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favoritos & antipáticos

October 11, 2011


I found this very interesting, and I think anyone who loves watching Spanish football will find it interesting as well.

Market analysis and strategic marketing company Ikerfel (sadly, no relation to Iker Casillas) carried out a survey commissioned by AS to find out which teams are the most beloved and disliked by fans across the country.  Ikerfel interviewed 1,400 spectators at all 20 stadiums in the first division (meaning 70 fans per team) on Sept. 17, 18, 21, 22, 24 and 25.  The margin of error is 2.67 percent, while the confidence index is 95.5 percent.

In general terms, the survey found that Barcelona is the most popular team among Spanish fans, with a seven point advantage over Real Madrid, while Real Madrid is the most disliked team, 11 points above Barça.  Eight years ago, in a survey commissioned by the Generalitat, Real Madrid was the most beloved team, with a margin of 20 points above their eternal rival.  The survey determined this by asking every interviewee to list their three favorite teams (not including their own) and the three teams they disliked the most.  Barcelona was included in 44 percent of the “liked” teams, compared to 37 percent for Madrid, 18 percent for Atleti, 18 percent for Valencia and 17 percent for Athletic.  As for the “disliked” teams, 51 percent named Real Madrid, compared to 40 percent for Barcelona, 30 percent for Sevilla and 29 percent for Atleti.

Madrid fans’ three favorite teams are Getafe (60 percent), Rayo (48 percent) and Espanyol (42 percent).  Their three most disliked teams are Barcelona (97 percent), Atlético (76 percent) and Sevilla (41 percent).  An interesting conclusion: 97 percent of Madrid fans reject Barça, while only 77 percent of Barça fans reject Madrid.  Fans of Osasuna (92 percent), Athletic (90 percent), Atlético (84 percent) and Real Sociedad (78%) actually hate Madrid more than the culés.

Fans of Betis, Getafe, Granada, Levante, Racing, Rayo and Sevilla named Madrid as their favorite team (other than their own), while Madrid was second for fans of Espanyol, Málaga, Mallorca, Sporting and Valencia.  That’s 12 of the 19 teams.

In some cases as to why Madrid is popular with certain teams, it’s due to an emotional link.  For example, Rafael Gordillo is an icon with Betis and also a symbol of el madridismo.  In the case of Racing, prominent Cantabrians have played for Madrid in both the past and recent past: Paco Gento, Marquitos, Santillana, Munitis, Canales.  As for Getafe, its president Ángel Torres is of course a socio of Madrid, and many players have gone between the clubs (De La Red, Granero, Parejo, Soldado, Sarabia, Torres, Codina, Pedro León…).  With regards to Espanyol, there are common enemies, shared heroes (Raúl Tamudo comes to mind) and a current fraternity between the two clubs, as we saw in the embrace between Pochettino and Mourinho just recently.

On the flip side, Madrid was the most disliked team for fans of Athletic, Atlético, Barcelona, Osasuna, Real Sociedad, Sporting, Valencia, Villarreal and Zaragoza.  It ranked second for fans of Espanyol, Levante, Málaga and Mallorca, and third for Granada and Racing.  That’s 15 of the 19 teams.

As to why Madrid is hated by certain teams, many times it’s been because of a bitter rivalry.  For example, Madrid fought with Real Sociedad and Athletic for Ligas in the period 1979-1984, and since then there’s been a sporting rivalry that has also become even more politicized.  With Valencia, in the last decade, the two teams have fought for the same titles, even meeting in the 2000 Champions League final.  Thus, Madrid became enemy number one.

Barcelona is most liked in Málaga (which is curious, considering that two symbols of Madrid came from there, Juanito and Fernando Hierro), Valencia, Euskadi and Navarra (where Madrid is the common enemy), Mallorca (for location and cultural ties) and Gijón (for Quini).  Meanwhile, they’re most disliked by those fans who have Real Madrid as their second team, such as those of Rayo Vallecano, Getafe, Racing, Levante or Granada.  The clearest example is Espanyol, as Barça is the common enemy.

Other findings: Rayo Vallecano is the “most loved” team in the first division.  After all, it’s one of those neighborhood teams that has survived despite having two giants in the same city, Real Madrid and Atleti, and they have a reputation as a hardened, scrappy team who has managed to survive despite the questionable financial situation of their owners.  Meanwhile, Sevilla is the team that heads the list of those with the biggest difference between like and dislike.  That’s not surprising, considering that the club has found itself involved in several controversies over the last few years, both intentional and unintentional, and it has fielded players who have the reputation of being excessively rough, such as Javi Navarro or Pablo Alfaro.  Then there is the behavior of certain ex-delegates and fans, such as those who throw water bottles at Iker, or break bus windows.


AS has released some more findings from the survey, so I’ve updated the post.

Tomás Roncero (yes, I know), whose ravings I usually don’t read, points out in an article that the survey the Generalitat did in 2002 found Madrid to be the first team in Castilla La Mancha, Castilla y León, Extremadura, La Rioja, Murcia, the Canarias, Madrid and Andalucía.  There are no first division teams in the first six provinces on that list, so no one from there had a chance to partake in the survey.  He also says some crazier stuff, which I’m not going to bother repeating.

The survey also found that for those fans, Vicente del Bosque and Pep Guardiola are the best coaches in the history of Spanish football, with 25 percent each.  Johan Cruyff is third with 12 percent of all votes.  The majority of fans from Betis, Espanyol, Getafe, Granada, Levante, Málaga, Mallorca, Racing, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Sporting and Zaragoza (12 out of the 20 teams) chose VDB.  Guardiola’s support came mostly from Athletic, Barça, Osasuna, Real Sociedad and Villarreal.  As to favorite coaches, Pep Guardiola has 38 percent of support, while José Mourinho has 14 percent and VDB 11 percent.

Meanwhile, fans of Rayo chose Mou as the best coach at the moment and in history (along with Del Bosque).  Not even Madrid’s fans were that generous, choosing Mou as the best coach right now and VDB as the best coach in history.  In addition, 14 percent of them chose Guardiola as the best current coach, with Mou receiving 44 percent.  Barcelona fans chose VDB (15 percent) ahead of Cruyff (seven percent), with Pep taking 85 percent of the votes.  Atleti fans are still loyal to Luis Aragonés, while Valencia fans haven’t forgotten Rafa Benítez.  Only four teams believe their actual coach is the best at the moment: the aforementioned Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as Getafe (Luis García) and Betis (Pepe Mel).

As for the Spanish national team, fans from 11 first division clubs identify more with their own teams than with the Spanish national team.  Out of all those surveyed, 43 percent prefer their own team, 22 percent prefer La Roja and 35 percent identifies with both [I would be included in that group].  Sevilla’s fans like La Roja the best (La Roja has played 42 games there) and La Real’s the least.  Fans from Granada, Getafe, Zaragoza, Valencia, Málaga, Racing and Betis also prefer La Roja over their teams.  Unsurprisingly, fans from La Real, Athletic and Osasuna dislike the national team the most.


The survey also found that the favorite player in the Liga right now is Leo Messi, with 48 percent of the votes.  The first Real Madrid player to rank is Cristiano, who is fourth with 27 percent of the votes.  Iker is fifth with 24 percent, and Xabi sixth with 11 percent.  Other Madrid players mentioned were Özil, Sergio, Khedira, Benzema, and Arbeloa, as well as Soldado, Van Nistelrooy and Borja Valero.  Javi Martínez (!!!) received three percent of the votes.

Fans from the following teams picked a Madrid player out of their top three favorite current players: Betis (Iker, second), Espanyol (Cris, third), Getafe (Iker/Cris, third), Granada (Iker, second), Levante (Iker, third), Mallorca (Iker, tied for third), Racing (Iker, second; Cris, third), Rayo (Xabi, second), Sporting (Cris, third), Villarreal (Cris, third).  Special mention goes to Sevilla fans, who chose three Real Madrid players for their top three: Iker, Cris and Xabi.  Real Madrid’s fans voted for Cris, Messi and Casillas.

As for best player in history of the Liga (each person could vote for three players), Leo Messi won once again with 24 percent of the votes, with Di Stéfano was third with 11 percent, Raúl fourth with eight percent, Zidane fifth with seven percent and Iker seventh with three percent.

In terms of refereeing, the survey unsurprisingly finds that fans of Barcelona are the ones who are most satisfied with the refereeing, giving referees a 5.98 out of 10, and that Madrid’s fans are the ones who are the least satisfied, giving the referees an average of 2.06 out of 10.  The overall average for the work of the referees was 4.6, meaning that if this were an exam, the referees would fail.  There are some concrete reasons why Madrid’s fans feel like the referees and the organization that governs them (the RFEF) are against them.  In 2000, Barcelona was able to withdraw from the Copa without penalties.  The Camp Nou was not closed in 2002 after the pig’s head incident, because the Federation changed the rules three years later to replace closure with economic sanctions.  Last season, due to the air controllers’ strike, Barcelona arrived in Pamplona for their game against Osasuna 45 minutes late and was allowed to play, when the rules state that they only have half an hour.  Messi scored a goal with his hand against Espanyol in 2007 that could have given the Liga title to Barcelona; the next day, the referee of that match was named as the referee for the Copa del Rey final.

As for penalties, expulsions and cards, Sevilla is the team that has had the most penalties called in their favor in the last decade (7.9 per season), but is also the team that has suffered the most expulsions (8.6 per season, with the exception of Rayo’s nine in their only two seasons in the first division).  Real Madrid’s numbers are 78 penalties in favor and 49 against, and on average 101 cards and 6.9 expulsions per season (compared to Barcelona’s 82.9 and 5.9, respectively).

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Pipita permalink
    October 10, 2011 14:31

    Hello Una!

    First of all I just wanted to say that this is not a complaint or anything like that, just a simple question. What I was wondering is that if you know when you will release the translation of the Real interview with Kaká? I’m dying to read it because Kaká is such a lovable person.

    • unamadridista permalink*
      October 11, 2011 15:58

      No, I don’t know, I don’t have any time to do it right now.

  2. October 10, 2011 15:24

    i love this piece. I love numbers n I love football. So this is perfect for me !! thanks a lot.

  3. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    October 10, 2011 15:37

    Yes I found it interesting too, 8 years ago we were the club who were dominating Europe, kind were the representative of Spain, such as Barcelona now everyone loves Guradiola too!
    I get everything but why do Villarreal fans hate us!!!!!!! of course I agree with Malaga too, they are operating a mini real Madrid now, so I don’t get it either!!!
    Nothing about deportivo and Valencia! I think these has to be one of the bitter rivalries, unfortunately they were talking about the first division here…
    Also Barcelona fans liking atleitco, really? weird!

  4. October 10, 2011 16:25

    Hate is a strong word, but sadly I admit to hating FC Barcelona. *shrugs* That’s just me though.

  5. amouria permalink
    October 10, 2011 20:54

    I dislike the survey !
    But I like your posts Una 🙂

  6. Alyssa permalink
    October 10, 2011 22:44

    Wow. This really is interesting. It makes me wonder how much of a role Spain’s politics play in people disliking Madrid this much. I’ve never even been to Spain and I’m a science person who only ever had a handful of history classes…so those things never mattered to me when it came to choosing a favorite team but many people I know who try to make arguments against Real Madrid always try to bring politics into it…which drives me crazy.

  7. October 11, 2011 15:17


  8. sidney permalink
    October 11, 2011 18:17

    very interesting.

  9. justme permalink
    October 11, 2011 19:09

    i just love real madrid and i don’t care about the haters..

  10. black widow permalink
    October 12, 2011 03:44

    for those of us who don’t understand the politics, can you please explain what this means? “Unsurprisingly, fans from La Real, Athletic and Osasuna dislike the national team the most.” thanks! 🙂

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