August 15, 2012

Spain: La Liga 2012-13 – Top of the Table chart, featuring 2011-12 La Liga champions Real Madrid / Plus 2012-13 La Liga Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 12:06 pm
    Real Madrid – champions of Spain for the 32nd time

Segment of photo of Real Madrid 2011-12 home jersey (above) from

Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

From, from 25 May 2012, by Sid Lowe. ‘It’s the Sids 2012! The complete review of the La Liga season – From an epic two-horse race to the joy of Levante, it’s time for the annual end-of-season Spanish football awards‘.

    Spanish clubs playing in Europe for 2012-13 -
    Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Valencia CF, Málaga CF, Atlético Madrid, Levante UD, Athletic Club [Bilbao]

Champions League icon from

    Location-map of 2012-13 La Liga, with attendance data from 2011-12

[Note: Attendance figures and stadium capacities are from { Liga, 2011-12}.]
Thanks to NordNordWest at, for the blank map of Spain,
Photo and Image credits on the chart page –
Team celebration – Fireworks above Bernebéuu, and Sergio Ramos & team captain Iker Casilas with trophy: both photos unattributed at
Manager -
Jose Mourinho, photo by Denis Doyle at Getty Images Europe via
Christiano Ronaldo, photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via
Gonzalo Higuaín, photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via
Karim Benzema, photo by Addesolen at
Mesut Özil, unattribured photo from
Angel di Maria, photo by Hrvoje Polan/AFP/Getty Images via
Xabi Alonso, photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Europe via

Estadio Santiago Bernebéu – Aerial photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebéu in the Chamartin district of the city of Madrid by Cisco Pics at Screenshot of image of interior of the Bernebéu from [video]. Aerial photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebéu [unattributed] from

Other clubs on the chart -
Barcelona/ Nou Camp – Photo of ‘Mes Que Un Club’ ['More Than A Club'] tifo at Nou Camp [unattributed] from Interior photo of Nou Camp by MichaelMalin at Aerial Satellite image of Nou Camp from’s Eye satellite view.

Valencia/ Mestalla – Photo of Valencia fans [unattributed] from, Photo of Mestalla at sunset [unattributed] from, Aerial photo of Mestalla from

Málaga/ La Rosaleda (The Rose Garden) – Photo of Málaga fans [unattributed] from Interior photo of La Rosaleda by Morancio at Aerial photo of La Rosaleda [unattributed] from

Atlético Madrid/ Estadio Vicente Calderón – Photo of Atlético Madrid fans [unattributed] from via Interior photo of Estadio Vicente Calderon by FDV at Aerial image of Estadio Vicente Calderón from Peñ, here.

Levante/ Estadi Ciutat de València – Photo of Levante fans with balloons [unattributed] from Interior photo of Estadi Ciutat de Valencia by Iñaki Lasa Rodriguez at Aerial photo of Estadi Ciutat de València [unattributed] from

Athletic Bilbao/ San Mamés – Photo of Athletic Club Bilbao-supporter-group Albertzale Sur with banners and Basque flags from [two-thirds of the way down the page there]. Photo of interior of San Mamés by bcfcdavepics at Photo of exterior of San Mamés from adjacent rooftop by kammourewa at

August 21, 2011

Spain: the 3 promoted clubs from Segunda División to La Liga for the 2011-12 season.

Filed under: Spain — admin @ 2:58 pm

The 3 promoted clubs in La Liga

La Liga players, and Segunda División players, have gone on strike – from, from 19 Aug., by Sid Lowe, ‘Strike brings pain to Spain over players’ demand for emergency fund – La Liga faces prolonged shutdown while players’ union fights for a guarantee that protects all unpaid wages‘.

Some 200 players in La Liga and Segunda División are owed around 43 million Euros in back salary (!) {see this article, from the Rob Train blog at ESPN Soccernet, from 21 Aug., ‘Player strike delays La Liga season‘}.
[editor's note: the strike lasted just one week.]

Real Betis returns to La Liga after a 2-season spell back in the Segunda División. Betis had previously been in the second tier in 2000-01. Real Betis Balompié S.A.D were formed in 1907. The Seville club, with a fan base large enough to average around 38,000 per game in good seasons, has spent 46 seasons in the first division; the 2011-12 La Liga season, whenever it begins, will be Betis’ 47th season in the top flight. Seville, the 4th largest city in Spain, has a city population of around 704,000 and a metro-area population of around 1.5 million {2010 figures}. Real Betis won the 1934-35 La Liga season, for the club’s sole national title. That team was managed by the Irish international Patrick O’Connell. O’Connell had guided Betis out of the second division in 1932. Their 1935 championship came on the final day of the season, when they beat Santander and pipped Real Madrid by 1 point for the crown in the then-twelve-team-league. O’Connell left the next season to manage Barcelona. Betis have won 2 Copa del Rey – in 1977 and 2005. Betis’ 1977 cup win was over Athletic Bilbao, and needed 21 penalties and an 8-7 tally to decide the 2-2 match. Betis’ 2005 cup win saw them beat Osasuna 2-1 in aet. Betis play in the 52,000-capacity Estadio Benito Villamarín. [It is significant that while Betis play in stadium with a larger capacity than local rivals Sevilla FC (who play at the 48,500-capacity Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán), Sevilla have outdrawn Betis every season since 2002-03. Sevilla's highest crowds in the last decade were in 2006-07, when they drew 43,632 per game; while Betis' highest crowds in the last decade were also in 06/07, when they drew 38,737.] Betis averaged 31,095 per game last season, which is a huge figure for the Spanish second division, where often, no team draws over 20,000 per game, and where very few clubs can draw even 15,000 per game. Betis play in green-and-white vertically-striped jerseys – green and white are the colors of the flag of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. Betis’ green is usually a lighter shade of green than the Andalusian flag, although this season [2011-12], Betis have an alternate kit that includes a jersey in a darker shade of green – see this from

Rayo Vallecano are the self-styled left-wing football club of Madrid. Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, S.A.D. were formed in 1924. The team plays in white jerseys with a red sash. They play in the three-sided Estadio de Vallecas, which has a capacity of 15,500. The ground is in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas, in the south-east of Madrid, 9 metro stops and 15 minutes south of the Sol station in the center of Madrid [Madrid has a city population of around 3.2 million and a metro-area population of around 6.4 million {2010 figures}]. Rayo Vallecano have spent 11 seasons in La Liga; 2011-12 will be the club’s 12th season in the top flight. Their last spell in the top tier was a 4-season stint from 1999-2000 to 2002-03 that included the club’s best-ever finish (of 9th place in 1999-2000), and a UEFA Cup run that saw them reach the 2000-01 UEFA Cup quarterfinals (going out to the Basque side Deportivo Alavés). Rayo Vallecano’s relegation in 2003 was just the start of their troubles, and another relegation in 2004-05 saw Rayo Vallecano stuck in the third division, in Segunda División B. Rayo returned to the second division in 2008. The club had financial problems for years, but the situation got worse when, during Rayo Vallecano’s promotion-run last season, the squad was only sporadically being paid – like, circa March 2011, only twice in the past 9 months. [Note - this is an example of the main reason why players in Spain in the top two divisions have gone on strike.] The owner, Jose Maria Ruiz Mateos, had previous as a tax cheat and spent time in prison for that a few years earlier. He’s the sort of businessman that did quite well when Franco was in power, and supported the status quo back then. His politics are lovely, too, with him giving lavishly to the creepy far right-wing Opus Dei organization. [What a great businessman this guy is...he's a right winger who buys the most left-wing football club in the country. That's a like an Israeli consortium buying a hog farm.] By early in 2011, his holding company was in financial crisis, and for pretty much all season long, the players were not being paid. In March, Ruiz Matos’ wife, Maria Teresa Rivero, who was the figurehead at the top of the club, accused the players of not trying, after a 4-1 loss to a basement club. That’s some pretty twisted moral values right there – criticizing the commitment of your players whom you have been failing to pay. Next thing you know there’s fan demonstrations outside the owners’ domicile, and even player protests prior to match kick-offs. {See this article, from When Saturday Comes site, from 4 March 2011, by Huw Richards, ‘Rayo Vallecano held back by their owners‘.} Well, the good news is that that owner and his charming wife, after 20 years, are now gone. The new owner is a local businessman, Raúl Martín, age 36, who made his money in the printing industry. The bad news is that Rayo Vallecano are now in administration. Being in administration in Spain is not necessarily as onerous as it is in England, because there are never any points deductions that accompany going-into-administration, like in England. However, with administrators now trying to force a 70%-pay-cut on the players, it looks like even more players are set to walk. From the site, from 19 June 2011, ‘Rayo Vallecano reach La Liga after tumultuous period of absence‘.

Granada CF wouldn’t be back in La Liga after a 35-year spell in the lower leagues without the support of Serie A club Udinese. 12 players on loan from Udinese contributed to Granada’s second-straight promotion in 2010-11, and several of those Udinese loanees were starters for Granada. In fact, a Udinese loan player, the Nigerian FW Odion Ighalo, was responsible for the goal that got Granada promoted, in the play-off finals versus Elche. And the fourth-highest scorer in Segunda División last season, the Swiss-born/ethnic Spaniard Alexandre Geijo (who netted 24 times last season), was and still is also on loan from Udinese to Granada. All this was the result of Granada president Quique Pina, who was a player agent in Italy and whose previous job was with Udinese Calcio. Udinese have a rather small fan base that produces crowds of only around 17,000 per game, and this club from the north-east of Italy survives in the Italian top flight by eventually selling off a good portion of the talent they develop. So it’s a win-win situation that circumvents the no-promotions-allowed-for-B-teams rule, by Udinese essentially having their B team in another country. Udinese have also given financial support to Granada. Granada CF are from Granada, in the south of Spain in Andalusia, about 50 km. (30 miles) from the coast, and 212 km. (132 miles) east of Seville. The city of Granada has a population of around 237,000 {2007 figure}. Granada is at the confluence of 3 rivers at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. The city of Granada is 738 meters (2,421 feet) above sea level. The Moorish palace and fortress and present-day museum and tourist-mecca the Alhambra, built in the 14th Century, is in Granada. Granada CF plays at the smart and compact, small-yet-still-three-tiered Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, which has a capacity of 22,890 (but the stadium had been restricted to a 16,212 capacity while Granada was in the lower divisions). Granada drew 14,143 per game last season. Granada CF has a distinctive, narrow, shield-shaped crest in red and white, with angular and stylized G-C-F initials; and the team plays in red-and-white hooped jerseys and blue pants. Granada have spent 17 seasons in La Liga, and when the 2011-12 La Liga season gets underway, it will be Granada’s 18th season in the top flight. Granada Club de Fútbol were formed somewhat later than the bulk of top-division clubs in Spain, in 1931. It only took the club a decade to make it to the top flight – Granada made it’s first division debut in 1941-42. Granada’s most successful era was in the 1970s, with 8 seasons in La Liga then, including two 6th-place-finishes – in 1971-72 and 1973-74, which are Granada’s highest finishes.

Photo credits -
Rayo Vallecano…Aerial image of stadium [formely called Estadio Teresa Rivero] now called Estadio de Vallecas from’s Eye satellite view, here. 4 interior photos of Estadio de Vallecas from, ‘Vuestros estadios: Estadio Teresa River (Vallecas, Madrid)‘.

Real Betis…Aerial photo of stadium [formerly called Estadio Manuel Ruiz de Lopera] now called Estadio Benito Villamarín] by PrishtinaLund at, here. Exterior photo of stadium with houses in the foreground by nosbigdivad at, here. Exterior photo of stadium by Gregory Zeier at, here. Interior photo ofstadium by hombre at, here.

Granada…Aerial image of Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes from’s Eye satellite view, here. Panoramic image of Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes from, here. Photo during a match at Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes by Lanadahlauts at, here.

Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendances.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘2011-12 La Liga‘.
Thanks to for the base map of Spain, Demis Web Map Server.

July 26, 2011

Spain: final table of 2010-11, with clubs playing in Europe in UEFA competitions for 2011-12 / Plus, map with location of clubs in 2011-12 La Liga, with attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 8:45 pm

Spanish clubs playing in Europe

Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

The first chart (click on image above) shows the 7 Spanish clubs who qualified for Europe for 2011-12, including the 3 clubs which have qualified for the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League Group Stage – FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF, and Valencia CF.
The 6 Barcelona/Real Madrid match-ups this past season produced reams of headlines, and lots of histrionics…and in the end, Real Madrid – on paper – ended up 4 points shy of the Spanish title. But the actual gulf between Barcelona and Real Madrid is probably better depicted by the 5-0 trashing that Barça gave Real Madrid in November at Camp Nou. And sure, in the Spanish Cup competition, Real did eliminate Barça and then go on to win the Copa del Rey, but that’s the same trophy (with about the value of the English League Cup) that Real Madrid could have cared less about winning 5 or 10 or 15 years ago (it was Real Madrid’s first Copa del Rey title in 18 years).

At the top, left of the chart you can see photos and stats of the 7 Barcelona players most responsible for Barça’s offensive mastery and domination in both Spain and Europe – midfield general Xavi, greatest-player-on-Earth Lionel Messi, young phenom Pedro, attacking defender Dani Alves, scoring machine David Villa, midfield wizard Andrés Iniesta, and young talent Bojan Krkić [note: Roma purchased Bojan Krkić on 22 July for 12 milion Euros].. Manager Pep Guardiola is shown being tossed up into the air in celebration [I know, the photo is from 3 seasons ago, but I think the image really symbolizes FCB's über-champion-status these last few seasons].

That the cash-strapped Valencia were still able to win an automatic Champions League Group Stage berth is pretty impressive. So too is Villarreal’s return to the Champions League format. Villarreal proved that a club can have a long Europa League campaign and not see their domestic form suffer. El Submarino Amarillo (The Yellow Submarines), from a town of 51,000, made it all the way to the Europa League Semi-finals last season, yet were still able to keep hold of 4th place in La Liga, and that fourth CL spot. And thanks to past Champions League accomplishments (including being 2005-06 CL Semi-finalists and 2008-09 CL Quarter-finalists), Villarreal, and not Udinese, are a seeded team in the Play-off round draw, which will be on 5 August {see this}.

The 3 Spanish clubs that will be in the Europa League format are three clubs that all finished with 58 points – Sevilla FC, Athletic Club [Bilbao], and Club Atlético de Madrid [La Liga does not use goal difference as the first tie-breaker in the final standings, but rather head-to-head results]. Here is the list, which includes Sevilla and Bilbao, of teams that have qualified so far for the Europa League play-off round {see this}. Before that, Atlético Madrid must play in the Europa League Third qualifying round (1st Legs are on 28 July), and here are the match-ups – ‘2011-12 UEFA Europa League/Third qualifying round‘. Atlético Madrid will face the Norwegian club Strømsgodset IF.

[Note: to see a larger image of Sevilla FC's Art Deco mosaic at Estadio Ramón Sanchez Pizjúan, scroll down to the Sevilla section in the Photo credits below...]

Below is the second chart, which features a location-map of the 20 clubs that will be playing in the 2011-12 La Liga, as well as attendance data of these clubs from last season – including average attendance (home league matches), percent-capacity, and percentage-change in attendance from 2009-10.



Photo credits -
Photo of Xavi by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe via, here. Photo of Lionel Messi by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images Europe via, here.
Interior photo of Camp Nou from, here. Photo of Pedro by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via, here.
Photo of Dani Alves from, here. Photo of David Villa by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe via, here. Photo of Andrés Iniesta by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via, here. Bojan Krkic photo from Gallery, here.
New Barça jersey [2011-12 home jersey] from
Photo of Pep Guardioa being tossed airborne by Barça players by Tony Gentile/Reuters, here.
Aerial image of Camp Nou from’s Eye satellite view, here.

Real Madrid
Photo of Ultras Sur (far right-wing Real Madrid supporter-group) with flags and banners was unattributed at, here. Exterior photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebeu was unattributed from, here. Aerial photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebeu from, here.

Photo of Valencia fans from, here. Photo of Mestalla at sunset from, here. Aerial photo of Mestalla from, here.

Interior photo of El Madrigal from, here. Close-up-aerial photo of El Madrigal from, here. Aerial photo of El Madrigal from, here.

Photo of interior of Estadio Rámon Sánchez Pizjuán by inkboo at, here. Photo of mosaic on exterior wall of Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán by Paco Alfaro at, here. Aerial image of Estadio Ramón Sanchez Pizjuan [with view to the east] from’s Eye satellite view, here.
[Note: you can see a larger size image of the Sevilla FC mosaic by clicking here (photo by Paco Alfaro @, here).

Athletic Bilbao...
Photo of Athletic Club Bilbao-supporter-group Albertzale Sur with banners and Basque flags from, here [2/3 of way down page]. Photo of exterior of San Mamés from adjacent rooftop by kammourewa at, here. Aerial image of San Mamés from’s Eye satellite view, here.

Atlético Madrid
Photo of Atlético Madrid fans from, here. Interior photo of Estadio Vicente Calderon by FDV at, here. Aerial image of Estadio Vicente Calderón from Peñ, here.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘La Liga‘.
Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendances.
Thanks to for the base map of Spain, from Demis Web Map Server.
Thanks to, for stats.

August 27, 2010

Spain: La Liga, 2010-11 season – Stadia map.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 6:17 pm


Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

The 2010-11 season of La Liga begins on 28th August. Reigning champions are FC Barcelona. Copa del Rey [aka King's Cup] holders are Sevilla FC.

The map page features a photo of each club’s stadium; each club’s 2010-11 kits; each club’s major domestic titles; and the list of 2009-10 average attendances [domestic leagues] of the 20 clubs.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at and 2010-11 La Liga.
Primera División de España 2010/11.

Thanks to [Bird's Eye view] (link goes to Barcelona/Camp Nou photo), Thanks to (Deportivo La Coruña / Riazor photo).

Thanks to Gijón / El Molinón photo). Thanks to [translated] (Racing Santander / El Sardinero photo).

Thanks to [translated] (Athletic [Bilbao] / San Mames photo)]. Thanks to (Real Sociedad / Anoeta photo).

Thanks to (Osasuna / Reyna de Navarra photo). Thanks to frikfootball at Zaragoza / La Romareda photo).

Thanks to the comprehensive Spanish football database, BD, (Espanyol / Estadi Cornelia-El Prat, Mallorca / ONO Estadi and Villarreal / El Madrigal photos).

Thanks to EA UK Community, (Valencia / Mestalla photo). Thanks to the XV Mediterannean Games [2005] site (Almería / Estadio del Mediterráneo photo). Thanks to (Málaga / La Rosaleda [aka the Rose Garden] photo).

Thanks to MagicKiko at (Atlético Madrid / Estadio Vicente Calderón photo). Thanks to (Real Madrid / Estadio Santiago Bernebéu photo) [this page is cool because it shows the 5 earlier crests of Real Madrid].

July 27, 2010

Spain: the 3 promoted clubs from Segunda División to La Liga, for the 2010-11 season.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 6:28 pm

La Liga official site… [translated].

The map page shows the 3 clubs that were promoted in Spain, in June 2010, from the Segunda División to La Liga, for the 2010-11 season. 3 or 4 photos of each club’s stadium are shown on the map page, along with club info.
{2010-11 La Liga at}.
{Segunda División 2010-11 map from}.

Real Sociedad won the 2009-10 Segunda División title and return to La Liga after 3 seasons in the second division. Real Sociedad de Fútbol are from the Basque Country city of San Sebastián, which is on the southern coast of the Bay Of Biscay.

San Sebastián has a metropolitan area population of around 393,000 {European Spatial Planning Network figure from 2007; see this list}. San Sebastián is the 17th largest metro area in Spain, and the fourth largest city in the Greater Basque Region [Bilbao is the largest Basque city {see this}]. The Greater Region of the Basque Country [as defined by Basque nationalists] {see this} includes two political divisions of Spain…the Basque Country, and the Autonomous Community of Navarre; as well as three small historical provinces in France (which is sometimes called the Northern Basque country)…Lower Navarre, Labourd, and Soule.

Real Sociedad were one of the founding members, in 1929, of the first season of La Liga (which had 10 clubs playing 18 matches, and was won by Barcelona) {1929 – first season of Primera División [aka La Liga]}.

Real Sociedad has played 63 seasons in La Liga, and have two national titles to their name…back-to-back La Liga championships in 1980-81 and 1981-82. Real Sociedad have won 2 Copa del Rey titles. The two were won almost 8 decades apart…their first in 1909 [which preceded the club's official formation, but this title is ascribed by most to Real Sociedad] , and their second in 1987.

In 2002-03, a third La Liga title was within Real Sociedad’s grasp, but the Txuri-Urdin, or white-blue, agonizingly lost first place to Real Madrid on the 37th match day. That Real Sociedad squad featured local talent and Spanish national team World Cup winner Xabi Alonso, and the Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci. The club never recovered from that… they finished 15th the following season, and then had finishes of 14th place, then 16th place, and then 19th place and relegation in 2007.

Real Sociedad have a pretty sizable fan base. In their failed title run of 2002-03, they averaged 27,743 per game, and when they got relegted 4 seasons later, they drew 23,076. Last season in their promotion campaign, they drew 19,927 per game, second highest in the Segunda División (behind only the faltering, underacheiving giants Real Betis, who drew 28,730 for their second season in their latest spell in the second tier).

Real Sociedad play at Anoeta, which opened in 1993. Anoeta is one of those faceless structures which is basically a concrete doughnut. The 32,000-capacity municipal facility is also marred by it’s running track. The club had attempted to have a redevelopment of Anoeta, including an expansion and a removal of the running track, but the city government rejected that proposal 6 years ago. Anoeta is also sometimes used by two Basque rugby clubs, Biarritz (who are based just across the border in France), and Bayonne (also based in France). Here is another photo of Anoeta, from the site {Real Sociedad/Venue at}.

The other two clubs promoted to the 2010-11 La Liga are both from the Valencian Autonomous Community… Levante UD, who are from the city of Valencia, and Hércules CF, who are from the city of Alicante.
{Valencian Community []} ; {Valencian Community @ All About Spain site}.

Second place in the 2009-10 Segunda División were Valencian club Levante. [Valencia is the fourth largest city in Spain, and the third-largest metropolitan area. Valencia has a city population of around 814,000 {2009 figure}, and, as Valencia-Sagunto, it has a metro area population of around 1.5 million {ESOPN figure, 2007}.

Levante UD have only played 5 seasons in La Liga, and their fan base is dwarfed by local rivals Valencia CF...Levante drew only 7,814 per game last season, and during their last 2-season-spell in the top flight, they drew 16,799 per game in 2006-07 and 12,330 per game in 2007-08. If that 07/08 figure looks pretty low compared to the 06/07 figure, that's because most everyone knew that Levante were doomed to be relegated in 2008, seeing as how they were in a huge financial mess, and evidently had only been paying their players around 20% of their wages (wages were eventually payed via a quasi-testimonial match). Levante play at the municipal stadium, Ciutat de Valencia, which has a capacity of 23,500 and looks like it would be nice place to see a match, with deecnt, backed seats in stands pretty close to the pitch; and for a dry part of Spain it still does feature a certain percentage of covered seats (the second link right below shows a photo with a roofed part of the stand). Here is a good panoramic photo of 'Nou Estadi Ciutat de Valencia (Levante UD) ', by Sascha Drenth at . {Levante/Venue at}.

Levante do have one major title to their name, but seeing as they won the Copa de La España Libre title back in 1937, which was during the Spanish Civil War, and which ended up being a one-time only competition that comprised just 4 teams, you might want to put an asterisk next to that trophy. There were no La Liga seasons for three years (1936-37, 1937-38, and 1938-39), and there was no Cop del Rey competrition in 1937 and 1938. In 1937 Franco's army controlled several areas of the country (in the north and the south) which meant clubs from Seville (Real Betis and Sevilla), the Basque Country (Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad), and Galicia (Celta Vigo and Deportivo La Coruña) were cut off from clubs in the Republican-controlled areas. There were just 12 clubs in La Liga back then, so that meant half the league was cut off from the other half. The Republican strongholds included 3 of the 4 major cities...Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, and a good portion of the surrounding countryside. So La Liga was suspended for 3 seasons, and the Copa del Rey for 2 seasons. In the place of the League was the Mediterranean League (1937, won by Barcelona) and then the Catalan League (never completed). In place of the national Cup in 1937 was the Copa de la España Libre. Barcelona (wisely , I would say) opted to not enter this competition, and FC Barcelona toured Mexico that summer. In their place went Levante, and Levante went on the beat Valencia 1-0 in the final at Monjuic in Barcelona on 18 July, 1937. The 4 clubs that competed in the Copa de la España Libre {see this} were Valencia, Espanyol, Levante, and a small club from the Catalonian city of Girona, Girona FC. [Girona have never been in the top flight and are currently in Segunda División. Girona is 85 km. northeast of Barcelona].

Hércules, who have played 19 seasons of La Liga football, won the third promotion spot, and will return to La Liga after a 13-year absence (which included 5 seasons in the third division from 2000 to 2005). Hércules CF are from the Valencian Community city of Alicante, which is part of the Alicante-Elche metropolitan area, and is the 8th largest metro area in Spain, with a metro population of around 793,000 {ESOPN figure, 2007}. The city of Alicante itself has a population of around 335,000 {2009 figure}. Alicante is 125 km. (78 miles) south-west of Valencia. Hérclues play at the 30,000-capacity Estadio José Rico Pérez, which might seem rather large for a club that has yet to play two decades worth of seasons in the top top flight (a third division club, Alicante CF, also uses the stadium). But the Estadio José Rico Pérez (built in 1974) is that large because it was one of the venues for the 1982 World Cup. Anyway, seeing as how Hércules drew 14,186 per game last season, and factoring in the inevitable post-promotion-attendance-increase, I don’t think the stadium will be that empty this season. Here is another photo of the stadium {Hércules/Venue at}. It looks like a stadium in Argentina, with the one tall and steep stand, and all the stands so close to the pitch.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at and,
2010-11 La Liga.
Primera División de España [].
Thanks to, for the 09/10 final table.
Thanks to, for the blank map of Spain.
Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendance figures, E-F-S, attendances/Espana.

June 15, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup: Spain, 23-man roster.

Filed under: FIFA World Cup, 2010,Spain — admin @ 11:44 am

Note: if you want to see my latest post on Spanish 1st division football (aka La Liga), click on the following…

Spain 2010 World Cup squad.

The map shows the birthplaces of the players on the Spain national football team which played in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Spain went on to win their first World Cup title, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final, with the winning goal scored by MF Andrés Iniesta in the 116th minute of AET.
At the bottom left of the map page are photos of all the Spain national team players who made appearances in the 2010 World Cup (20 player photos, all in the gear of each player’s professional club). International appearances (aka caps) and international goals are up to date as of 11th July, 2010 (that is, the close of the 2010 World Cup).
Professional clubs of the Spain squad…
In Spain:
FC Barcelona – 8 players.
Real Madrid CF – 5 players.
Valencia CF – 3 players.
Athletic Club [Bilbao] – 2 players.
Sevilla FC – 1 player.
Villarreal CF – 1 player.

In England:
Liverpool FC – 2 players.
Arsenal FC – 1 player.
From the Knowledge, from 7 July, 2010, by John Ashdown, ‘ Are Spain the most one-club reliant team in World Cup history?‘.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, Spain national football team.
Thanks to, for the base map of Spain. Thanks to UK Soccer, for the Spain jerseys.
Thanks to DirtyTackle site, for the star-above-the-crest idea.

August 26, 2009

Spain, La Liga 2009-2010 season: Map and chart, with cities represented; and attendances from 08/09.

Filed under: Spain — admin @ 4:18 pm


Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

At the far right,  average attendances from last season are shown via proportionally sized club crests.  At the lower right-center is the list of the cities in Spain which have clubs in the 2009-2010 La Liga season.  Here is the list I used for city/metro area population and rank {click here (‘List of metropolitan areas in Spain by populatiion’,  from}. 

The 09/10 La Liga season starts on Saturday,  29th August,  with two matches;  and Sunday the 30th,  with 8 matches.  Here are fixtures {click here (BBC)}.

‘La Liga 2009-2010: A Season Preview (Part One)’, by Andy Pineda at La Liga {click here}.  (Part Two), {click here}.

Thanks to the European Football Statistics site,  for the attendance figures {click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (set at La Liga 2009-10 page)}.   Thanks to European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESOPN) {click here}. 

June 13, 2009

Spain: the 3 promoted clubs in the 2008-09 season, from the Segunda Division to La Liga.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 4:02 pm


One more weekend remains in Spain’s Segunda Division,  but all 3 clubs at the top have clinched promotion…CD Tenerife,  Xerez CD,  and Real Zaragoza. 

CD Tenerife are the most successful football club from the Canary Islands. The club plays in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the second-most populous city in the autonomous community of the Canary Islands. Its metro-area has a population of 399,000 (2008 estimate).  CD Tenerife count a significant amount of English expatriates as supporters;  see this site { }.  CD Tenerife have spent 12 seasons in La Liga. Tenerife’s second-to-last spell in La Liga included two impressive UEFA Cup runs (making it to the round of 16 in 1992,  and to the semi-finals in 1995),  but they were relegated in 1999.  Tenerife gained promotion two seasons later,  but were relegated the next year.  They drew 16,684 in 2001-02,  their last season in La Liga.  Tenerife will probably surpass that figure in 2009-10,  seeing as how they drew in the high 15,000′s this season in the 2nd division.     

Xerez CD are from Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia,  57 miles from Gibraltar.  The region got an early start in football,  in the late nineteenth century (owing to the sherry production in the area,  which drew an English presence),  and Xerez Fútbol Club was founded in 1909.  This club merged with Club Deportivo Jerez in 1947 to create Xerez Club Deportivo.   The club has never been in the first division.  Xerez drew 9,110 per game in 2008-09.

Real Zaragoza bounces straight back to La Liga after one season in the Segunda Division.  The club is from the city of Zaragoza,  which is in the autonomous community and former kingdom of Aragon.  The city is the fifth largest in Spain, with a population of 682,000,  and a metropolitan population of 783,000 (2006 estimates).  The club has spent 54 seasons in the first division,  and the La Liga all-time table has Real Zaragoza in the 9th position {see this}.  The club could be described as cup specialists,  as they have never really challenged for the La Liga title (with just one second place finish),  but have won the Copa del Rey 6 times (most recently in 2004).  Zaragoza play at La Romareda,  which has a capacity of 34,596.  The club drew 30,711 in 2007-08,  their last season in La Liga.  

Thanks to,  for Segunda Division attendance figures {click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikimedia {click here (2009-2010 La Liga page)}.

December 12, 2008

Spain: Clubs in La Liga, by Autonomous Communities.

Filed under: Spain — admin @ 11:39 am


Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

The autonomous communities of Spain underscore how decentralized the country is.  In fact,  the central government of Spain accounts for just 18% of public spending,  while 38% is allocated to the regional governments,  13% to the local councils,  and 31% to the social security system  {see this}.

The 17 autonomous communities are the first level of political sub-division in Spain.  The roots of the autonomous community system can be traced to the late nineteenth century,  following Spain’s defeat to the United States in the Spanish-American War.  Many viewed the country’s highly centralized political and economic systems as antiquated and unworkable. The Encyclopaedia Britannica states: “Groups in Catalonia,  the Basque region,  and Galicia who wanted to free their regions from the ‘Castilian corpse’ began movements for regional autonomy,  and a number of influential regional political parties consolidated their strength.”  {see this}.

This ultimately led to the Second Spanish Republic,  established in 1931 {see this}.  The push for regional autonomy,  of course,  was set back by the outcome of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939),  and the nationalist and Fascist dictatorship of Genralissimo Francisco Franco (from the end of the civil war to his death in 1975).  

In 1978 the framework was established for the autonomous communities.  The three regions which had long pushed for more autonomy or even outright independance… Catalonia,  the Basque Provinces,  and Galicia… were designated “historical nationalities”.  These three regions were permitted to gain autonomy through a rapid and simplified process:  Catalonia and the Basque Country by 1979,  and Galicia by 1981.  By May, 1983, the entire country was divided into the 17 autonomous communities.  Two colonial possessions in Africa,  on the southern Meditterrranean coast,  were designated autonomous cities in 1995:  Ceuta {see this} and Melilla {see this}.

Andalusia  (Andalucia in Spanish )  is the most populous, and second largest autonomous community.  The roots of the green and white in the Andalucian flag can be traced all the way back to the late 12th century,  during the battle of Alarcos (1195)  {see this (from the Historical Flags site) }.   This was during the Almohad  Dynasty (1121-1269)  {see this}.   The Reconquista gradually pushed back the Moorish domination of southern and central Spain until all that remained by 1390 was the kingdom of Granada  {see this time-lapse map: Progress of the Reconquista}.   The Emirate of Granada {see this} existed for 264 years,  in the latter decades as a vassal to Castile.  Control of the region was surrendered to King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella (monarchs of Castile) in 1492.   The flag for Andalucia maintains the green of the Moorish past,  and indeed the white is for the Uymayid Empire,  of which Andalucia was a part of prior to the Reconquista  {again,  see this,  specifically the 3rd proposed flag listed (ie, the flag of Andalusia)}.  The green bands represent the Guadiana and Guadalquivir Rivers. 


There are 5 clubs from Andalusia currently in Spain’s top football league,  the Liga Futbol Profesional Primera Division (aka “La Liga”).  They are Real Betis,  and Sevilla FC  (both from the city of Sevilla);  RC Recreativo de Huelva,  from western Andalusia;  Malaga CF;  and UD Almeria,  from eastern Andalusia.

Spain’s capital,  Madrid ,  is an autonomous community of the same name.  There are 3 clubs currently in La Liga from Madrid:  Real Madrid CFAtletico de Madrid,  both from Madrid proper;  and Getafe CF,  which is just south of the central city.  Real Madrid evokes the concept of a strong centralized Spain with the mulberry band of the Region of Castile (since 2001, the color of the band in the crest has been altered slightly to a more bluish-purple).   Historically, the Kingdom of Castile and its people were considered to be the main architects of the Spanish State,  through expansion to the south (with the expulsion of the Muslim Moors),  and the annexation of their smaller eastern and western neighbors (through wars,  royal marriages,  and assimilation).    Franco supported Real Madrid,  indeed,  so did much of the entire upper-echelon of the central government in the era from post-WW II to the mid-1970s.  However,  there is little evidence that Franco or the government had any comprehensive influence on the success of Real Madrid,  as did regimes towards chosen clubs in other countries (such as East Germany) which similarly suffered under corrupt and repressive governments.  That being said,  it is unquestionable that Franco had a hand in forcing Barcelona to give up claims that they had the right to sign the Argentinian midfielder Alfredo di Stefano in 1953 {see this, specifically the bottom half of the third paragraph}.  Di Stefano went on to lead and captain Real Madrid throughout their glory days in the mid 1950s and early 1960s,  and he deserves credit for being a big part of what made Real Madrid the huge club that they are today.   

Catalonia  (Catalunya  in Catalonian ) is the second most populous autonomous community.   Here is Wikipedia’s page on Catalonia  {Click here}.   FC Barcelona incorporates the Catalan flag in its crest,  and the club considers itself the ‘national’ football club of Catalonia.   RCD Espanyol has about one-third the fan base as FC Barcelona (2007-08 average attendances: FC Barcelona, 67,560 / RCD Espanyol, 21,870).  Espanyol’s full name is translated as Royal Spanish Sports Club of Barcelona.  The club used the Catalan spelling of its name from 1931 to 1939,  but was then forced to change back to the Spanish during the Franco era as part of a central government repression on regionalist identity.  In 1995,  the official club name was changed again,  back to the Catalonian language.

The rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has a huge underlying subtext…that of the overall tension between a strong central Spainish state (as represented by Real Madrid) versus the push for autonomy and/ or independence of the regions (as represented by FC Barcelona). And there is a further element to this, as pointed out in the following article at, ‘To determine whether someone favors right-wing or left-wing politics in Spain can be found out by asking them which is their second favorite team. If they answer ‘Real Madrid’ they are right-wing and if they answer ‘FC Barcelona’ they are almost certainly left-wing.’(quote from ‘Politics – Deep in the veins of Spanish football‘ at

The Valencian Community  is located on Spain’s eastern Mediterannean coast,  and is comprised of three provinces,  two of which can boast of a club currently in La Liga.  The province of Valencia is home to Valencia CF.  Valencia are the third-most supported club in Spain,  after Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.  Valencia’s club crest features the colors of the Valencian flag (the bat is also in the city’s coat of arms {see this}).   Levante UD also hail from the city of Valencia;  they were relegated from La Liga in the spring of 2008.   The province of Castellon is home to Villarreal CF.  This club’s nickname is El Submarino Amarillo (the Yellow Submarine),  for their all-yellow kit.  Villarreal also has the Valencian flag’s colors in their crest.   Villarreal are currently near the top of the table,  remarkable for a club whose hometown is not on most maps (the population of Vila-real is around 49,000).   The southern-most province of the Valencian Community is Albacete,  whose club of the same name were last in the top flight in 2006.

Castile and Leon  (in English: castle and lion) is the largest autonomous community in size.  It is also one of the largest subdivisions in the European Union.  The name castile has its origins in the many castles that defended the region in the Middle Ages during the Reconquista.   Two clubs from this subdivision are currently in La Liga:   Real Valladolid,  and the small club from Soria called CD Numancia.

Galicia  is in northwest Spain:  Deportiva La Coruna are from here.  Celta Vigo,  who were just relegated last spring,  also call this region home.

Asturias  is east of Galicia:  home of Real Sporting de Gijon.  This club was just promoted,  but it has a considerable fan base,  and has spent 37 seasons in the first division.

Cantabria  is east of Asturias.   Real Racing Club de Santander call this region home.

The Basque Country  currently has one club in La Liga:  Athletic Bilbao.   This storied, never-relegated club only signs players from the 4 Basque provinces in Spain:  Biscay,  Guipuzcoa,  Alava,  and Navarre,  plus the 3 Basque provinces in France:  Labourd,  Soule,  and Lower Navarre.   Real Sociedad are also from the Basque Country;  they were relegated in 2007.  Likewise,  Deportivo Alaves,  who were relegated in 2006. [Likewise SD Eibar, who won promotion to La Liga for the first-time-ever for 2014-15, becoming the smallest club to ever play in the Spanish 1st division (with crowds in the 3-K-range when promoted).]

Navarre  is not officially part of the Basque Country,  but a map of predominantly Basque-speaking areas of the region shows how strong the Basque influence is here,  especially in the north of Navarre {see this}.  CA Osasuna hail from this region,  in the city of Pamplona.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages in Wikipedia that were referenced,  and to the Encyclopaedia Britannica on-line.  Thanks to David Goldblatt,  and his book “The Ball Is Round,  A Global History of Football”,  published by Penguin Books.  Thanks to  the Flags of the World site  {Click here}.   Thanks to the Albion Road site  {the link is set to La Liga clubs…Click here}.

August 29, 2008

Spain: La Liga, Clubs in the 2008-09 Season (with 07/08 Final Standings Chart, and 07/08 Attendance Map).

Filed under: Spain — admin @ 10:19 pm

[Please note: to see my newest post on football in Spain, click the 'Spain' category.]

Spain’s Liga de Futbol Professional, almost universally known as La Liga, begins its 78th season on the weekend of 30th and 31st August.  

The reigning champions are Real Madrid.  The giant club from the capital city has won the title 31 times.  Barcelona (second on the list, with 18 titles) had a disorganized season in 07/08, and hope to regroup.  In fact they finished in 3rd place;  2nd place went to plucky Villarreal, who continue to punch above their weight.  This is a club from a small town of 48,000, 35 miles north of Valencia.  That they could actually be in Spain’s top flight is remarkable enough.  But to make it to the Champions League Semi-Finals (in 2005-’06), and now place second in La Liga, is amazing.  In 1999-2000, the season that they were first promoted to La Liga, Villarreal were drawing only around 8,ooo per game (they draw around 19,000 these days).

In the Group Stage of the 2008-’09 Champions League,  Real Madrid are in Group H,  with Juventus,  Zenit St. Petersburg,  and BATE Borisov (of Belarus).    Villarreal are in Group E,  with Manchester United,  Celtic, and  AaB Aalborg (of Denmark).   Barcelona are in Group C,  with Sporting [Lisbon],  Shakhtar Donetsk (of Ukraine),  and FC Basel (of Switzerland).   Atletico Madrid are in Group D (see below).  

Fourth place went to perennial underachievers Atletico Madrid, who seem poised to begin a new, more successful chapter in their club’s history, with their qualification for the Group Stage of the Champions League.  Wednesday, Atletico won 4-0 over the German club FC Schalke 04 (who also are a big club that has underachieved in the recent past).  This clinched advancement to the holy grail of the Champions League.  Atletico Madrid have been drawn into a very competive group, with Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, and Marseille.  All four of these clubs have a viable shot at advancement {See this (from the UEFA site)}.

Fifth place went to Sevilla, who failed to equal their impressive 3rd place finish of 06/07, and will have to content themselves with a 1st Round UEFA Cup appearance (a competition which they won, twice straight, in 2005 and 2006). 

Sixth place went to Racing Santander.  This is a  medium sized club (with an average gate of around 17,000) whose defining characteristic has been the ability to survive the drop, year after year, without any sort of distinction.  So their first-ever qualification for the UEFA Cup is definitely cause for celebration up north in Cantabria.

Spain’s final UEFA Cup spot went to Valencia, who had a disasterous La Liga season in 07/08 (with a 10th place finish).  But Valencia salvaged the season with a win over Getafe in the Copa del Rey, thus qualifiying them for European competition.

There is one more Spanish club to qualify for the UEFA Cup, via the Intertoto Cup:  Deportivo La Coruna.    {Click here to see  all the clubs in the 08/09 UEFA Cup.}

Here are the final standings from La Liga 07/08 {Click here (ESPN Soccer Net)}.

Here are the leading scorers from 07/08 {Click here}.

Thanks to Demis, of the Netherlands, for the base map  {Click here}.     Thanks to European Football Statistics  {Click here}, for the attendance figures.    Thanks to Ahmed, at Soccer Lens, for linking up with, and featuring, some of my recent maps.

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