Fog has collapsed city traffic and flights into Barajas, yet another gangland shooting is discovered, train strikes are ruining half a million people’s month, and heroin is being sold over-the-counter in marginalised neighbourhoods.
But hey, none of that really counts as ‘news’ in Madrid this weekend. Far more important events are afoot. It’s ‘Clasico‘ time this Saturday night, the great Real Madrid-Barcelona football match at the Santiago Berbabeu stadium, and absolutely nothing is going to divert the city’s (or indeed the nation’s) attention from that. Forget all the recent political wrangling over Catalonia’s attempts to secure even more independence, this match is where the nation’s political, emotional and cultural pulse can truly be measured.
Bars city-wide will be packed, the police will be out in force around the stadium, on the alert for high-profile terrorist attacks and the usual hooligan nonsense, and once again the city’s most famous fountain, Cibeles, will be barricaded against the marauding celebrations of Madrid fans. With the way Madrid have been playing recently, however, it is more than likely that Cibeles will be spared any trouble this year, and real news will be allowed to trickle back through a city-wide hangover on Sunday morning.