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La Quinta del Reboot: When the Vulture Squad descended on Mexico

“To suddenly call up a Real Madrid player and ask them to come to your club, when you’re still in the second division — well you have to be a dreamer.” In the summer of 1995, when the Real Madrid office staff told Emilio Butragueño to expect a call at home from a Mexican club,…

“Rafa no me jodas,” — the human side of the celebrity linesman

Robinson was poignantly remembered as the programme began the new season by looking back over its three decades. As the montages relived moments from the annals of the show, one occasion inevitably featured. A remarkable interaction between a referee and his linesman captured by the Canal+ microphones that would forever be known by a phrase…

The Gazpacho Game — The night Ronaldinho gave Barcelona back its smile

Given his reputation, it was perhaps appropriate that Ronaldinho announced his arrival in Barcelona with a sway of the hips in the early hours of the morning. Receiving the ball midway inside his own half from a Victor Valdés throwout, two twists took him dancing away from the Sevilla midfield before an arrow of a…

The strength behind Julen Lopetegui

The beginning had been warm and emotional. The end, though expected, was cold and brutal. Julen Lopetegui’s unveiling as Real Madrid manager had been a poignant affair. “If yesterday was the saddest day of my life, since the death of my mother,” he said, choking back tears, “then today is the happiest”. Madrid and their…

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