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Summary

It’s Messi vs Ronaldo, it’s Catalonia vs Castilla. It’s the nation against the state, freedom fighters vs Franco’s fascists. It’s majestic goals and mesmerising skills, red cards and bench brawls. It’s the best two teams on the planet going face to face and toe to toe. It’s more than a game. It’s a war. It’s Barcelona vs Real Madrid.... Only, it’s not that simple.

From the wounds left by the civil war to the teams’ recent global domination, historian and expert on Spanish football, Sid Lowe lifts the lid on sport’s greatest rivalry. Lowe has spoken to the biggest names and the forgotten heroes who defined their clubs. Men like Alfredo Di Stéfano and Johan Cruyff as well as the only survivor of the most politically charged game in history, the Barcelona striker who knocked Madrid out of the European Cup for the first time ever, and the president who celebrated his club’s defining moment by taking a midnight dip in the Thames.

By exploring the history, politics, culture, economics, and language, while never forgetting the drama on the pitch, Lowe demonstrates the symbiotic nature of the relationship between these two football giants. In doing so he reveals the human story behind this explosive rivalry.

©2013 Sid Lowe (P)2013 Random House AudioGo

What listeners say about Fear and Loathing in La Liga

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Not only La Liga fans, for any football fans.

Absolutely loved it, shame it finished so quickly. Fantastic research, writing and narration. The beginning and present of an epic rivalry.

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Far from a Lowe, Sid is super!

I thought I knew the Barca Madrid rivalry quite well already but this book takes it to another level. A lot of myths crushed. Great portrayals of Kubala and Di Stefano too! Sid's narration brings the story to life also. A must listen!

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More than a club? More than a book about football

This is one of the best football books I've read. I've learned more about the culture and history of Spain from reading this than I have from reading history books about the country. Brilliant. I was engaged from start to finish

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Truly fascinating

So much depth and detail. An absolute joy to learn of the history of Spain through this rivalry. Eagerly awaiting an updated version to include the years since this was recorded.

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Dial Up Sid Lowe

Always one of the most insightful of sports journalists when he appears on Guardian Football Weekly, this book is a delight, especially in audio form. An interesting blend of football and history, it does not offer a comprehensive story of either but will leave the reader/listener with an incredible insight into how the two intertwine.

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Brilliant. Really balanced and interesting

Really recommend it! I didn't know a lot about the history of the El Classico, just the modern rivalry. This book informed what the precise wisdom is, but then the reality. Like Barca have not also grown Ballon d'ore winner's. And real were not always the big money spenders

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Interesting content; infuriating narration

I love the Football Weekly podcast, on which Sid Lowe frequently features to talk about Spanish football. Like many others, I follow the Premier League and have a vague awareness of what goes on in Spanish football through the Champions League, but no in-depth knowledge and don't follow it week-to-week.

I found the content of the book really interesting - the historical politics behind the scenes in Madrid and Barcelona, the Galacticos, Barcelona's revitalisation in the last few years. But... something I hadn't noticed about Sid Lowe when he speaks on podcasts is his inability to pronounce "th". It may not seem like much, but every time he says 1993 as "nineteen-ninety-free", Bethlehem as "Beff-lee-hem", and so on, it jars. The book would certainly lose something if someone else was narrating this book: clearly the guy knows Spanish football inside-out, and slipping back and forth between Spanish and English phrases when describing quotes etc is seamless, but this really did drive me mad by the end.

That said, for any football fan familiar with the English game and wanting to become a bit more knowledgable about the big two in Spain, I would still recommend this as well worth listening to.

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Very interesting I enjoyed it

If you could sum up Fear and Loathing in La Liga in three words, what would they be?

Hate this question

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not really applicable

What does Sid Lowe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I thought he was great and always good hearing author read

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I enjoyed overall and found it very interesting

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Excellent

A well researched, well read and engaging book. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in Spanish football. If you think you know about these two clubs think again. I did.

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wonderous re-telling of football's biggest rivalry

incredibly detailed and intensely facinating tour of the two biggest titans in world football. stunning

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Profile Image for Filipe Figueira
  • Filipe Figueira
  • 20-10-13

A wonderful and balanced history of both clubs

If you could sum up Fear and Loathing in La Liga in three words, what would they be?

Engrossing, Balanced & Informed

Who was your favorite character and why?

This book has really presented a great background to watching Classicos and Spanish football.

What about Sid Lowe’s performance did you like?

Great little personal vignettes that develop through the chapter with history and insight.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Sid Lowe is the perfect narrator. Great voice and the passion and knowledge comes through.