Girona offer Catalans pride and escape after downing powerhouse Madrid | Sid Lowe

As the crisis in Catalonia reached fever pitch outside the ground, the minnows of Girona beat Real Madrid in a symbolic but richly-deserved win

Pablo Machín stood by the table football in the middle of the Montilivi dressing room where two teams lined up rigidly in 3-3-4, one in blue, the other in white, and told his players – the real ones in red – they should be proud. He didn’t speak for long, just a few seconds standing there among the socks, bandages and bottles on the floor, and when he finished there was applause from everyone and for everyone. There was no cava, Girona’s coach said, but there was a celebration and, he admitted, euphoria. “Maybe it’s the coach’s job to calm things down, but I want them to enjoy this,” he explained. This was big, after all, and they had earned it. So they did enjoy it, hugging and cheering.

“The manager told us it would be a party,” midfielder Álex Granell said. “I think he meant for the fans, but in the end it was for us too.” Outside, supporters sang the club anthem as they headed towards the Catalan town. “If they’d told me three years ago that I’d see that happen one day, I’d have asked what world they’re living in,” Machín admitted. Never mind what world, for the last two days most of them couldn’t have told him for sure what country they were living in, but they did know they were happy and that was what mattered most. The players were too, exhausted but elated. At the whistle they could barely walk but, Portu insisted: “After a game like that, you feel like playing another one straight away.”

Continue reading...

About the Author

Comments are closed.