Half-empty and full of prolonged cheers and scattered applause every time Manchester United came close to the Barcelona area, the bar La Abadia in Granada was one of the few spots of pro-British feeling in a wave of pro-Barça euphoria in Spain last night.
"Eighty per cent of the people here are in favour of Real Madrid, and that includes me, so it's only natural we want Manchester to win," explains the bar owner, Jose Muñoz. "They've won too much this year, the King's Cup, the League, it's about time that they lost something," adds Dani, who describes himself as "feverishly anti-Barça."
Just as Barcelona's goals will have been cheered in many pubs across Britain (though possibly not in the red half of Manchester), so were many in Spain hoping to see their countrymen brought down to size. "They're getting far too big for their boots," says Guillermo, who was equally pro-Madrid.
"Normally we'd be packed for a football match," Muñoz says, but pointing a stubby finger at the empty chairs and tables in the back half of the bar, he concedes that "most of the usual crowd have stayed at home tonight. The thing is they were worried Barcelona will win, in which case tonight there's no fiesta for them."
"This isn't Barcelona country," Guillermo claims. "In Granada, most people support Madrid."
Certainly support for the "home side" is hardly visible on the streets of Granada – The Independent counted just four supporters wearing Barça shirts in an hour's wander through the streets – although a few of the fans seem to have found their way to La Abadia. When Eto'o scores after 10 minutes, just two people stand up. Realising they're not among friends, they sit down again quickly – although Muñoz points out that "everybody's welcome here. We don't have Madrid insignia on the walls."
Even so, an air of gloom sets in at half-time. "Pepe, just gimme some alcohol," one man says. "Tonight, I was born in Manchester."
Madrid's support used to be viewed as more right-wing, an opinion reinforced by the former dictator Franco's tendency to frequent the VIP box in the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, La Abadia, a bar in one of Granada's solidly working-class districts, seems to prove that those days are thankfully gone by. "Outside Catalonia, Barcelona just don't get that much backing," claims Emilio, yet another keen Madrid supporter.
Tonight, though, whether La Abadia likes it or not, it is definitely Barcelona's night, although as Dani points out defiantly: "us Madridistas have got nine Champions Leagues – they've only got three."Reuse content