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Team 33 | The curious case of RCD Espanyol


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These days you can spare a thought for the likes of 1860 Munich and Torino FC.

Both are very much the little brothers to dominant siblings in their respective football cities of Munich and Turin at a time when the richest get richer.

But Torino at least had a glorious history before the Superga Air Crash wiped out one of Italy's all-time great teams in 1949 and 1860 Munich did win their one and only title of the Bundesliga era before Bayern Munich had got their own motor running. These days though, 1860 find themselves in the third tier of German football, far away from their more impressive days.

RCD Espanyol though occupy a more unique space in their own stunning city of Barcelona. Like 1860 and Torino, they are the second club in the city, but unlike the aforementioned two clubs, have always played second fiddle throughout their history, only rarely - and I mean rarely - finishing above neighbours Barcelona throughout decades and decades of La Liga.

Espanyol have never won La Liga, finishing third four times, but have won the Spanish Cup AKA Copa del Rey four times, most recently in 2006 as well as reaching two UEFA Cup finals where they ended up on the losing side. In comparison to Barcelona who have won every single trophy there is to win many times over, it barely registers.

But there is another layer to Espanyol's existence in Barcelona city. While FC Barcelona are associated with Catalan nationalism, Espanyol on the other hand have been stereotyped as being on the other end of the scale: Pro-Spanish, Pro-Crown and hostile to Catalan nationalism.

A 2017 article even suggested that the Cornella area where their current stadium is based is a bastion of citizens who have been reluctant to assimilate into Catalan culture.

But the reality is far more complex than those headline grabbing sentiments.

To discuss that and more, I was re-joined on this week's Team 33 by Barcelona-based Irish-Liverpudlian film-maker Marcus Maher to discuss those stereotypes and Espanyol's place in a city dominated by its eponymous football club.

You can listen to the full chat on the podcast player below or on iTunes as well as the video player above:  

Apart from Gary Neville and Arsenal Fan TV founder Robbie Lyle, recent interviews on Team 33 include former Man United cult hero Andrei Kanchelskis, ex-England international Carlton Palmer, former Newcastle and Everton left back Alessandro Pistone, Chelsea legends Bobby Tambling and Paddy Mulligan, Dutch legend Johan Neeskens, ex-England striker Darius Vassell, Liverpool legend David Fairclough, former Ireland midfielder Mark Kinsella, USA captain Eric Lichaj and former Everton forward Tomasz Radzinski. Plus our in-depth chats with Tony CotonPackie BonnerNobby SolanoRon Atkinson and Alan Curbishley are still available on iTunes. You can find them all in one place by subscribing to Team 33 on iTunes.


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