I think it’s fair to say we got it wrong.
Three Arsenal journalists, three Manchester United writers, three for Liverpool, too, but no dedicated correspondents for Barcelona and Real Madrid, two of the biggest clubs in the world?
Well, three and a half years after our big launch in Europe, we are finally righting our wrongs.
Today, The Athletic announces an expansion of its Spanish football coverage, with four new writers and a team of editors to join the excellent Dermot Corrigan (whose piece on Real and Barca’s new-found love today is a must-read). And to say we are excited would be an understatement.
Both clubs will no doubt continue to provide gripping storylines as they fight to get a European Super League off the ground together while competing with each other for the La Liga title and pursuing more European silverware.
Barcelona are probably the most intriguing sports team in the world right now, still reeling from the financial mess they have got themselves into but desperate to remain competitive among Europe’s elite. And, despite all their troubles, they are Barca, a club so many players would give their right arm to play for, a team with a rich and incredible history, one that boasts brilliant young talents in Gavi and Pedri and, of course, one that is synonymous with Lionel Messi.
Real Madrid are bidding to win an astonishing sixth Champions League title in 10 seasons and 15th overall, as well as their third La Liga in four years. Add in a seemingly endless pursuit of Kylian Mbappe and a squad boasting legends — Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos — and young talent — Vinicius Junior, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga — and there will be no shortage of things to write and talk about.
Much like the way we cover other teams, we want to take you inside the two clubs and help you understand what is happening and why. What is a financial lever and how many more of them can Barcelona pull? What will the new Bernabeu look like? Is La Masia still producing incredible footballers? Will Real Madrid’s women’s team ever be able to compete with their Barcelona counterparts?
Our new reporters have a wealth of contacts, insight and ideas, and start today with a fantastic list of articles, packed full of exclusive information. You’ll also be seeing them across our podcast network regularly. They will be guided by editors Patrick Jennings and Tomás Hill López-Menchero, with Nnamdi Onyeagwara joining our news team at the same time.
And to pre-empt the inevitable question: no, we aren’t running their articles in Spanish or Catalan, too. But that doesn’t mean we won’t do so in the future.
We hope you enjoy the writers’ first pieces and please let us know below what you’d like us to write about and look into. We’re here to make you happy after all!
Pol Ballús — Pol moves back home to Barcelona after working for The Athletic in Manchester, where he lived for seven years. He was previously an English football correspondent for multiple Spanish outlets and also worked for The Times of London. In 2019, he co-wrote the book Pep’s City: The Making Of A Superteam.
Today’s read: Why Lionel Messi remains a political pawn at Barcelona 17 months after his exit
Laia Cervelló Herrero — Laia joins The Athletic after spending four years reporting on Barcelona for Spanish newspaper Diario Sport. She previously worked for beIN Sports and GOL TV, starting her career at public television station beteve in Barcelona.
Today’s read: Ansu Fati, Barcelona’s brilliant record breaker, and the injury that changed everything
Mario Cortegana — Mario joins from Spanish newspaper Marca, where he was responsible for breaking several big stories. He has also worked for AS and Goal.com, while he regularly appears on GOL TV. He covered the European Championship in 2021 and the recent World Cup in Qatar.
Today’s read: Inside the deal that saw Real Madrid win the race for Endrick
Guillermo Rai — Guillermo has moved back to Madrid after working for sports newspaper Diario AS as their London correspondent while also contributing to Spanish radio station Cadena SER. He began his career at AS and reported on Real Madrid’s run to a 14th Champions League title last season.
Today’s read: No Spaniards in the XI a first for Real – but the problems lie elsewhere
(Top photo: Alvaro Medranda/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Read the full article here