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Why I’m a fan of Real Madrid

From Ecuador to Madrid -- Zidane’s volley in Glasgow touched us all

Malaga CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Welcome to the refreshed Managing Madrid! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favourite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

Real Madrid v Sevilla: UEFA Super Cup
Habitual Winners
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

When asked about why we are Real Madrid fans, many people often point to the trophy cabinet. Therein lies a richness in trophies that clubs could only ever dream of! 33 Ligas, 19 Copa del Rey, 9 Spanish Super Cups, Best Club of 20th Century FIFA Trophy, and many, oh so many more! Of course, the most beloved and cherished trophy of them all still remains — our crown jewel, our most prized and beloved possessions, Las Once Orejonas. Real’s 11 European Cups. The trophy cabinet speaks for itself, but my particular story does not begin there, it has a more unorthodox origin, yet ultimately leads to the same passion and love for the club.

As a young boy growing up in the city of Guayaquil, it wasn’t all that often that you heard too much about Real Madrid. Ecuador might be a small country, but football runs in our veins. Our local teams are Club Sport Emelec and Barcelona Sporting Club, the two clubs with the biggest following in the country. My grandfather was an avid supporter of Emelec and every year he would rent out a box in the stadium with his buddy. Every Sunday he would take me and my sister to the stadium to cheer on Emelec, and of course, eat delicious empanadas. Our eternal rival is Barcelona S.C., the cheap imitation of Spain’s very own Barcelona. It was ingrained into me that whenever I saw that shield, a deep disdain surfaced.

In 2002, however, something changed. A strike had occurred halfway across the globe, a volley so unbelievable that everyone was talking about it. Not a single person I knew could believe what was right in front of them. The magnificent had occurred in the highest echelons of football, it was none other than Zinedine Zidane’s golazo in Glascow. As a young boy, there are a few things that can mark you, but this? This was a strike of sublime beauty — a strike that has been etched into my mind.

Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid
Pure Magic
Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

Moving to the States a few months later, I was separated from Emelec. There was no local stadium, no way to watch them on TV, and the lack of accessibility definitely bogged down my love for the sport. A few years went down the road, and my city finally got an MLS expansion team, but it just was not the same feeling and emotion that I had previously enjoyed. Something was missing.

That all changed when I saw Real Madrid play. An excitement began to bubble through my veins, the heart pumped faster, my nerves were on edge and nothing was the same since. It was decided. I needed this in my life. This was what I was missing. Real Madrid was the perfect team for me — it has the trophies, it has the best players in the world, it has the history, and a spirit that I admire most. A spirit in which defeatism is never acceptable. A spirit that will fight to the very end. A team with values by which it stands by, day in and day out. A gentleman’s club, where proper respect is given to the opposition. A team that will always do everything for their fan base.

Malaga CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Oh what memorable moments this team creates. From Zidane’s spectacular volley, to the hat-trick hero securing your place in yet another European Cup final. From Bale’s incredible run to give Madrid the cup against Barcelona, to Sergio Ramos’ infamous 92:48. Real Madrid is the club that keeps on giving, one that will make you bring out all of your emotions: Fear, happiness, anxiety, joy, anger, euphoria. A never ending roller coaster that will surely remind you that you’re alive. Because being a Madridista is about so much more than what fills your trophy cabinet.

El Madridismo es un sentimiento. ¡Hala Madrid y nada más!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.

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