In the first of our new series looking at how supporters across Europe are coping with the absence of football, our Champions Journalist fan reporter Carla Fernández Ariño reveals that she has even resorted to watching reruns of pre-season friendlies to get her daily dose of Atlético Madrid.
With football having been suspended since the middle of March, we’re all looking for a way to find our weekly, or even daily, fix. The first two weeks were the worst, especially taking into account the fact that the last match I’d watched was an Atleti comeback at Anfield (which, I have to confess, I’ve rewatched four times already).
As it seems unlikely that we’re getting regular football back any time soon, I’ve had to turn back the clock and watch a whole bunch of different matches. Among them has been everything from the 2010 and 2018 World Cup finals to Atleti pre-season friendlies, not forgetting league-winning games at the Camp Nou.
Our legendary coach Radomir Antić sadly died this week. My mum remembers the year we won the double and how that was a turning point in our history. She came back to Spain from England, while she was pregnant with me, to watch the final match of the league season.
It’s been almost a month since lockdown started here in Spain and unlike other countries, we’re not even allowed to go out for a walk. That makes the days very long, which means that as much as I like looking back at certain matches, it just isn’t the same with the predictability of already knowing the outcome.
That said, I’ve also found some reading material as a result of my boredom convincing me to rearrange my room. Historias del Calcio by Enric González is still one of my favourite football-related books; it takes a look at Italian football from various angles – including the political standpoint and the Mafia’s involvement with certain clubs – but focuses on how Italy can’t be understood if you don’t appreciate its football culture.
Even though the world has ground to a halt, football is still very much alive. We’ll be patiently awaiting its return.
We joined Carla in Madrid for the first leg of Atleti’s round of 16 tie against Liverpool. Read her Away Day feature in issue 3.
Let us know how you are getting your football fix during these difficult times by getting in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org