Gun: Maverick,” warming up and stretching. Water sprinklers automatically emerged from the field to water the perfectly manicured grass.
The game took place last Sunday, which meant the audience was packed with families: moms and dads with their young daughters and boys; all wearing Adidas “EMIRATES Fly Better” jerseys with the names Benzema, Vini Jr. and Modric.
The most visible shirt? Although he couldn’t play that afternoon, Benzema’s name was on the back. Yes, Karim Benzema was the new Ballon d’Or winner (“the best footballer in the world”).
GAME TIME. The Girona FC players entered the pitch for the first time and they were greeted with shouts and mockery. But when the Real Madrid players in the white jersey entered, the pandemonium began: the drums rang out as fans rose to applaud their home team. The people of Madrid were shouting and whistling. (Here in Madrid, no one wears a mask anymore.)
The game started and, as you would expect from a world class game, the pass and goal attempts and the defense were outstanding. Reigning La Liga champions Real Madrid were clearly the better side against 17th-placed Girona. They had a lot of ball possession (58% of the time at the end of the match).
Luka Modric, the Croatian captain, was a star. Just like Toni Kroos. The first half remained scoreless despite Real Madrid having plenty of attempts on goal.
Finally, in the 70th minute, Vinicius Junior scored a few meters from a superb pass from Federico Valverde. That’s when the bull horns burst and the fans roared. And just when fans thought a 1-0 win was looming, controversy erupted in the 80th minute. The referee, Mario Lopez, who has been mocked countless times by the home fans, went to VAR and ruled that Marco Asensio’s arm had touched the ball. Penalty for Girona. That’s when Cristhian Stuani, the 6-foot-1 Uruguayan, calmly pushed the ball into the right corner.
A whole ! You could feel the disappointment among the fans. Then, in the 89th minute, Real Madrid’s Rodrygo scored! But, wait, the referee concluded that the ball had been taken out of the goalkeeper’s hands and it was considered a foul. Without any goal. A few minutes later, the match ended in a 1-all draw.
Watching the game, Real Madrid fans are some of the most passionate sports fans I’ve seen.
Inside the Santiago Bernabeu, you feel the sense of history dating back to its inception in 1947. Real Madrid is the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Yankees of football; one of the richest sports outfits on the planet with annual earnings of $750 million and a fanbase of over 225 million.
You can imagine the thousands of matches played indoors and the superstars who sprinted onto the pitch: David Beckham, Kaka, Iker Casillas, Raul, Luis Figo, Ramos, Sanchez and Zinedine Zidane. This hallowed ground was the home of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Santiago Bernabeu is the most popular sports center court in the world.