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These are the 3 most popular sports in Spain

Sport is a great way to experience a country when you are traveling! Whether it is soaking up the atmosphere of a World Cup Final, or finding out more about local sports. Attending a match or game of your favorite sport can be a great way to experience a place outside of the normal tourist routes. But where do you start? Here are some of the most popular sports in Spain, and a little language to get you by when attending. Happy traveling!


Spanish people are passionate about sports. But what sports do they like most? Click here to find out and get some good sports-related Spanish vocabulary at the same time ;)

Table of Contents

Photo via Flickr




Of course, football is huge in Spain! La Liga is the premier league filled with big name teams you already know, like Real Madrid, F C Barcelona, and Valencia. If you are interested in looking at smaller games, truly you will be spoilt for choice. From the Segunda División with 22 teams, right down to the 1st Regional Division with 620, and then regional teams in addition to those, there is always something to watch. The system of relegation, promotion, and play-offs is similar in the top leagues in Spain to what you will find in other countries, though lower down with all the regional playoffs things can get complicated — perfect for delving into if you love football!


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So what language should you take with you when attending a match in Spain? We have you covered!


For the team:


Equipo — team

Defensa — defender

Extremo — winger

Barredor — sweeper

Delantero — forward

Centrocampista — midfield player

Portero / guardameta / golero — goalkeeper

Goleador — goal scorer

Sustituto — substitute

Un jugador lesionado — injured player

Juez de línea — linesman

Entrenador — manager

Árbitro — referee


For the game:


Torneo — tournament

Estadio — stadium

Partido — match

Equipo adversario — opposing team

Hincha/seguidor — supporter

Espectador — spectator

Saque de salida — kick-off

Intervalo del medio — half time interval

Seguno tiempo — second half

Temporada — season

Marcador — scoreboard

Marcar tres goles — score a hat trick

Descuento — injury time

Pasar — pass

Falta — foul

Tiro penal — penalty kick

Propia meta — own goal

¿Cómo van? — what’s the score?

El resultado final — the final score

Torniquete — turnstile

Línea de banda — touch line

Amonestar un jugador — to book a player

El campo — the pitch

La red — the net

Grada — terrace

Internada — tackle

Tacos — studs

Balón — ball

Banderines — flagposts

Los colors del equipo — strip


Spanish people are passionate about sports. But what sports do they like most? Click here to find out and get some good sports-related Spanish vocabulary at the same time ;)

Photo via Pexels




Tennis has a big following in Spain. With Rafael Nadal dominating so many grand slams and other international tournaments, Spain has a lot to be proud of with its support for tennis. Spain hosts two ATP tournaments in Madrid and Barcelona, attracting thousands of fans from across the country as well as abroad. In fact, tennis is so important to the country, that there are travel companies who arrange package holidays for visitors to incorporate playing tennis into their visit! So whether you are attending a match or playing yourself, there is plenty of tennis going on around you.


What tennis vocabulary do you need?


For the players:


Tenista — tennis player

El jugador con el servicio — server

El restador — receiver

El contrario — opponent

El juez de sillar — umpire

El juez de red — net judge

El juez de línea — linesman

El juez de faltas de pie — foot fault judge

El recogepelotas — ball boy


For the game:


Saque granador — ace

Ventaja — advantage

Bola de ruptura — break point

Iguales — duece

Juego — game

Globo — lob

Punto de partido — match point

Golpe paralelo — passing shot

Manga — set

Mate — smash

Volea — volley

Smash — smash

Cancha — court

El cuadro de saque — forecourt

La cancha de fondo — backcourt

La zona de saque izquierda/derecha — left/right service court

La cinta central — centre strap

La marca centra — centre mark

La línea lateral de individuales/dobles — singles/doubles sideline

La pelota de tenis — tennis ball

La raqueta de tenis — tennis raquet


Spanish people are passionate about sports. But what sports do they like most? Click here to find out and get some good sports-related Spanish vocabulary at the same time ;)

Photo via Wikimedia


Formula One


Our final choice for popular sports in Spain is Formula One. Think of Formula One racers and one of Spain’s very own is probably one of the first names on your lips. Fernando Alonso is a two-time world champion who has participated in 17 seasons of Formula One, and is currently driving for Toyota. Spain hosts a circuit for Formula One at Barcelona-Catalunya, which has capacity for a crowd of almost 141,000. When the Circuit isn’t hosting a race it is open to visitors, who can take a tour and get to experience what goes into Formula One behind the scenes.  


So what language should you know before attending?


Carrera de automóviles — motorsports

Pilot — racing driver

Casilla — box

Embrague — clutch

La bandera de cuadros — checkered flag

Paddock — paddock

Posición — position

Hipódromo / pista de carreras — racetrack

Podio — podium

El neumático — tyre

Circuito — circuit

Aerodinámica — aerodynamics

Apéndice — apex

Carrocería — bodywork

equilibrio de frenos — brake balance

Chasis — chassis

Carlinga — cockpit

Fuerza G — g-force

Grava — gravel

manipulación/manejo — handling

Sobreviraje — oversteer

Calificativo — qualifying

Auto seguro — safety car


There are many popular sports in Spain! Which are you going to watch?