: La Liga: Real Madrid at Barcelona
What a huge game! You haven’t lived until you’ve seen soccer played on the grand stage, one of the big English, Italian, Spanish, or South American derbies. This game is one of the biggest: the two best teams in Spain, perennial rivals Madrid and Barca. Real hasn’t won in Barcelona since 1983 (though they have the edge in the series overall), so this was going to be a tough match. More drama for this season: this summer Barcelona’s best player, Portuguese playmaker Luis Figo, turned traitor and transferred to the hated Real Madrid. Imagine having 80,000+ fans booing every time you touch the ball — that’s what Figo got (and cheers whenever he made a mistake). In pouring rain, the fans were mad with passion (and color-coordinated in Barca’s colors). Absolutely amazing. Incredible soccer skill, unbelievable goal-keeping, and lots of hard, physical challenges. Real Madrid were off their game, while Barca, who’ve been slow in the league this season, got off to roaring start with a Luis Enrique header goal off a Rivaldo free kick in the 27th minute. (Enrique, ironically, transferred from Real Madrid years ago and still gets booed when in Madrid.) The game was a fair battle until late, when Madrid seemed to be getting things together and putting up some impressive attacks. Then, on a delicious counter-attack, Barcelona had three players take a crack on goal. Rivaldo took the first shot, brilliantly blocked by Madrid’s young keeper. Alfonso tried to head in the rebound, but his knock hit the post, only to drop the ball at Simao’s feet, and he calmly put it away. That was all Barca needed. Final: 2-0 Barcelona.