Archive of football trips to Spain from Abroad Red, featuring Vigo (via Madrid and Santiago de Compostela) in May 2017, Seville in February 2018, Valencia in December 2018 (both via Madrid) and Barcelona in April 2019. Read through all the posts about travelling to Spain.
Following the late drama in Paris we were into the quarter final draw of the Champions League. It’s the real business end of the tournament; with it comes the big names, and they don’t come much bigger than Barcelona. Although domestic rivals Real Madrid have won the trophy for the past three seasons, Barcelona added their fifth title in 2015, having also defeated United in the ’09 and ’11 finals.
A December game in Spain is always welcome; sat in the sun and 20 degrees certainly beats the sub-zero conditions of Ukraine or Denmark at this time of year. Our final group game in this seasons Champions League would be at Valencia, Spain’s third largest city and United’s third most faced team from the country too. Our last trip there was for the 2010 group stage match, one of my earlier trips, memorable for a last minute winner from Hernandez whilst a young Juan Mata lined up against us.
For the first time in 4 years United made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League, with 5 wins from 6 in a relatively straightforward group. Changes to the group seeding in recent years meant that finishing top still left us open to drawing a strong 2nd placed team, including Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus. Thankfully though we were paired with a new opponent and a trip to Seville.
The last time United lost at home in Europe was under Fergie against Madrid 4 years ago, and we’ve won all 5 matches at Old Trafford this season. After a late goal away at Anderlecht there was a lot to do to make it through to the semi-finals; the return leg treated us to yet another draw before a relieving late winner in extra time from Rashford. It’s not been an entirely convincing Europa League run but we’re just two games away from the final now with our next opponents Celta Vigo.