I’ve recently moved to Madrid from my hometown of Dublin. I came here to study communications and learn Spanish, but I’m also going to grab with great fervour the chance to experience a year of Spain’s La Liga football, which in my opinion is the best league in the world. The best league on the pitch, that is. There is a saying over here that La Liga is ‘played by geniuses, run by idiots.’ In my first three weeks of living here, I already saw first hand the extent of the truth behind the saying.
In this article, I’m going to write about my first experiences of La Liga football this season, and the culture behind it in the city of Madrid, in the setting of a week where two derbies were played involving Rayo Vallecano, Atlético de Madrid, and los Campeones, Real Madrid.
I settled into life in Madrid relatively quickly. It wasn’t that hard to do (for me anyway), as a student living with four friends, when we arrived we enjoyed the occasional alcoholic beverage and venture into the city centre to experience the nightlife (every night…) I live in the west of the city, a two minute walk away from the river, to the Manzanares’ west. For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of Madrid, El Estadio Vicente Calderón is located south-west of the city centre too, and as I discovered on a walk I went on one day, I lived only a stone’s throw away from Atlético Madrid’s ground. The Calderón is actually located just on the banks of the river, on the east side, so there’ll always be some physical separation between my house and Atleti’s stadium.