Spain

When a coin toss kept Spain out of the World Cup

This day in football history On 17 March 1954, Spain and Turkey met in Rome for a World Cup qualifying play-off, having split their two previous matches with one win apiece. With a World Cup trip at stake, the teams battled to a 2–2 draw through extra time, so the winner was decided by a coin …

When Raúl became Spain’s top scorer

This day in football history On 12 February 2003, Raúl González scored two goals in a 3–1 win over Germany to become Spain’s all-time top scorer. Raúl, who played 16 seasons at Real Madrid before moving to Schalke in 2010, made his first full international appearance in 1996. He scored only five times in his first …

Sergio Ramos traded his shirt for a pork dish

The art of the deal, Andalusian style (Pepe Ortiz Vejer/Twitter) Following Real Madrid’s 3–0 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday, Sergio Ramos made a point of jogging over to a very specific fan in order to complete a very unusual exchange. The fan had been holding a banner that read “Sergio, if you give me …

How Barcelona got their motto

This day in football history On 17 January 1968, new Barcelona president Narcís de Carreras gave a speech that prompted the club’s motto “more than a club.” A lawyer by profession, Carreras had been involved with the club for some time, twice serving as vice president under Agustí Montal and Enric Martí. When the latter resigned …

Lionel Messi saves the day, volume 437

A 90th-minute free kick with a chance to equalize? You know how this ends (FC Barcelona/Twitter) When someone is in mortal danger in the city of Metropolis, you know that Superman is going to swoop down and save them. There is no question that this will happen, but the reliable inevitability of Superman saving the day …

Fernando Torres and the perils of coming home

Rekindling old relationships between players and clubs can be difficult, but Fernando Torres has pulled it off (Atletico Madrid) In July of 2007, Atletico Madrid’s Fernando Torres bid adios to the only club he ever knew. After seven years on the first squad and after becoming the team’s youngest captain at the tender age of 19, …