A must when traveling to Spain: attend a fútball match. While visiting Barcelona, we were able to squeeze in a match; FC Barcelona vs. Malaga CF, a La Liga game.
As an American, we don’t get very excited about fútball matches (soccer) unless it’s the World Cup. Therefore, it’s hard to compare Spanish fútball to American soccer. Since Eric and I both played soccer pretty much our whole lives, we were both very excited to attend our first match together.
Barcelona scored in the first 30 seconds of the match, which led to stadium shaking cheers by the Barça fans. Throughout the game, one thing was constant, the Boixos Nois (Crazy Boys) were an absolute blast to watch and cheer with. The Boixos Nois are the Barça ultra-support group and cheer section, who sit right behind the north field goal (try and buy a ticket next to them). They cheered led cheers for the entire game and never sat down.
Barça was most definitely the better team, controlling possession for the vast majority of the match. Even with Barça’s dominate play, there was one player that stood out amongst the rest, Lionel Messi. We have seen Messi on TV a handful of times, but watching him in person is another story. His presence on the field is dominant, playing with finesse you just don’t see in other players. Each time Messi touched the ball, the stadium erupted with Messi chants.
We were at the game the week after the Catalonian president announced the result of their succession vote. During the weekend and especially at the match, you could feel the political tension in the air. So much so that at multiple times during the match, prompted by the Boixos Nois, fans put down their FC Barça flags and raised Catalonian flags, cheering for Catalan independence.
FC Barcelona: Camp Nou
The FC Barcelona stadium is called Camp Nou and is quite large, holding right under 100,000 people. We did find it hard to get to our seats. On your ticket, you’re assigned a specific gate that you must enter through. You can’t come through any other gate. You’re also able to bring in backpacks, food, water; basically, anything you want. We found this to be a little strange because, in the states, that would never be the case.
If you’re really into FC Barcelona, I recommend visiting the Camp Nou Tour and Museum. This is something that we didn’t have time to do, but I think it would be very neat. You’ll receive a tour of the stadium, the locker rooms and visit the museum. In the museum, you’ll learn about the current and past Barça players, along with the history of their fan base.
Our first fútball match was one to remember. Words and photos can’t do the experience justice. The match ended with a 2-0 win for Barça, but one thing was certain, the 110-year tradition of FC Barcelona led to a euphoric experience.