Barcelona, Real Madrid fans from around the world travel to Miami for El Clasico – Sun Sentinel

Donoban Escobar stared into the side mirror of the white pickup truck, applying the finishing touches to his Barcelona face paint.

Beneath the red and blue stripes coating nearly every inch of his skin was a smile.

Im not the biggest Barcelona fan, Escobar, 15, said. But I like [Lionel] Messi.

The last time he was at Hard Rock Stadium, nearly two years ago, he was painting a different teams colors across his face the white and blue of his native Honduras, who was playing England in an international friendly match.

But on Saturday, about four hours before FC Barcelona was set to play Real Madrid in Miami for the first ever United States rendition of El Clasico, there was no blue and white in sight. Instead, Escobar blended into the swarm of red and blue Messi jerseys walking toward the stadium.

Off to the side, wedged in a crowd near the entrance of the El Clasico fan zone, two white jerseys stood out.

Victor Ramirez, 22, and Carlos Risso, 21, had just noticed why hundreds of people were rushing to a nearby fence, camera phones in their hands.

Its Hugo Sanchez! Ramirez yelled to Risso. They pushed to the front to take a picture.

The two friends were both born in Mexico, and Sanchez, 59, who won five La Liga scoring titles, is widely considered the best Mexican soccer player ever.

In their white Real Madrid jerseys, the two snapped pictures of Sanchez and huddled together to look at their phones. Their 11 1/2 hour drive from their home in South Carolina was worth it.

Its El Clasico, man, Ramirez said with a smile.

Risso said he started following Real Madrid when he was 14. Ramirez said he has been a fan of the Spanish club forever. They bought tickets for Saturdays game three months ago, all to see their favorite player in person.

Ronaldo, the two said simultaneously.

Ramirez said he was disappointed when he found out Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo wouldnt be participating in El Clasico because of his busy schedule, but there were more than enough star players on both teams to keep them excited during their Friday drive down to Miami.

But while Ronaldo was noticeably absent from Saturdays game, his jerseys werent.

His signature home-white uniform dotted the crowd milling about the fan zone, and covered the backs of most of the Real Madrid fans waiting in line to take pictures with the teams European Cup trophy outside Hard Rock Stadium.

But the jersey was hard to find on the Barcelona side of the fan zone, where fans were waiting in a similar line, hundreds of people long, to take pictures with Barcelonas silver Champions League trophy.

Fadi Jamaleddin, 24, and his brother, Jadi, 20, waited in the line for 40 minutes. They left with three new pictures on their phones and two blue Barcelona foam fingers.

The two flew into Miami at 12 a.m. on Saturday morning from their home in New Mexico. They were both born in Venezuela, but said they have been Barcelona fans since they were 2 years old.

I like their style, Fadi said.

In Venezuela, Fadi grew up playing futbol calle jero, or street soccer, for 16 years. He said he has gone to a few Venezuelan national team soccer games, and even watched Brazil play Argentina during a World Cup.

But Saturday was his first time seeing Barcelona.

I grew up playing soccer every day, Fadi said. So this is special.

iacohen@sun-sentinel.com or Twitter @icohenb

Originally posted here:

Barcelona, Real Madrid fans from around the world travel to Miami for El Clasico – Sun Sentinel

Related Post

Comments are closed.