The Biggest Ego in Professional Sports
April 23, 2013
The amazing and infuriating career of Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho.
Aleksandar Hemon: In Paris, Zlatan Ibrahimović Learns to Share
December 03, 2012
Has the great Swedish player of Bosnian-Croatian origin finally found a home?
Vienna Offers a Glimpse of the ‘Next Metropolis’
May 03, 2012
“Smart cities” is the urban buzz phrase of the last few years, and fans often turn to European cities for inspiration. From Amsterdam’s bike lanes to Copenhagen’s wind power, from Barcelona’s 22@ innovation district to Berlin’s dramatic redevelopment, European examples abound.
The ‘Indignants’: Can They Save the European Left?
June 09, 2011
Last week, the main square of Barcelona was the epicenter of a vital insurgency. On the lawns of the Placa Catalunya, thousands of Europeans—most of them young—orated, ate free food, tried on free used clothing, and took advantage of free child care and yoga classes. An excellent jazz quintet played protest songs for activists and onlookers alike.
The Little Emirate and the World Cup
December 01, 2010
[Guest post by James Downie] Today, the talk of the soccer world is Barcelona’s sublime 5-0 destruction of Real Madrid. Come Thursday, though, for a brief moment at least, international soccer will grab the spotlight once again, as FIFA announces the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The Fortunate Journey
September 13, 2010
The Escorial: Art and Power in the Renaissance By Henry Kamen (Yale University Press, 291 pp., $35) The historian Henry Kamen has spent a distinguished career presenting what he calls a “revisionist” history of early modern Spain.
In The Shadows Of The Sacred Family, Catalonia Rises
July 14, 2010
The first time I saw Antoni Gaudi’s phantasmagoric Church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona it was unfinished. That was 1965. On another visit, perhaps two decades later, it was still unfinished. And when I returned there on Monday it was not yet completed, although I heard from the conversational buzz around me the years 2012 and 2013. One dour looking pessimist uttered “2017” as the first possible date that the cathedral would really match its dreamer’s vision.
A Reaction From the Streets of Catalonia
July 13, 2010
Standing on the streets of Barcelona – capital of Spain’s Catalonia region – last Saturday, one would have had no idea that the country was preparing to watch its national team compete in the World Cup the very next day. That afternoon, over a million people flooded the downtown to protest a decision issued Friday by the country’s constitutional court striking down some provisions of the territory’s 2006 autonomy statute. That legislation devolved a number of important powers to the region, but was challenged by the country’s conservative political party, the Partido Popular.
Did Spain Deserve to Win?
July 11, 2010
The best part of this match was that it ended before penalty kicks, where the Dutch could have squeezed out a win and enjoyed the fruits of their goonish performance. Simon Kuper wrote a great column in last week’s Financial Times, where he bemoaned how Holland had turned away from idealism in its football and in its politics. This performance should bury the myth of Dutch Total Football for good.
A Last Minute Tribute to Captain Caveman
July 11, 2010
Fernando Hierro—captain of the national team and Real Madrid, ardent Castillian—is approached by a ten-year old autograph seeker. What’s your name, Hierro asks. Jordi, the boy replies. Jordi? Hierro barks. No, I’m not signing for Jordi. Your name is Jorge. But my parents named me Jordi, the boy apologizes. That fact does nothing to appease: Jorge! Jorge! Your name is Jorge! Jordi is, of course, the Catalan iteration of Jorge. And the incident captures a mindset that too often prevailed on the national team.