I was going to write my EPL Power Poll today, but, in the aftermath of last week’s Spanish Super Cup incidents, twitter was exploding with more news about Real Madrid’s caustic manager, Jose Mourinho (culminating with this utterly rambling incomprehensity), which got me thinking on the subject. So the Power Poll will have to wait until later this week. A word of warning to the wise – this post starts out with cold indisputable facts and quickly delves into wild unsubstantiated speculation. It’s also rather lengthy and goes into a lot of Spanish history, which some might not find interesting. So, be warned. Or, if you just want to get to the meat of things, skip about halfway down.
This year’s Spanish Super Cup pitted the two Spanish giants, Real Madrid C.F. and F.C. Barcelona against each other. These two have an extremely old and passionate rivalry, and games between them are known as El Classico. The first El Classico was played in 1902, and over time, it became a game that is more than just a game of soccer between two largest clubs in Spain. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region in the northeast part of Spain. Catalonians consider themselves to be culturally different from the rest of Spain. They feel Catalonian first, and Spanish second. Everyone in Catalonia speaks Catalan in addition to Spanish, most as first language. Catalan history is emphasized over Spanish. The region, which at one point was an independent state, has enjoyed various degrees of autonomy and self-determination as part of Spain, until the rise of General Francisco Franco. Franco, a fascist who was preoccupied with the idea of unified Spain, forbade all expressions of Catalan nationalism as part of his dictatorship. Read the rest of this entry »