The warmth of the reception our special guests received in Bilbao, and the spectacular atmosphere for Athletic Club v Real Madrid at San Mamés were the crowning moments of an exciting weekend in the north of Spain.
Eight competition winners and four journalists from the official LaLiga broadcasters in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy and Georgia started their build up to the encounter by learning a little about the background and history behind one of the classic games of Spanish football.
The recently opened Athletic Club museum helped explain why the side’s unique history marks them out as special, and a tour of the 54,000-seat stadium, the dressing rooms and press area gave everyone an idea of what would be in store for them the following day. On the morning of the game, a walking tour showed off the major sites of one of Spain’s most emblematic cities including the Guggenheim Museum, the old town and the Mercado de la Ribera.
A meeting with two official supporters’ clubs of Athletic and Real Madrid allowed the guests to chat with fans of two of Spain’s biggest teams, and then it was off to the stadium to experience a LaLiga match from a once-in-a-lifetime perspective. This included seeing stars such as Iñaki Williams and Aritz Aduriz, and Cristiano Ronaldo and Isco arriving at the stadium from a privileged position near the dressing rooms, to watching them warm up pitchside before the game.
The match may have finished goalless, but it delivered in terms of atmosphere, tension and drama, while some of the guests even enjoyed trying their hand at commentating in the second half. Afterwards, there was an opportunity for the journalists to gain access to the players in the press area for some exclusive material. The verdict at the end was unanimous…when can we do this again!
© LaLiga - Year 2017