The Best Bilateral Sporting Relation
Just like with most European countries, Spain’s national sport is football. However, they also love their basketball and tennis (after all, they are the nation that gave the world Rafael Nadal). Just like in their football league, Real Madrid and Barcelona have it against each other and are the top teams in Spain for basketball. The Spanish national basketball league has had a long stand-off against the English team who also longs to claim title after title - and let us not forget that England’s Daniel Clark has his history with a handful of Spanish teams. But then again, it is really football everyone is thinking about, and given the fact that they have some of the best clubs on a global level, it comes as no surprise that they are home to an outstanding number of English football players, just like the Premier League boasts hundreds of Spanish futbolistas. In fact, we would dare to say that it is one of the countries that exports more players to the Premier League worldwide.
Just in 2016, there were 47 Spanish nationals sporting Premier League jerseys. That’s a lot. Xabi Alonso played for Liverpool for 5 seasons, Álvaro Arbeloa was just transferred from Real Madrid to West Ham United just this year. Cesar Azpilicueta has been sporting Chelsea’s jersey since 2012, and since the same year, Santi Cazorla has been one of the most important midfielders for Arsenal. Let’s not forget his colleague Diego Costa who joined the London-based team in 2014 after a one-season loan in Rayo Vallecano from Atlético de Madrid. Perhaps one of the top goalies in the world (and one that Real Madrid was offering a lot of money for), is David de Gea, who has been defending Manchester United’s goal since 2011. The list goes on; Cesc Fábregas for Chelsea, Ander Herrera for Man U, Fernando Hierro marched amongst the Bolton Wanderers after being a Real Madrid galáctico. Lucas Pérez for Arsenal, Juan Mata for Manchester United, Fernando Morientes for Liverpool, Jesús Navas for Man City, Pedro for Chelsea, Gerard Piqué for Man U and David Silva for Man City.
Of course, this is without overlooking Fernando Torres who sported Liverpool’s jersey for four years and Chelsea’s for another four before being sent to Italy’s Milan and then back to Madrid to play for Atlético de Madrid. The bilateral sporting relation between Spain and the UK is not only evident for its exchange of players (don’t forget David Beckham and Michael Owen sporting Real Madrid’s merengue jerseys), but also because of its proximity. Whatever the future holds for Spanish athletes, it can never look bad; after all, they have proven that things such as triathlons, cyclism, basketball, tennis, football, and even rugby - yes, they’ve taken that from the UK, as well - are just a quick obstacle for them to overcome and excel at.