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Soccer players never get tired of playing the game.

That’s what this page is all about.

Where your FIRST TOUCH SOCCER book ends, the FREE KICK page begins.

It’s a chance for you to learn more about Real Madrid … and for me to talk about some of the great stories I couldn’t squeeze into the book.

Scroll down to get the latest news … and to learn more about Spanish soccer. And check out some of the cool collectibles I have in my home.

If you have any questions about my work, please EMAIL me and I’ll be happy to answer them.

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Team Spirit Extras

Ronaldo
Photo by Chris Deahr

 

What’s up with Real Madrid

June 3, 2017: Real Madrid defeated the Italian club Juventus in the Champions League final by a score of 4–1. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice. It was Real Madrid’s 12th Champions League/European Cup title, and the second in a row for the club. They are the first back-to-back winners since the Champions League format was introduced a quarter-century ago.

May 21, 2017: Real Madrid finished with 29 wins, 3 losses, and 6 draws (ties) to finish atop La Liga for the first time since 2012. Cristiano Ronaldo finished third in the league with 25 goals.

     
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Team Spirit Extras

La Liga Stickers
© Panini

 

Real Madrid plays in La Liga, which is Spanish for The League. There are 20 clubs in La Liga. Each plays 38 games—one home and one away against the other 19 clubs. The teams with the poorest records are moved down (or “relegated”) from the Primera Division (First Division) to the Segunda Division (Second Division) of Spanish soccer. A playoff helps to decide the clubs that move up to replace them.


Each year, Spanish soccer clubs compete in a tournament for the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup). Fans call it “La Copa” for short. Barcelona won La Copa for the 28th time in 2016—more than any other club.

 

     
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Team Spirit Extras

Aldredo Di Stefano
© Monty Gum

 

Team Spirit Extras

Hugo Sanchez
© The Upper Deck Company

 

Team Spirit Extras

Iker Casilias Sticker
© Rafo d.o.o.

 

More treasures from the author’s collection!


Alfredo Di Stefano — Midfielder
1953–1964
Alfredo Di Stefano scored more than 300 goals after coming to Real Madrid from his home country of Argentina. He could play any position on the field, but was best on the attack. Di Stefano helped the club win five European Cups.


Ferenc Puskas — Forward
1958–1966
Ferenc Puskas did not arrive in Madrid until he was in his 30s. He found new life with the club and scored 242 goals in 262 games. Puskas led his team to five league championships and three European Cu
ps.


Carlos Santillana — Forward
1971–1988
When a ball was in the air, chances were good that Carlos Santillana would get his head on it first. He used his leaping ability and powerful shot to score 290 goals for Real Madrid.


Emilio Butragueno — Forward
1984–1995
Emilio Butragueno was never the team’s main scoring threat. That left him free to use his great ball skills when opponents let their guard down. Fans nicknamed him The Vulture because he got many of his 171 goals after fans thought a scoring threat was dead.


Hugo Sanchez — Forward
1985–1992
The only thing more fun than watching Hugo Sanchez score was watching him celebrate. He was good on the ground and great in the air—with diving headers and amazing bicycle kicks. Sanchez was also a master of the free kick.


Raul — Forward
2002–2015
1994–2010
Raul (Raul Gonzalez) was Real Madrid’s team captain and top scorer for many years. He did not have the flashy skills of some teammates, but he rarely made mistakes and always worked hard to get good shots. The result was an amazing 323 goals for the club.


Iker Casillas — Goalkeeper
1999–2015
Iker Casillas had quick reflexes and was an expert at leaving the goal to smother one-on-one attacks. No matter how much pressure was on Casillas, he always remained cool and calm.

     
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Team Spirit Extras

Miguel Munoz
Photo by Hans Peters/ANEFO

 

 

Did You Know?

• In a 1943 match, Real Madrid defeated arch-rival Barcelona 11–1.

• During the 1960s, the young and exciting Real Madrid squad that ruled Spanish soccer was called the “Ye-Ye” team. They got the nickname because they wore their hair long like The Beatles. Spanish Beatles fans were called Ye-Ye’s after the lyrics Yeah-Yeah-Yeah in the song “She Loves You.” Their coach was Miguel Munoz, who had captained Real Madrid as a player in the 1950s.

• In 2011–12, Cristiano Ronaldo became the fastest player to reach 100 goals in the history of La Liga, 92 games. He broke the record of Ferenc Puskas, who scored 100 goals in his first 105 league games.

• More than 220 million soccer fans around the world say they root for Real Madrid.

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