Spanish fans made my days in LaLiga delightful, says Adepoju
Former Super Eagles’ midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju says he will continue to savour his moments in the La Liga, particularly the spirit of ‘togetherness’ displayed by the Spanish fans during a local derby. Adepoju, who spoke at a LaLiga derbies close-up event in Lagos, recalled how the fans contributed to his success in all the clubs he featured in the LaLiga.
The former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan player, who is fondly called ‘headmaster,’ spent 11 years in Spain playing professional football.On his arrival in Spain, Adepoju played for Real Madrid B, but it was at Racing Santander that he made his La Liga debut. He made 124 appearances for Racing, scoring 45 times before pitching his tent with Real Sociedad in 1996. He ended his spell in Spain in 2001 with second-tier club, UD Salamanca.
Now a La Liga ambassador, Adepoju said he enjoyed his stay in Spain because the fans showed him love. “Anytime there is a derby in the LaLiga, supporters of the two clubs see themselves as one big family,” he said.
The event at Moist Beach Club, Oniru Private Beach, Lagos was to raise awareness for each of the derbies being played in LaLiga during the second half of the season. They include the Madrid derby between Real Madrid CF and Athletic de Madrid, the EL Gran derby between Sevilla FC and Real Betis, the Valencian derby between Valencia CF and Levante UD, the Basque derby between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bibao, and the Catalan derby between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol.
Also speaking at the event, Managing Director LaLiga Nigeria, Javier Del Rio said: “We see this as an opportunity to present the various major derbies coming up in LaLiga to the Nigerian sports media, in a bid to educate them on the passion and culture of each derby. We found that many people only know about the El Clasico as a big game in LaLiga, and El Clasico is not even a derby.”
Apart from Adepoju, about eight other top Super Eagles players have graced the Spanish La Liga. They include Finidi George, who played for Real Betis and RCD Mallorca, Gbenga Okunowo, who featured for La Liga giants FC Barcelona at the age of 18, Odion Ighalo (scored 33 times in 124 La Liga games for Grenada), and Ikechukwu Uche (scored a total 42 goals in 194 games for Recreativo, Getafe, Zaragoza, Villarreal, Granada and Málaga.
Others are Kalu Uche (scored 27 goals in 117 appearances for Almeria, Levante and Espanyol), Obafemi Martins (Levante (2012/13), Isaac Success (Grenada (2013/16), Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna), Brown Ideye (On loan to Malaga).
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