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FOOTBALL

From arrests to pickpockets: The numbers that tell the story of Liverpool and Spurs fans in Madrid

It was the biggest police operation Madrid had ever staged for a sporting event and Madrid was poised for an invasion of hooligans. But were the fans really that badly behaved?

From arrests to pickpockets: The numbers that tell the story of Liverpool and Spurs fans in Madrid
It was the biggest police presence ever staged for a sporting event. Photo: AFP

Some 5,000 police officers were on duty over a two day period that saw more than 70,000 British fans – at a conservative estimate – flood into Madrid for the Champions League final.

Headlines in the Spanish press in the run up to event suggested the capital was about to be overrun with British football hooligans and some restaurant proprietors in the centre suggested they may shut their doors between Friday and Monday morning to avoid any trouble.

But how much trouble was there really?

Lets take a look at the stats.

Arrests

Spanish police said a total of 14 British people were arrested in connection with Champions League celebrations.

One British fan was arrested for attempting to fly a drone over Plaza Mayor, which had been taken over by Liverpool fans.

Another was arrested after stealing a match ticket from a fellow fan. He was chased down by two mounted police officers near the stadium.

Three fans were caught by plains clothes policemen attempting to steal video equipment from a TV crew filming outside the Wanda stadium ahead of the match on Saturday.

Another Brit was arrested for possession of drugs and resisting arrest as he entered the stadium ahead of the match.

Four fans were arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour. One had smashed up a bar on Professor Waksman Street, and another two were held for fighting on Gloriteta de Ruiz Jiménez and a fourth lashed out at cops as they attempted to move him.

This last is believed to be Macauley Negus, whose family issued desperate appeals after he went missing during post match celebrations. In fact he was in police custody but had been “too inebriated” to correctly give him name to police so they were unable to match him to the missing person description.

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Photo: Paul D. Thacker

Another  fan was arrested after trying to break in to apartment on Argumosa Street in Lavapaies which he mistakenly believed he was staying in. On discovering the key didn’t work he tried to break down the door, but in fact had the address wrong.

The most serious incident was that of a fan who was filmed naked, perched on the railings in Puerta del Sol, masturbating in public. He allegedly assaulted an Italian tourist, attempting to place his hand up her skirt and then when she resisted, he knocked her to the ground.

Several arrests were made over  the weekend of people attempting to sell fake tickets, including one woman who was caught after selling two fake tickets for €8,400 to two fans in Puerta del Sol.

Police said they had received dozens of calls but said in all cases they were minor disturbances that dispersed with the arrival of police officers to the scene.

First aid emergencies

Samur, the medical emergency service which runs ambulances in Madrid and set up medical emergency stations in the fanzones and at hotspots across the city over the weekend, reported treating a total of 25 people on Friday and 172 people on Saturday.

The majority suffered dizziness, fainting and vomiting from the heat and consuming too much alcohol and only 20 were transferred to hospital treatment and given further treatment over the two days.

Emergency Passports

It is difficult to determine exactly how many people were the victims of pickpockets over the weekend but many complained in whatsapp groups of fans and on facebook of having their wallets stolen.

The British Embassy confirmed to The Local that by Monday morning consular officials had provided 60 emergency travel documents from Brits who had lost or had their passports stolen over the weekend.

Rubbish

City Hall authorities claimed 85 tons of rubbish, mostly empty beer cans, had been collected between Thursday and Sunday from areas where fans had congregated – the dedicated fan zones as well as the squares of Puerta del Sol, Callao and Plaza Mayor.

Economic boom

According to predictions ahead of the event, Madrid was set for an economic boom of €62million for hosting the final, according to the Confederación de Empresarios Madrileños (CEIM).

This estimate was based on the expected spend of some 70,000 fans at hotels, bars and restaurants over the weekend.

Not too bad then

Yes, it was noisy, messy and occasionally got out of hand but on the whole it went pretty smoothly. Despite fears of hooliganism, there were only isolated incidents of bad behaviour. Madrileños might be left perplexed as to the need for quite so many sweaty overweight men to walk around with their shirts off, and the chants will be ringing in the ears of residents for a few days yet.

After all, Spaniards know, better than anyone, how to stage a good party. 

READ ALSO: Champions League Final: What to eat in Madrid when you have a hangover

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FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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