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Spanish soccer

Spanish Soccer - Culture, Facts and Vocabulary

Given that culture and language always go hand in hand, if you are planning on learning Spanish, you also need to learn about Spanish soccer.

Soccer is a big part of the Spanish culture and by far the most popular sport in Spain.

Here, you are going to find culture, facts, and vocabulary related to soccer from Spain.

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Spanish Soccer Culture


It can be said that soccer is the national sport of Spain without a doubt. For example, the entire country can stop for an important game and all the news does nothing but talk about the game. There are even news programs and newspapers that exclusively talk about soccer. Soccer seems to be everywhere at any time.


Do you want to watch a soccer game in Spain? It is simple, there is always some kind of match throughout the week. You can choose among La Liga EspañolaLa Liga de Campeones, La Copa de la UEFA, La Copa del Rey… Also, if you are not able to watch a game for any reason, don’t worry, the replay or at least the best plays will be on television soon.


People normally watch the games at home, at bars, or a the stadiums.

If they decide to watch a game at home, they may bring friends or family to cheer for their teams while yelling at the players and referees like if they could hear them.

At bars, people gather together to drink and/or eat something while watching the game with cheering and yelling included. In reality, it can feel like actually being at the stadium.

At a stadium, before a game starts, you can feel the festive environment around. Before the game, people gather at bars to drink and eat something while discussing topics like who may win, who deserves to win, or the possible score. When the game starts, the stadium is full of excited people wearing their favorite soccer jerseys and carrying flags. During the game, fans sing, cheer and protests referees and the opponent team.


If they play an important game (like a national team game) they usually place giant television screens in the city centers so people can easily watch and support the teams. Also, bars and restaurants usually will do the same, in this way, people can drink and eat outside and watch soccer. Fans here do the same as in other places: cheer, yell, celebrate goals… The only difference is that you can also enjoy the nice weather of Spain.

When the game ends, there is still time to drink or eat something at the bars to celebrate the victory. However, if the victory is a historic one or against an eternal rival (such as Real Madrid), fans go to symbolic places to celebrate. Among these places are: La Fuente de Cibeles in Madrid or La Fuente de la Canaletas in Barcelona.

Spanish Soccer Facts

1.- In Spanish, soccer is fútbol. 

2.- La Liga, also known as La Primera División, is the men’s top professional soccer league in Spain and one of the most important in the world. Unlike the USA leagues, teams that are part of La Liga can be relegated to the second league. Also, teams from the second league can get promoted to La Liga.

3.- F. C. Barcelona (also known as Barça) followed by Real Madrid are the teams with the most spectators during games with 38,496 and 35,018 of spectators on average respectively according to the data from Statista in 2019-2020 season.

4.- Barça is the world’s most valuable soccer team followed by Real Madrid, according to Deloitte in 2021.

  • Do you feel like wearing the Barça jersey? Take a look at these ones here. If you prefer Real Madrid´s jersey, click here.

5.- There are more teams beside Real Madrid and Barça that are part of La Liga. There are 20 teams in total, including: Atlético de Bilbao, Atlético de Madrid, Valencia, Real Sociedad, and Espanyol.

6.- Real Madrid fans are called “merengues”, Barça fans are called  “blaugranas“, “azulgrana” or “culés”, and Epanyol fans are called “periquitos”. (See below Origin of Some Spanish Soccer Teams Nicknames).

7.- Camp Nou (Catalan for New Field), which is Barça soccer stadium, is the largest stadium in Europe and the fourth largest soccer stadium in the world as reported at World Atlas. It can hold around 100,000 spectators.

8.- Spaniards call their national team La Roja.

  • Find here a Spain National Soccer Team jersey you can wear.

9.- The Spanish national soccer team won the 2010 World Cup for the first time.

10.- The 1982 World Cup took place in Spain.


According to the official La Liga website, the nickname of Madrid fans are “merengues” because the color of their jerseys is similar to the color of the dessert meringue (or merengue in Spanish).

The La Liga website also states that for Barça fans, people started using the nickname “culés” in the 20 century. The stands of the stadium where Barça used to play couldn’t hold all the fans. Because of this, some of the fans used sit down on the walls around the stadium. For this reason, the first thing a person would see when walking by the stadium was the fans sitting with their butts on the walls. Due to this, Barça fans were known as “culers”, which is pronounced as “culés”. This word comes from the Catalan word cul, which means butt in English.

Another nickname of Barça fans is “blaugrana”. This word comes from the Catalan words blau (blue) and granat (deep-red). In Spanish, it is translated as “azulgrana”.

The La Liga site also explains that “periquitos” became a popular word for Espanyol fans in the 20 century. The nickname comes from the fact that Espanyol used to play at a stadium which used to be frequented by a lot of periquitos (parakeets).

Spanish Soccer Vocabulary

The same as weather and food, soccer can be a common topic for conversations (for those who like it, of course!). Thus, if you ever go to Spain, you will usually hear people talking about it. That is why I put together the most common soccer vocabulary used in Spain. It will help you understand everyday conversation topics.

Find here nouns, verbs and expressions related to soccer.


El/la aficionado/a
El/la hincha
El/la seguidor/a
El árbitro
El balón
La pelota
El banquillo
El campo de fútbol
Soccer field
El/la capitán/a
El centro
Cross pass
El/la centrocampista

El córner
La copa
La Copa del Mundial
La Copa del Mundo
El Mundial (de fútbol)
The world Cup
El/la defensa
El/la delantero/a
La defensa

La delantera
El encuentro
Game (in the USA)
La entrada
El/la entrenador/a
El estadio
El/la extremo
La falta
El fuera de juego
El gol
El golazo
Great goal
El/la jugador/a
La liga
La Liga de Campeones

Champions League
El partido
Game (in the USA)
El partido amistoso
Friendly match
El pase
El penalti
Penalty kick
La portería
Goal (posts and net)
El/la portero/a
El saque de esquina
Corner kick
La tanda de penaltis
Penalty shoot-out
La tarjeta amarilla
Yellow card
La tarjeta roja
Red card
El tiempo extra
La victoria


To attack
To block
To center

To shoot
To counterattack
To defend
To defeat
To tie
To eject or to throw out
To win or to beat
Hacer falta
To foul
To block
To play
Marcar o anotar
To score
To pass
To whistle
To dribble past
To defeat


¡A por ellos, oé!
Let’s beat them!
Creo que ganarán
I think they will win
Deberían ganar
They should win
Deberían haber ganado
They should have won
Espero que ganen
I hope they win
No creo que ganen
I don't think they will win
¡Qué golazo!
¡Qué pedazo de gol!
What a (great) goal!
¡Qué parada!
What a save!
¡Qué pase!
What a pass!
¡Roja y a la calle!
Literal translation: Red (meaning red card) and to the street!
Translation: To be ejected
¡Yo soy español, español, español!
I’m Spanish, Spanish, Spanish!
¡Vamos a ganar!
We are going to win!

Final thoughts

If you want to experience an important part of Spanish culture go to a game, even if you do not like soccer. Surround yourself in the environment at least for one time and of course, use the vocabulary of this post. 😉

Any kind of cultural activity will help you improve and understand the language better. Culture and language go together, a good understanding of the culture will make the language learning process easier for you.

Now, I would love to hear from you.

  • Have you ever watched a Spanish soccer game?
  • What is your favorite cheer?
  • And your favorite Spanish team?

Leave your answers below, in the comment section.

Before you leave, if you are interested in Spanish culture and its language then, you may find our online Spanish classes helpful. With these classes, you will practice your speaking and listening skills with a native speaker from Spain.

Also, you will probably like our stickers about Spain. With these stickers, you will be able to show off your geographic pride for Spain and its regions.

17 Tips to Becoming Conversationally Fluent in Spanish


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