The Spanish Language Blog

Soccer in Spain, as in the Netherlands, is a true phenomenon. Within Spanish soccer, there are many different Spanish soccer teams with many different leagues as well.

Soccer is a national sport and is played throughout the country. In fact, there are thousands of Spanish soccer teams all competing in a league. Surely the clubs in the Primerá División (premier league) receive the most interest. Surely the top five clubs in Spanish soccer are Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Valencia CF, Levante and Athletic Bilbao.

In the beginning of Spanish soccer, Spanish soccer clubs could not hire foreign footballers. However, this changed after 2003, but to this day a maximum of 3 foreign footballers are allowed to play per club. This is because Spain wants to play Spanish soccer with Spanish footballers as much as possible.

Many Dutch people can still remember the 2010 World Cup final on July 11. It was the Netherlands against Spain, in which the Netherlands lost in the extension due to a goal by the Spanish soccer player Andrés Iniesta. While most Dutch people drifted home, there was a big party in Spain.

Spain's national team is known by the names La Furia Roja (the Red Furie) and La Selección (the Selection). Spain has participated in a total of 11 World Championships, but has only been World Champion once (July 11, 2010). Furthermore, Spain was European Champion twice (1964 (very first time in European Championship history) and 2008).

In general, Spain's youth teams perform better than the first team. These have multiple titles at the global and European level. There is also women's soccer, these play in the Liga Femenina.

The Spanish league is played in every region in Spain. There are a total of five different leagues. The highest and national league is the Primera División. The winner of this gets to call himself national champion, the three worst get relegated. Furthermore, you have the Segunda División A, Segunda División B, Tercera División and the Spanish amateur divisions (also called Preferente). You cannot play more than one team in a given division. Outside the Spanish league, there are also cup tournaments. The biggest is the Copa del Rey and is held among the Primera División, Segunda A and Segunda B. Then you also have the Supercopa de España, which is played between the cup winner and the national champion of that year. In 2000, the final of the UEFA Champions League (soccer tournament among all European soccer clubs) had a first, for the first time in history two soccer clubs (Real Madrid and Valencia CF) from the same country faced each other.

Some famous Spanish soccer players are: Andoni Zubizarreta (goalkeeper with most international matches, 126, retired), David Villa (top scorer and active player with FC Barcelona), Iker Casillas (goalkeeper with Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (defender with FC Barcelona), Carles Puyol (defender and captain of FC Barcelona). All famous and infamous among the Dutch.

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