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Author Archive for Sid Lowe

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The heat is on as conflict deepens in fight for Spanish football’s soul | Sid Lowe

Temperatures are rising on and off the pitch, with opposition building to that US plan and kick-off times doing little to helpAt the one end of the ground that is an end and not just a wall, a small gang of Rayo Vallecano fans in bright high-vis jacket…

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Spain looks north as Sociedad and Athletic take giants to the wire

Two historic, special clubs battled Madrid and Barça at grounds that embrace traditions rather than turn their backs on itIt’s exactly 100km from Anoeta to San Mamés as the car drives, passing Ipurúa halfway, sitting pretty in the Ego valley. Visible f…

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Spain looks north as Sociedad and Athletic take giants to the wire

Two historic, special clubs battled Madrid and Barça at grounds that embrace traditions rather than turn their backs on itIt’s exactly 100km from Anoeta to San Mamés as the car drives, passing Ipurúa halfway, sitting pretty in the Ego valley. Visible f…

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A different Spain will turn up at Wembley as Luis Enrique looks for more of the same | Sid Lowe

Only two players will be available to face England at Wembley on Saturday from the golden era when Spain won three tournaments in a row from 2008Slowly time slips away, and so do the men who led Spain to become the best team in the world. There was a f…

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Santi Cazorla: ‘Every time they sewed me up, it split again, more liquid’

The midfielder is starring for Villarreal after a horror injury ended his Arsenal career. He tells of being cut up and put together again, his feelings for his former club and how close he came to retiring“I’m a jigsaw puzzle,” Santi Cazorla says. Ther…

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Santi Cazorla: ‘Every time they sewed me up, it split again, more liquid’

The midfielder is starring for Villarreal after a horror injury ended his Arsenal career. He tells of being cut up and put together again, his feelings for his former club and how close he came to retiring“I’m a jigsaw puzzle,” Santi Cazorla says. Ther…

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From Ibrox abuse to sacking Lopetegui: meet the head of Spain’s FA

Luis Rubiales, a former Hamilton Academical centre-back, does not hold back in his assessment of football’s image and La Liga’s plans to take a game to the USThe way Luis Rubiales remembers it, the last song dedicated to him in a football stadium ran: …

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‘I know I can leave football a happy man’: Joaquín wins the derby for Betis

There may not be many more Seville derbies for Joaquín Sánchez, but even at 37 he managed to settle the latest oneAt the end of the final training session before the Seville derby, coach and captain sat on the bench together at the Benito Villamarín, s…

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‘I know I can leave football a happy man’: Joaquín wins the derby for Betis

There may not be many more Seville derbies for Joaquín Sánchez, but even at 37 he managed to settle the latest oneAt the end of the final training session before the Seville derby, coach and captain sat on the bench together at the Benito Villamarín, s…

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Earth moves under Valladolid’s feet to spoil La Liga return against Barcelona | Sid Lowe

Shambolic pitch and a late equaliser ruled out by VAR put a dampener on the little club’s first night back in the big timeReal Valladolid’s big night had almost arrived but the pitch hadn’t. The first delivery, from down the road in Ávila, was no good …

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Patrick Roberts reaping rewards of Girona’s complex City connection | Sid Lowe

Roberts will take on Real Madrid and Barcelona as Girona’s latest Manchester City loanee but the relationship between the two clubs isn’t always straightforwardPatrick Roberts did not have to wait long. Announced as Girona’s first brand new summer sign…

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La Liga returns as modest Huesca make a major impact | Sid Lowe

Huesca are the 63rd team to make it up to primera and they marked their first game there with an historic successOn the opening day of the season, the happiest boy in the Basque country was in the stand on Indalezio Ojanguren street, when his cool olde…

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Cristiano Ronaldo at Madrid was more than just goals. The end feels cold | Sid Lowe

Four-hundred-and-fifty-one goals. Forty-four hat-tricks. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid stats are so absurd they threaten to overshadow what he actually did for the club‘Your goals, your numbers and everything we’ve won together speak for themselves,”…

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Tireless Ivan Rakitic happy to be on the spot for Croatia against England

Midfielder has put Croatia through on penalties in the last two rounds and thrives in partnership with Luka ModricIvan Rakitic has not always been the coolest man in world football. Maybe it was the dog that did it, maybe it was his wife, or maybe it w…

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Thiago Alcántara: ‘The most important thing in football is thinking fast’

The Spain midfielder admits his team are not at the top of their game but says they have ‘an enormous margin for improvement’Iker Casillas lifted the World Cup coated in olive oil. He did from where Thiago Alcântara was sitting anyway. Spain against th…

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Millwall to a miracle: the Englishman behind Panama’s World Cup dream

When Gary Stempel returned to coach football in his native country in 2009 he could not have envisaged quite how far the journey would take him“I thought: ‘Oh my God. Román Torres. Look where you are, mate. This is it.’” There were three minutes left i…

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Serbia to protest about use of Albanian symbol by Switzerland players

Players of Kosovan heritage accused of inflaming political tensions when celebrating goalThe Serbian Football Association has said it will make a formal complaint to Fifa after Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals durin…

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‘Like something handed down by God’ – how Panama reached the World Cup | Sid Lowe

Crying ballboys kicked balls into the stands, someone turned the lights out and a woman fainted on the pitch as Panama made it to their first finals by the skin of their teeth“When the goal went in, I could have gone out and got so drunk I wouldn’t hav…

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Uruguay’s Diego Godín: ‘They kicked Luis Suárez out like a dog. It was unjust, disproportionate’

In an exclusive interview the Atlético Madrid defender discusses what happened in Brazil 2014, the brutality of ‘Baby Football’ in Uruguay and his affection for Óscar TabárezAs the Uruguay team boarded their plane bound for the World Cup, elaborate the…

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Panama’s Julio Dely Valdés: ‘We’ve taken a giant leap – this is huge’

Panama’s greatest ever player discusses what it means for them to be at the World Cup, four years after narrowly missing outHe had seen them sobbing four years earlier and now he watched in silence as the tears returned, but it was different this time….