53 days. That is how long the world has waited for the biggest European rivalry of the decade to take place after the initial postponement due to security concerns stemming from local political strife. Barcelona and Real Madrid, who share first place in La Liga after 16 rounds, will finally square off at Camp Nou for the first time this season on Wednesday. Even though this matchup will occur on a weekday, the television audience will register in the hundreds of millions. Within this pool, a quartet of international Real Madrid Peñas are fully prepared for the first El Clásico of 2019-2020.
On the Pacific coastline of Canada, Peña Madridista Vancouver has been waiting for this matchup ever since the schedule was first announced in July. This brand new Peña sprung to life this past summer with a solid social media presence and organic growth in Membership. Over 30 passionate Members are confirmed to meet at Ballyhoo Public House shortly before the 11:00 local time kickoff. Along with an English-inspired food menu and broad selection of craft beers, this band of Madridistas will be laser-focused to watch and support the Merengues from over 8,000 kilometers away. With respect to what Real Madrid needs to do to win, Board Member Michal Rewucki boiled it down to one aspect: “Strong mentality will be our success.”
Shifting to the Caribbean region, Peña Madridista Corazones Blancos in Río Cauto will shine bright for Cuban Madridismo. Located over 700 kilometers east of Havana, this Peña will not only watch El Clásico but also celebrate their first anniversary. This special occasion combined with a 14:00 local time kickoff, the Peña anticipates over 200 Members and guests will fill their headquarters at Cine 4 de Abril. As for Real Madrid securing win #96 in the all-time series, Chairman Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. points to three fundamental players: “The weight of the team goes through the heart of Casemiro and Valverde as they need to completely neutralize Messi as well as the supreme finishing of Benzema.”
Hopping over to the eastern hemisphere, Peña Madridista New Delhi is geared up to support Los Blancos despite the scheduling complications. The original date and time (Saturday October 26 at 16:30 local time) brought stratospheric excitement with over 150 RSVP confirmations from Members. However, due to heightened security concerns in Barcelona, the game will now kick off a half hour past midnight local time Thursday. Since the game will be played much later and the headquarters’ neighbourhood will also shut down, the Peña moved the party to an alternate venue called Aerocity in the southern part of the Indian capital. The 24-hour catering service offered by nearby Quoin at Novotel sports bar will supply guests with a choice of Indian or Chinese dishes and vast selection of beverages to the midnight crowd. The Peña expects to receive over 35 Members who will sacrifice a night of sleep in hopeful exchange for the biggest domestic victory so far. Board Member Akash Verma mentioned where Real Madrid need to focus their efforts: “I believe the midfield battle would be key. That is where Barcelona is weakest and we are the strongest.”
The final stop on this international Peña spotlight lands over 10,000 kilometers to the southeast of India with Peña Madridista Melbourne White Sharks. Similar to its sister in New Delhi, this Peña also suffered from the postponement. Kick off in the east coast of Australia was set for 22:00 local time Saturday October 26 with Members organizing at La Bodega de Andrés with a pre-fixed menu of tapas, bocadillos, and beverages at $20 per person. However, the game is now scheduled at 6:00 local time Thursday and the venue changed to the Chairman’s residence. As the score of Members will enjoy a Spanish breakfast menu at sunrise, Chairman Miguel Jordan highlights the necessary components for a road victory, “The key is to play a 4-4-2 formation with Casemiro, Valverde, Kroos, and Modriċ in the midfield and fast transitions to Bale and Benzema. We will surely win!”
From Canada to Australia and every nation in between, all eyes will be glued to a television or mobile device for 90 minutes. Even though three points will go to the victor, bragging rights and a future tiebreaker hang in the balance. Furthermore, these two teams might meet again in Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Supercup final the Sunday after Three Kings Day. Resting in the back of every Madridista’s mind is the possibility of drawing Barcelona in a future Copa del Rey and Champions League knockout round. Wednesday’s showdown could be a prelude to a handful of more Clásicos in 2020. No matter what, these four Peñas join over 2,000 around the world in moral support for the most successful Club in its most difficult domestic away game to date.
Christian Paredes (@Xian_D_Paredes) is a Founding Member and former Chairman (2012-2016) of La Peña Madridista Sur de California (@RmSurCalifornia)