Manel takes his blue and red scarf hanging over the head of his bed. He looks once more at the poster of the FC Barcelona footballer Xavi Hernández hanging on the wall over the desk where he does his schoolwork. It is late for him; Wednesday, 8 in the evening. Tomorrow is a school day but his father, who takes his hand leaving the house, will make an exception today. Fútbol Club Barcelona is playing to stay in the King’s Cup against Real Madrid, and the event is the peak of rivalry in Spanish football and one of the greatest classics in world sport. They live very near Camp Nou, so they go to the stadium on foot. Almost as soon as they leave the house they begin to see other families where everyone is wearing the shirt of the city’s most successful club.
Tens of thousands of homes repeat this almost liturgical ritual in the hours leading up to Barça’s home games. The next thing is to fill up with a sandwich and a drink in one of the hundreds of bars around Les Corts, the district of the Barcelona Temple, on the way to the gates to the ground. “My friends and I like to have a stroll around the stadium to see what the people are like, to listen to the songs and soak up the atmosphere. This gives us an idea of whether there are good or bad vibrations about the game”, says Daniel, a member of F. C. Barcelona. Once tradition has been observed, inside.
The experience of passing the stadium’s inner galleries and coming out onto the stands is overwhelming and exciting. The game starts and along with it, the duel of possibly the two best football teams on Earth at the present time. Barça for several years have been the mirror to look into with regard to footballing style, thanks to its small footballers’ devilish touch game.
The game is over and Manel goes home with his father, and straight to bed when he arrives. Tomorrow he will be a little sleepy at school but will surely have dreamt that one day he will do something magic in Camp Nou, just like his idol Xavi, and will run over to the stands to celebrate it with the fans.
Images: Fotografías: FC Barcelona