With Gareth Bale this week making his much talked about move to Real Madrid for a staggering £85.3m, the gifted footballer has committed himself to a six-year stay in Spain. No doubt the warm sunny weather was the major draw for him – as well as the rumoured £300,000 a week pay packet.
Although based in Madrid, the former Spurs star will travel around the country and play in a number of other Spanish holiday hotspots. So, if you want to see the man in action on your holidays in Spain, we’ve put together some places where you can catch top-level football without moving too far from the beach.
Barcelona / RCD Espanyol
Bale will get a baptism of fire when he plays in his first El Classico – the match between Real Madrid and rivals Barcelona. This is one of the most competitive and most watched games in the world and, as such, tickets are hard to pick up. However, there is a second option in Barcelona if you don’t manage to get seats at this match, as the city is also home to La Liga side RCD Espanyol. They play at the 40,000-seater Estadi Cornella-El Prat just outside the city and tickets will be easier to come by. Up until 2009, the club played at the Olympic Stadium situated on Montjuïc hill and this area is still well worth a visit as you’ll get one of the best views of the city plus the harbour area from the top. Why not explore the stadium, which is open to visitors, before strolling around the castle and the buildings from the 1929 Exposition?
The Costa del Sol may be famous for its plentiful holiday resorts and 320 days of sunshine a year, but it is also home to a leading Spanish football side. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to the Costa del Sol on holiday, you’ll fly into Malaga Airport and it is the city of Malaga that boasts the team that finished sixth in La Liga last season. The nearest resort to the city is Torremolinos, so if you fancy combining some sun worship with water sports plus top-class football, why not book a spring holiday here in March when Gareth Bale and the rest of the Galacticos come to town?
New to the top division for this season are Almeria, which is great news for anyone heading on holiday to Andalucia and in particular the Costa Almeria. Less than 30 minutes from the city lies the resort of Roquetas De Mar which is perfect for families and those looking for a quieter spot compared to the livelier Costa del Sol. Real Madrid are due in town this November so you can combine some winter sun with world-class football.
Unfortunately for the Balearic island, Real Mallorca were relegated from La Liga by a single point last season, after spending 16 years in the top flight. However, they will be looking to bounce back immediately. And with Bale committed to Real Madrid for six years, there’s every chance that your holidays in Benidorm could coincide with an appearance by the Welsh wizard at the Iberostar Stadium in nearby Palma. The clubs could also be drawn against each other in the Spanish cup, the Copa del Rey, so keep your eye on the fixtures!
If you are going to try and catch Real Madrid in action when on holiday, make sure you do your homework, check the fixtures and also how you should go about buying tickets as they are bound to be popular. Individual club websites are the best place to start. Just remember, you’re likely to be in the home end so don’t shout too loudly if you’re a big fan of Bale!