The following article is published in the #RGNNMadrid Magazine: Vol. III, Summer 2017, produced during ROOSTERGNN Academy’s Travel Journalism & Photography Internship Seminar in Madrid, Spain, under the editorial direction of RGNN Expert and Mentor Natalia Martín Cantero. Follow #RGNNMadrid for all of our Madrid coverage.

Madrid serves as a Utopia for soccer lovers, so when I found myself a loyal FC Barcelona fan in a Real Madrid world, I decided to embrace the change and discover all Madrid had to offer. Serving as home to three teams in the first division: Real Madrid C.F., Club Atlético de Madrid and Club Deportivo Leganés, there’s never a shortage of matches to catch and players to idolize. There’s clearly no better time to be in Madrid than during La Liga, with the season usually running from the second half of August to the end of May, there’s no chance your time in Madrid won’t be packed with high-quality football and electrifying atmosphere’s at some of the best stadiums with the most loyal diehard fans. No matter which team’s logo you wear on your shirt, it’s undeniable that Real Madrid has been dominating the world of soccer in recent years, Not only does their roster boast some of the best players in the world but they also have their fair share of trophy’s and titles, having won 33 La Liga titles and a record 12 European Cup/ UEFA Championship league trophies. No matter where your loyalty may reside, there’s no denying that Madrid is one of the best cities to check out as a soccer fan, and here’s why.

Tour The Stadiums

Atlético de Madrid Museum Tour | Kaitlyn Neal

Home of the Los Blancos, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium serves as the address of one of the most successful football teams in the history of the EUFA. As the third largest stadium in Europe behind Wembley and Barcelona’s Camp Nou, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is home to 85,454 spectators, whether you’re able to score tickets to watch Real Madrid dominate on the pitch, or even take a grand tour of Bernabéu, you experience will no doubt be unforgettable.

The self-guided tour offers a panoramic view of the stadium, entry into the press room, presidential box, “Best Club In History” Room, a stop at the Real Madrid dressing room, the opportunity to visit the pitch, tunnel, dugouts and technical area, and of course the official store to buy all the Real Madrid gear. Tickets for the tour can be purchased at the stadium at Box Office 10, besides gate 7 or on the team’s official website.

Panoramic View from Vicente Calderón Stadium | Kaitlyn Neal

The Vicente Calderón Stadium served as home to Atlético de Madrid up until this summer, the team will move to the 68,000 seater stadium Wanda Metropolitano before the start of the 2017-2018 La Liga season. Tours of the stadium are still available and include a visit to the museum, the field, the benches, the changing room, and pressroom and official store. Tickets for the tour can be purchased at the stadium and on the official website.

Find yourself in a bar… or a fountain

Celebrate in Style | Kaitlyn Neal

Madrid serves as the perfect backdrop to soak up the country’s amazing football culture, including an abundance of bars and restaurants to catch the game and enjoy a drink with local fans. Look no further than Puerta del Sol and Plaza de Santa Ana located in the heart of Madrid for a concentration of venues to chose from. While on the hunt for a location to watch El Clásico, I ran into a multitude of Real Madrid fans, many heading to their favorite hotspots to cheer on their team. I talked to Raphael, 26 a die hard fan who “was born into loyalty for the team, I never really thought about supporting another team, my whole family loves Real Madrid and I’d never change my mind.” Raphael wasn’t alone in his testimony for loyalty to Real Madrid as the city crawls with fans on game days.

During La Liga finals or big tournaments that turn into wins for Real Madrid or Atlético, there are only two places to celebrate for players and fans. The mighty Cibeles Fountain not only serves as a symbol of the Spanish capital, but as a place of gathering for Real Madrid fans to celebrate their team’s victories. In the heart of Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, stands the Fuente de Neptuno, in which is not only for monuments celebrating a goddess, but it’s where Atlético fans fill the streets, and sometimes the fountain in victory chants and parades.

Shop Until You Drop

Find all your Atlético gear at the shop in the Vicente Calderón Stadium | Kaitlyn Neal

There are no shortages of places to find gear to represent your team while in Madrid. There are two official shops in the city that are designated to Real Madrid products, one is located at Santiago Bernabéu stadium at gate 55, this three-floor megastore has no everything one could want, from customizable gear, football kits, training wear, jerseys, T-shirts, gifts bags and of course plenty of souvenirs for your friends back home. Sophia, 20 was buying gifts for her boyfriend who couldn’t make it on the trip, “ I felt bad he couldn’t be on the trip with me, so I’m splurging on an official home jersey and a banner for him while I’m visiting, I hope the gear makes him feel better.” If you can’t make it to the stadium the other store is located in the city center at the Adidas store on Calle del Carmen. For Atlético Madrid gear, head to Vicente Calderon stadium between gates 25 and 26, or online their official team website.

Sports Pub Preciados 38;  Calle De Preciados, 38, Madrid; Monday- Saturday 7:30 AM – 2:30 AM Sunday 7:30 AM- 12 AM.

The Irish Rover; Av. de Brasil, 7, 28020 Madrid; Pub, Sports, Food – $$; Saturday – Tuesday 12 PM- 2 AM Wednesday 12 PM- 3 AM                                                                                                Thursday-Friday 12 PM – 5 AM.

La Fontana De Oro; Calle de la Victoria, 1, 28012 Madrid; Pub, Sports Bar $$; Monday- Friday 5 PM- 6 AM Saturday- Sunday 1 PM – 6 AM

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium Tour; Av. Concha Espina 1, 28036, Madrid – España; +34 91 398 43 70; tour@corp.realmadrid.com; Open every day except the 25th of December and the 1st of January; Adults €25, Children (up to 14 years old) €18.00.

Vicente Calderon Stadium Tour; Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto, 67, 28005 Madrid, Spain; museo@atleticodemadrid.com; Monday to Sunday from 10:30 to 19:00 (including holidays);Adults €16, Children (under to 12 years old) €8.00