La Liga - A fan’s delight

There is always the urge to expand the league outside Spain but the money that the La Liga is spending in giving a first-hand experience of Spanish football provides fans cherishable memories to take home.

The three Indian fan ambassadors and the winners of a La Liga contest – Conroy Concessio, Bibin Alexander Parippil and Akhil Kumar – soak in the atmosphere at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.   -  Special Arrangement

The team may not be as fabulously rich as Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, but it is full of heart. This is the belief that Sevilla FC seeks to bring forth when it comes to its existence in Spain’s elite football league – the La Liga.

A group of Indian La Liga fans discovered this belief when they visited Sevilla's most celebrated fan club – the Pena Sevillista Al Relente – in the Calle Aznalcazar area of the Andalusian capital.

“We have one of the most melodious and emphatic anthems in the world,” says Guillermo Jimenez Ballester, the president of the fan club. Fans are like the twelfth man, who motivate the team to deliver its best on the pitch. Guillermo was not wrong with his assertion as Sevilla accomplished the impossible by downing the formidable Real Madrid 3-2 at home at the magnificent Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Guillermo is joined by Carlos Jimenez Sanchez – who is the president of the federation of the fan club – in celebrating the exploits of the club they have been supporting since their childhood.

The fans had filled up each and every seat of the 42,000 capacity stadium and egged the team on with a repeated rendition of the club anthem. “The first thing I would like to say is that football fans from all over the world should take a flight and visit Seville. By this, they will have the chance to experience the atmosphere around the stadium, the roar of the crowd and all the excitement of what a match is like in Sanchez Pizjuan. I am sure that they will become a true supporter of the Seville Football Club,” says Nolito (Manuel Agudo Duran), the popular Sevilla midfielder.

It was an encouraging sight as scores of fans – having charged up on snacks and their favourite Cerveza (beer) at the numerous Penas (fan associations) across the city – made their way into the stadium. And as kick-off approached, the colourful gathering lent its voice to the chorus as the anthem rose from the stands and created an electrifying atmosphere around the venue.

Nolito was not wrong as the three Indian fan ambassadors and the winners of a La Liga contest – Conroy Concessio, Bibin Alexander Parippil and Akhil Kumar – discovered the joy of visiting Sevilla’s home stadium. La Liga Santander, the official body of the Spanish league, has hosted fans from Poland, Belgium apart from India to be a part of the magnificent experience.

It got even better as the visitors were also given access to the pitch and the mixed zone to get a feel of Spanish football from close quarters.

There is always the urge to expand the league outside Spain but the money that the La Liga is spending in giving a first-hand experience of Spanish football provides fans cherishable memories to take home.

The writer was in Seville, Spain on an invite from La Liga and Sports Cluster of Sony Pictures Networks.

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