Dutch Soccer Fan Forum – Sharing Ideas

Dutch soccer is indeed one of the popular sports in Denmark and due to fans overwhelming support of the Ajax Amsterdam clubs; they have created a Dutch soccer fan forum. This is made for the clubs information, awards and happenings. It is also about the national teams and about fans comments and suggestions as well.

As we all know forum is a way to attract viewers or to gain lots of ideas from them. Every sport has a forum and usually it represents the country interest and on what sports they really are into. For the love of soccer or perhaps any sport, fans give credit to their teams by creating a forum for them. Just like the Dutch Football where fans invented it to let everyone know that they are proud of their team.

Everybody loves to read on forums because it offers a lot of ideas and information regarding a certain topic. I have seen several forums about soccer and Dutch soccer fan forum is intriguing for me. I haven't heard much about Dutch soccer yet and reading to the forum makes me aware that they are indeed a football country too.

Its fun reading fans ideas and even sometimes they will fight for misunderstanding in the topics and comments. Fans would also get to know each other whether from Denmark or some other parts of the world. As far as I know Dutch has no rivalry with some other countries so the forum is purely about the game and opinions of fans regarding on national teams as well as the international leagues and events about soccer.

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Soccer Boot Use Tips To Prolong Life And Maximize Effectiveness

Choosing the right boot for playing is very important because it can maximize performance while in the field of play. Size and comfort are some of the most important elements to consider when getting a pair. But in order to keep your boots in good shape for longer so you can continue enjoying maximum effectiveness, you would need to use them in the proper manner. Below are some soccer cleat use tips that can help you achieve just that.

Tip 1 – Wear the right cleats for the right surface type. Soft ground cleats for instance, should not be used on hard surfaces otherwise they will easily wear and tear. Go for ground specific boots or choose a pair that is suitable for all types of grounds for more convenience.

Tip 2 – Loosen up the boot laces. You may want the boot to remain in place but tight laces can be pretty uncomfortable for your feet. Try loosening them to last eyelet only tightening them again up the highest eyelet. A good lace fit reduces stress to forefoot and this makes the fit more comfortable for you.

Tip 3 – Use cleats that are suitable for your foot shape. Your cleats should not be subjected to pressure on areas not designed to take up such pressure otherwise they will break easily. If you have wide feet, then keep off narrow shoes and instead select cleats that are designed for wide feet otherwise you will end up damaging the area where the outsole meets the upper. If possible, try walking around in the new pair just to have a fee before buying.

Tip 4 – Use more than one pair of football boots. It may be an expensive option but giving your cleats, some break ensures that you do not overuse them hence you prolong their life. If you are always practicing and taking part in matches, then using multiple pairs should be a very good idea to extend the life of your boot.

Tip 5 – Replace the studs when there is a need to. Cleats that come with detachable studs can be very reliable. Let the replacement of the studs be dictated by how often you use the boots and the conditions under which you use them on. It would be a very good idea to replace the studs as soon as they start becoming uneven because it is an issue that can throw you off balance and possibly even cause injuries.

Tip 6 – Break in your cleats. It is never a good idea to use your new cleats in a match before you break them in as it can lead to blistering and make your play very uncomfortable. Use them for light exercises and stuff them with newspaper so you break them in without causing any damage to them. It is a process that eliminates the initial tightness that comes with the boots giving you a more comfortable fit when it is time to play a major game.

It is also important that you wash the cleats properly depending on the materials and let them air dry before storing them in the best way.

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How Sports Psychology Can Improve Your Sales

Learn from the Habits of Highly Successful Sportspeople

I am often asked «How can sports psychology help salespeople, surely they are totally different areas of expertise?» and my answer is simply this:

Every sport has different skills sets & disciplines and requires different areas of knowledge – yet most, if not all, now accept that mental strength and readiness is the single most important factor that separates the winners from the also-rans.

I’m sure you will accept that at the pinnacle of any sport the top athlete’s skill levels and abilities are extremely close?

My sport is golf. In any given week there are 20, 30 even 40 players who could win a tournament – if it was all down to their inherent ability to hit a golf ball. But it’s not! Every week it’s the player who thinks right and plays right that wins – not necessarily the most skilful player on show!

If you follow football; does the best team always win the match? No.

This demonstrates how you think matters!

And as someone who’s been involved in Sales and Sales Management for many years and is now actively involved in the training and development of sales forces throughout the country, I believe the same is true of our industry.

How salespeople think, matters!

Sales success is all in the mind. Yes you need selling skills. You need product knowledge. You need the ability to plan and prepare. As does the golfer; he needs to be able to drive the ball, play out of bunkers, play flop shots and putt. BUT! That all said; it’s how he thinks during the round that will determine his success and so it is in selling too. How you think during the day, during the call, ultimately determines your success.

So here is a brief glimpse into some of the areas that highly successful sportsmen and women excel at and how they would benefit us in the sales game too.

Practice, Practice, Practice… but in right way:

The top echelon of sportsmen and women make every second count when practicing. They work all areas of their game to the maximum, not just the points they’re good at. They dissect their sport into its smallest components and ensure they are world class in each and every one of them.

Take a long jumper. The UK Olympic qualifying distance is 8.20mts. If an athlete is coming up short of this target – let’s say 7.90mts, he doesn’t just keep practicing by running and jumping over and over hoping to get longer – he practices in the right way. He and/or his coach analyses every area of his performance and works on it in order to improve.

Technique: Take-off and landing – is his method right?

Physical: Does he have enough power in his legs for an explosive run up? If not – into the gym!

Diet: Is he eating properly, is he carrying a few pounds too many?

Mental: Does he have the belief in himself and his ability?

Technical: Is he using the whole run-up area – jumping too soon before the board?

You get the point? They don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over hoping it will get better.

The first thing to do in order to get better at selling is to think about the way you practice and rehearse your selling, your pitch, your selling style (if you even do it!) and create a solid routine.

First Impressions: Approach to the customer, Appearance? Do you adapt to what you see?

Presentation: Do you establish customer objectives? Translate selling points into benefits? Do you tell rather than ask?

Profitability: Do you always look to up-sell? Provide add-ons?

Closing: Do you make saying «yes» easy? Ask for referrals?

I’ve worked with many golfers and salespeople of all abilities and the thing that correlates most to improved performance is the way you practice. To keep motivated, create a Personal Progress Log – break your sales role into all of its different facets and mark whether your own performance in each area is Not Good Enough, Good Enough or Excellent and then work away on each area no more than a few at a time – to get them all up to Excellent.

Study, learn and rehearse – in sales this is your practice – the equivalent of going to the driving range for golfers. And like I tell all golfers, if you want to improve don’t make practice routine, make practice hard and challenge yourself. What can your team do to become dedicated to continual improvement?

Stay Focussed and in the Moment:

Staying in the present means that you give whatever you are doing your complete and undivided attention. In sport, this means you’re not thinking about your score, why you think you just mishit that shot or 3 putted the last hole. All your energy is on the task at hand. This is also true when selling. No point reflecting on missing out on that last sale, being caught out by an objection or forgetting to up-sell your add-ons and accessories – while you drive to your next appointment or await your next customer coming into the store. The last sale is over!

Yes you will and should have time to reflect later on, when the selling day is done but DON’T do it on the way to the next call or while you wait. Don’t bring yourself down. Focus on the positives in your abilities and think how the next sale will happen successfully.

It’s counter-productive not to be in the present!

If you play golf for example, just think back to the last time you started playing well and subsequently thought about shooting your best score, «if only I can keep it going for the last few holes» – only for your game to unravel!

Staying in the present is easier said than done, I appreciate that; and like everything else it takes practice but it can and should be done.

Create a highly repeatable routine – follow your Sales Process:

In golf, the top players in the world all go through the exact same routine before every shot, even down to the number of practice swings. Watch them and you’ll notice that the number of seconds it takes to go through their pre-shot routine is the same every time. This helps them stay focussed on the process of shot-making and not get too caught up on outcome thoughts such as; «This putt for the Open» or in football when they think «This penalty to get through to the World Cup Final» (Many football supporters will be all too familiar with what happens when a player focus on the outcome of the penalty!)

What’s your routine when selling? Pre-sale or during a sale? Post sale? Don’t have one? Do you factor in your Sales Process and plan and prepare accordingly?

Well unless you are perfect – take leaf from the Pro’s and get a routine that makes you feel comfortable and confident so you perform at your best when selling.

Know how to calm yourself down when the pressure is on.

How do you cope with the pressure of hitting demanding targets? Or dealing with a tough customer who’s giving you a hard time? In sales, nerves can and do kick in when the pressure is on and once again we have an area where selling can learn directly from the sports arena.

I’ve worked with enough golfers to know that the good ones know powerful techniques to calm themselves down to prevent nerves turning into panic and negatively affecting their performance. They use nerves to their advantage. Because if you are nervous it’s really a good sign – it shows that what you are doing matters! You care!

There are many ways to control nerves such as breathing techniques or using your peripheral vision or having special thoughts/places to go in your head. I recently read that Jesper Parnevik would try to solve math problems in his head when it all got too much when playing. So there are countless ways to do it! You just need to find a technique that helps you.

Remember, nerves cannot be eliminated totally IF what you are doing matters to you. If it’s not important or way below your level of ability and skill – you probably won’t be nervous. But when it matters – then you need the awareness to appreciate that feeling nervous is «normal» in fact it’s desirable – and then have a way that suits you in dealing with it and let the nerves help your performance, rather than hinder it.

The power of acceptance and moving on:

No one is successful 100% of the time. Mistakes happen. Sales are lost. But beating yourself up about it won’t improve your next performance!

By all means, at the appropriate time analyse what went wrong and take steps to ensure it won’t be repeated again if it’s within your power to do so but being able to accept a setback and not let it cripple you mentally is imperative to peak performance.

In golf, being able to accept the outcome of every shot is a trait that all the top players possess. Although almost impossible to achieve, the optimal state for golf would be if you could become emotionally indifferent to good and bad shots and remain on the same level throughout – but show me any sportsperson who’s not emotionally charged and pumped up for winning and I’ll show you a loser!

It’s a balancing act. Remaining in emotional control when it matters most can be done but once again it takes practice, discipline and the finding of techniques that work for you. Then you need the ability to let it all go – when it goes wrong!

Padraig Harrington tells himself as part of his pre-shot routine that although he has a positive intention for the shot, if it doesn’t go where he wants it to, it’s better to accept it and move on, than get upset. He wants his mind to be clear, ready for the next shot – wherever it may be from – not harking back to the previous swing that put him in trouble.

Try giving yourself that same pep talk before your next sales call. Don’t let setbacks drag you down!

Conclusion

Ensure your sales people make every second of selling time count! That’s when they are performing their trade, their skill, their chosen career.

Encourage them to put the above ideas into practice and you will see continuous improvement in their sales ability and performance.

The sports industry has spent millions of dollars and decades of research fine tuning these techniques. Use them. They work!

Should you wish to discuss how Sports Psychology can help you and/or your Team improve Sales Performance please feel free to drop me an email or give me a call.

Here’s to successful Selling!

The Inner Coach

You can find more information on ways Sport Psychology can help your Sales right here:

Develop Your Inner Coach Series

Football Boots Buying Guide

With time, football boots are becoming an essential accessory for football players. These shoes come in thousands of styles, as there are many manufacturers out there. So, which shoes should you go for? Here are some pieces of advice from experts to make it easier for you.

Comfort

Do your feet hurt in your shoes? If you can not walk comfortably in your shoes, how can you play with them on? In other words, comfort is the first thing that should be considered when buying a good pair.

Price level

You have to set a price limit. In the store, you may be tempted by the thought that you can go for that awesome pair if you spend just a few more bucks. But believe me, you should not cross the price barrier you set. Most of the time, good football boots come with a price tag of not more than $ 200. This can be a good price limit for you.

Size Matters

No matter how cheap it may be, do not grab a pair that is too big for you. While the price may be tempting, do not make this mistake. Playing in a pair that does not fit you is a sure fire way to lose a game.

Do not Try on Big Names

Big names do not needlessly make the best shoes. Small or less popular manufacturers can also make quite good shoes. In other words, there is no harm in trying on shoes made by less popular brands. As long as they make shoes that meet your requirements, you can buy from them.

Shop Around

Shopping around may ensure you get the best pair at the best price. In the market, you should visit several stores to get quotes and check out different pairs. This is the only most reliable and conventional way of buying the shoes you want.

Avoid Marketing Ploys

Do you want the same brand of shoes that Cristiano Ronaldo put on? If you do, stop. Are you sure the same brand will be best for you too? There is a chance that the pair made by that manufacture will not fit you. So, this is not the right way to buy a pair of boots, especially for playing football.

Buying Online

While online stores may be cheaper than physical stores, buying shoes from an online store does not seem like a good idea unless the store is trustworthy. The size may be wrong or the appearance may be different from the pictures you saw on their website. Moreover, you can not try on the shoes you saw on a website. How can you ensure that the boots will be comfortable? Therefore, it's a good idea that you go to a local store and try on a few good pairs.

There you go! Hopefully, if you re-read these tips before heading for your local store to try on different pairs of shoes, you will not buy the wrong pair. Usually, when people buy from online stores without thinking about the important tips given in this article, they end up with wrong pairs.

Is Every Soccer (Football) Player Unique?

1960’s – 2011 comparison (Pele)

There is no doubt that Brazilian striker Pele was the best player of the 1960’s. Pele and Maradona are the two players who are always mentioned when the common question is asked, ‘Who was the best player to have ever lived?’ Pele will often be the answer. So what was Pele like? Pele was a natural goal scorer, the Santos striker was incredibly athletic and his dribbling/balance combination was unstoppable for defenders. His ability to go past defenders at such speed and maintain such balance credited him with many goal scoring opportunities, which more likely than not Pele would score emphatically. Pele had technique, the passing ability of a central midfield maestro, the engine of a Marathon runner and the power of a steam train. His statistics are sensational, 1281 goals in 1363 games.

No one can live up to Pele’s name; Manchester United’s George Best in the 70’s was a similar type of player to Pele but was more a winger than a forward. In the modern era, few have been compared to Pele but none have lived up to the reputation that Brazilian Pele possessed. Alexandre Pato of AC Milan was tipped to be the Pele of this era, but he has to yet to show any phenomenal form to even label him the one of the best strikers today let alone ever lived. Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is the closest of this decade that we have compared to Pele. Rooney possesses the same power and physique that Pele does, the same ability to pick out a 70 yard cross field ball and the same vision and technique. England striker Rooney just doesn’t have same amount of pace that Pele did which combines with the factor that Rooney doesn’t particularly go past players with skill and flair.

Wayne Rooney has scored goals that you wouldn’t think were possible with the stunning volley against Newcastle and the recent potential goal of the season overhead against rivals Manchester City. Pele scored stunning goals in the 60’s and 70’s for Santos and Brazil, one ‘nearly’ goal that would’ve been one of the greatest goals of all time. His dummy against Uruguay that left the keeper for dead when the ball went one way and Pele went around the other way, but his shot off balance and on a tight angle just went wide.

1970’s – 2011 comparison (Johann Cruyff)

Johann Cruyff was part of the Ajax side that inherited the ‘total football’ philosophy introduced by Dutch coach Rinul Michels. Former Barcelona and Ajax front man Johann Cruyff’s style of play was influenced by the total football approach he conducted to his game. His natural position was centre forward but because of the tactical way the Ajax side played the game, he roamed around and ended up playing on the wing and central midfield more often than not. The Holland striker spent half of the 1970’s at Barcelona for Rinus Michels, where he was crowned European Footballer of the Year at his time at Barcelona in consecutive years.

Cruyff was dubbed the ‘Pythagoras in boots’ because of his ability to pick out passes from angles that looked impossible. Not only did he have an eye for a pass but he had tremendous speed and his ability to accelerate away from defenders which was helped by the ‘Cruyff turn’ named after the Dutch maestro is still a turn associated with football 40 years later.

I don’t think any striker could grace Cruyff’s ability to play in multiple positions to maximum effect so I’ve chosen a playmaker and speed merchant who would grace Cruyff’s technical and physical attributes to his game, Ryan Giggs. Both players in their prime had the ability to go past players with flair and tremendous pace creating goal scoring opportunities. Giggs isn’t as prolific as Cruyff as a finisher but Giggs certainly lives up to the playmaking abilities that Cruyff possessed. Ryan Giggs in his prime was lightening over 5-10 yards and could maintain such frightening pace for 40-50 yards which he shared with Cruyff.

However as football has changed much over the years since Cruyff’s successful days at Ajax and Barcelona, the style of play has changed and there aren’t many similar type of players of Cruyff’s calibre that could play naturally upfront and drop back deeper and still be extremely effective.

1980’s – 2011 comparison (Diego Maradona)

Maradona or Messi? There is no doubt that of today’s game, Lionel Messi is the nearest if not potential candidate to surpass Maradona’s ability as a footballer. Former Barcelona striker Diego Maradona along with Pele is one of the best players to have ever graced this planet. He wasn’t as clinical as Pele but taking nothing away from Maradona he still had a very good goal scoring record for club and country. The style of play on the ball for Maradona and Messi is identical. They both dribble with extreme pace and a very low centre of gravity; they both possess extreme dribbling skills with the ability to have 5-10 touches in the space of seconds to make it impossible for defenders to tackle. Many have questioned whether Lionel Messi could do what Maradona did at Napoli. Maradona won what is now the Italian ‘serie A’ with Napoli with what was a very average squad, Maradona being the pivotal part of the Napoli side and no doubt wouldn’t have been title winners if Maradona wasn’t on their books. Could Messi do a similar fate at Blackburn of the English Premiership, Udinese of the Italian Serie A? Many doubt whether Messi could.

In contrast Messi has achieved a lot more than Maradona at this age having already won the Spanish La Liga 4 times and Champions League 2 times. Messi is only 23, Maradona at 23 won the treble with Barcelona in 1983 and an Argentine title with Boca Juniors in 1981 but that was it. So Messi so far has had a better career on silverware success but Maradona’s achievements at Napoli and on the international arena set him aside to Messi. Infamously, Maradona also has a World Cup to his name in 1986 which Maradona made his name.

There is no doubt that Barcelona winger Messi scores goals from all sorts of angles and all sorts of scintillating runs but Maradona’s second goal against England in the 1986 World Cup has been regarded as the goal of the century by many people. Maradona travelled with the ball 60 metres and took on six English players in the process, rounded England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and scored from a tight angle to beat England 2-1 in the quarter finals of the 1986 World Cup which they went on to win. The ex-Napoli striker also scored the very controversial ‘hand of god’ goal in the same game which has been spoken about ever since. Messi hasn’t really shined on the international stage and if he does, it might be what takes him past his boyhood hero’s status.

1990’s – 2011 comparison (Ronaldo)

He was a natural goal scorer of his era and by far the best striker in his generation for simply scoring goal after goal. Ronaldo played at the highest level through the 90’s and early 00’s, he represented PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan in an illustrious career that was disrupted by serious knee injuries.

Brazilian striker Ronaldo was a born goal scorer, he had the ability to go past players with his skill and power but defiantly his threat was in the box. He scored 62 goals in just under 100 appearances for Brazil and has been voted Brazil’s best ever striker since Pele by numerous judging panels. Former Real Madrid striker Ronaldo was indestructible, if he got in the box it was inevitable he was going to score.

As Ronaldo has still being playing till quite recent, there hasn’t been long for anyone to potentially replace Ronaldo’s prowess for being a known goal scorer. However, there a few players that this season in world Football has started to develop their reputation. Javier Hernandez of Manchester United is one striker that could have the potential to live up to Ronaldo’s abilities in front of goal. He already has 16 goals for Manchester United in his first season and is a predator in the box similarly to Ronaldo. It’s doubtful whether Mexican forward Hernandez will have the impact on world football that Ronaldo did, but the Mexican is a very similar striker to what Ronaldo was in his prime.

Barcelona’s David Villa is another striker who is known for his potential in the box. Spanish hit man David Villa has earned his trade at Valencia for several years and finally sealed a move to Barcelona where he already has 21 goals to his name. Villa has also lived up to Ronaldo’s international reputation, having already won the European Championships in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010 with Spain being a key member of the winning side in both tournaments with his contribution of goals.

2000’s – 2011 comparison (Zidane)

One of the most gifted players of this century was French midfielder and former Juventus/Bordeaux midfielder Zidane. One of the most natural players at playing the game, Zidane glided through the game in a nonchalant manner that saw him one of footballs most composed players ever to have graced the game. An out and out central midfielder, Zidane possessed a goal scoring ability from midfield and also the ability to craft out magic in midfield to launch attacks for his side.

Zidane joined Real Madrid from Juventus in 2001 for a world record fee at the time of around 50 million pounds. Zidane enjoyed success in Real Madrid, winning the Champions League and the Spanish La Liga in his 6 years at the club. Not to mention becoming a World cup winner with France in 1998 and a runner up in 2006. Zidane was a tall, strong midfielder at 6’1 he was no fool at defending and wasn’t afraid to challenge for an aerial battle but Zidane came alive in the attacking half and his deft touches on the ball and he seemed to have eyes in the back of his head at times with his awareness of space around him.

Not many footballers have composure as a skill to their game because of the extreme amounts of pressure footballers are put under and now with all the money at stake. However, Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov is one of very few footballers that possess superb composure on the ball which is a very gracious skill to have. Bulgarian striker Berbatov and French midfielder Zidane also share the same style of control and first touch, with Berbatov having one of the greatest techniques in the world today similarly to Zidane in his prime. Although ex-Tottenham striker Berbatov is an out and out forward and Zidane never played upfront, the abilities they both have are very similar. Even their mental approaches are very alike, both are very quiet and don’t particularly talk much when competing competitively. Both have tremendous control on the ball, both have the ability to go past players with the skill on the ball rather than speed or strength.

Great players are easy to come by; it’s the magical players that are hard to come by. Who’s going to replace Barcelona’s Messi’s or Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s of today’s game in a few years? Football has the ability to produce stars to show on the world stage which is what makes football such an amazing sport to watch.

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FC Barcelona – The Rivalry With Real Madrid

As long as there have been sport teams, there have been rivalries. Whether it’s the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox or the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, the two rival teams inevitably end up meeting again and again, forming an ongoing heated rivalry that delights fans of the sport. One such rivalry is between Spanish football teams FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

FC Barcelona (also known as Barça by its fans) and Real Madrid are two of the earliest Spanish football teams, both forming in the 1890s. From the start, the two teams were seen as representatives of two rival regions of Spain, the ancient kingdoms of Castile and Catalonia. Both teams were part of La Liga, a Spanish football league and a rivalry that went far beyond football quickly took root.

It was during and after the Spanish Civil War that the rivalry took on more political overtones. Dictator Francisco Franco banned all peripheral languages, such as Catalan, the language of Barcelona. Catalonia had long been associated with more progressive fashions and political ideas, such as democracy-which was the diametric opposite of Franco’s dictatorial regime. FC Barcelona suffered as a result of being a part of the Catalonian culture. Real Madrid, on the other hand, was seen by many Spaniards (and Catalonians in particular) as the «establishment» club. Though Franco seemed to favor Real Madrid, members of both teams suffered under his regime.

The fierce rivalry continued into the 1950s when both clubs sought to sign Alfredo Di Stefano to play for them. Real Madrid eventually won out and Alfredo Di Stefano went on to lead them to many wins. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid went head-to-head twice at the European Cup in the 1960s, with Real Madrid winning one and FC Barcelona winning the other. The two teams clashed once again over a player in 2000 when Luis Figo left FC Barcelona and signed with Real Madrid. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid competed against each other again in the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2002, with Real Madrid getting the win. The Spanish media dubbed the match «The Match of the Century».

In the mid-2000s, the rivalry ascended to further heights when it acquired its own name, El Clasico. The term El Clasico was traditionally assigned to any South American football rivalry, but the growth of football in the Americas coupled with these two great teams’ rivalry led to the coining of the term as applied to FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. This was mostly a marketing scheme communicated via GolTV, an all-football satellite channel, but the term has been embraced by fans worldwide.

El Clasico shows no signs of slowing. To this very day, the two teams inevitably seek each other out on the field to find out who is the best team in Spain. Sometimes FC Barcelona wins and sometimes Real Madrid wins, but ultimately football fans worldwide are the ones who win whenever these two giants meet on the field.

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