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Spanish Basketball

Since Real Madrid-Teka is so dominant in the Spanish basketball league, and since it's linked to the super-good Real Madrid "football" team, I'd always just assumed it would be the favorit of every hoops-loving Madrileño. My sources indicate, however, that the less accomplished CB Estudiantes is actually the more locally popular squad. The reason, it seems, is that Estudiantes gives a lot more playing time to Spaniards while the Real team is dominated by foreigners.

March 30, 2006 | Permalink


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Real Madrid Isn't super good this year. Despite having almost every single soccer player you've heard of except Ronaldihino, they're not even leading their league.

It's something of a scandal, since Real has spent about $440M on players, and doesn't have a single league, cup, or champions' league title to show for it.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Mar 30, 2006 10:18:05 AM

super-good Real Madrid "football" team

"Super-good" may be overstating things a bit. Sure, they are in second place in La Liga, but they crashed out of Champions League action very early. Think Miami Heat, not Detroit Pistons, good...

the Real team is dominated by foreigners

That sounds familiar to those of us who follow "football".

Yes, if Matthew's going to be in Spain this weekend, he should get to a bar for the Real-Barca match. I was in Madrid a few years back for that game, and it was unreal. As an aside, I've just returned from another soccer-loving country - Argentina - where they have a similar rivalry, River Plate against Boca Juniors (the "Superclassico"). The latest game was last Sunday, and it was incredible. Even though I wasn't anywhere near Buenos Aires (where both clubs are based), I watched the match in a bar with about a hundred others. That's the kind of local flavor your can't miss when you are travelling. (It also helped that the game was great - River dominated the entire game, and was even up 2 men (2 Boca players were red carded) at one point. But Boca tied it at 1-1 with a penalty kick in injury time.)

Sorry - didn't mean to hijack this thread to soccer too! (Funny that there are so many soccer fans here, tho.)

Posted by: Al | Mar 30, 2006 10:36:38 AM

Real's mistake was getting rid of Vicente del Bosque the day after he led them to a league championship. Under his stewardship they won La Liga twice and the Champions League twice.

As for foreign players, I remember watching a basketball game on television in Barcelona and thinking that one the players looked very familiar. I realized it was Rony Seikaly.

Posted by: Randy Paul | Mar 30, 2006 2:09:37 PM

CB Estudiantes isn't actually made up of students, is it? Because then we could get the amateur-pro sports controversy going again.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Mar 30, 2006 3:35:27 PM

Al, and RP, to keep with the footie theme, does it seem to you that over the last 5 or so years as the last barriers to int'l mobility in soccer players fell (due to Bosman, EU, etc.) that the absolute quality of many games has declined despite the arguably higher level of aggregate skill on the pitch?

I'm sure I'm mistaking correlation with causation to a degree, but when I compare the entertainment value of many of the best teams today with those in say 1999, there is really no comparison. (Mainly, I wonder why Chelsea can't play in the style they did the middle portion of last season when Arjen Robben was literally untouchable...)

Posted by: Pooh | Mar 30, 2006 4:10:09 PM

Alas, Neil, CB Estudiantes is probably not a student team, but it may have originally been founded by students. At the risk of once again veering of into soccer, one of the more successful pro soccer clubs in Argentina is called Estudiantes de la Plata (founded by university students). UNAM Pumas of Mexico City, while affiliated with Mexico's largest university (UNAM) is a fully professional team. Interestingly, they adopted their blue & gold colors in honor of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Posted by: Ricky Barnhart | Mar 30, 2006 4:11:54 PM


Well you do get strange things like Arsenal playing games without a single English player on the field and the days when Louis Van Gaal turned Barcelona in Barçajax, but there are still limits to the number of non-EU players that can participate. On the other hand, you have added some terrific skill to the German game through the many Brazilian players that have found teams there. Despite three years living in Kaiserslautern where I first became a fan of o jogo bonito, In the past I’ve found the German game to be somewhat dull. Not as bad or corrupt as Italy, but dull nonetheless.

BTW, one thing that I believe has damaged England in international play is the fact that so many English players play in England. Compare that to Brazil where so many of their best players play in countries like france, Spain, Germany, England and Italy

Posted by: Randy Paul | Mar 30, 2006 4:28:50 PM

As primarily a fan of English football, my issue is that the games seem to have lost a deal of their 'Englishness', the 'blood-and-thunder' slightly manic, tackles flying style when I first started watching. In a way, I also blame the Champs league, as Ferguson, for some reason, decided he needed a more 'Continental' (read: slower) approach.

Posted by: Pooh | Mar 30, 2006 4:40:32 PM

Ah, Rony Seikaly, greatest Lebanese basketball player in history. There was some talk about how Rony was going to come to Lebanon to play for one of the club teams here, but I don't think anything came of it.

(Did he and Steve Kerr ever play for the same team?)

Posted by: Tom Scudder | Mar 30, 2006 8:24:37 PM

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