Elite sports personalities, Spain's ambassadors
Homage to Fernando Alonso in Oviedo. Photo: Fernando Alonso's official website
Pau Gasol with the Spanish team © Federación Española de Baloncesto
Stage of the Tour of Spain in Green Spain © Unipublic
Football and basketball teams that win World Cups and European Championships. A tennis player who has won practically every title going. The winner of the Tour de France, Giro de Italia and the Vuelta a España cycling races. A two-time Formula 1 world champion. Motorbike racers who have won all three categories. This is just a part of Spain's sporting showcase – don't miss the chance to experience it for yourself.
Pau Gasol, Rafael Nadal, Fernando Alonso, Alberto Contador, Iniesta and Marc Márquez are just a few of the Spanish sports stars known all over the world for their triumphs. You'll have plenty of opportunities to see them in action in Spain, but we also propose a visit to the cities which saw these champions grow up, and to the places where they trained to shape themselves into truly elite sportsmen.
Rafa Nadal, 'the kid' from Manacor
Manacor is a seaside town, popular with holidaymakers, on the island of Majorca in the Balearic Islands. It was here and in Palma (Majorca) that Rafa Nadal began his tennis career, which would ultimately make him the idol of the game all over the world. And he goes back to Manacor whenever he can to celebrate his spectacular triumphs and to relax in the town he still calls his home. But the truth is that the winner of trophies such as Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the US and Australian Open and the Davis Cup has a thousand reasons to do so. Beaches with crystal-clear waters, delicious cuisine, a mild climate, an enviable range of water sports on offer, and numerous golf courses are just a few of the attractions.
Champions of everything on motorbikes
Spain is a world superpower in motorcycle racing. And the best examples of this are Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo, two riders who have won the world championship in the highest possible category. If you like motorcycle racing, Spain offers the chance to enjoy watching world championships in four major events: the Grand Prix of Spain in Jerez (Andalusia), Catalonia, the Region of Valencia and Aragon.
Pau Gasol and the European champions
Pau Gasol was Spain's first great star and has triumphant in the prestigious NBA in the United States. He has since been joined by many more like his brother Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio. Spain hosted the World Cup in 2014, and the Spanish team has won numerous international titles in recent years, including: the World (2006) and European Cups (2015, 2011 and 2009). It came as no surprise to those in the know, as the ACB —the national basketball league— has been providing spectacular play for years. You can see some of the best matches in Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Valencia and Vitoria, where you'll also find culture and leisure options which make these cities ideal for a short break.
Messi, Isco, Griezmann, Iniesta... football stars
The star-studded Spanish League, La Liga is the highlight of any player’s CV. Its hallmark is high quality, technical football that is a joy to watch. The league stars figures like Messi, Griezmann and Modric, but Spanish players are in the spotlight after being picked for the national team. Some, like Silva, Iniesta, De Gea and Thiago, are thrilling fans abroad, while Ramos, Busquets, Piqué, Koke and Isco can only be enjoyed in Spain. What's more, Spanish teams are once again among the favourites to win the Champions' League. If you like great football and want to experience it in the atmosphere it deserves, Spain is an excellent destination.Messi definitely thinks so – he loves the city of Barcelona so much that he has motifs from Gaudí's Sagrada Familia tattooed on his right arm.
Alonso and the rising stars of Formula 1
The 2005 and 2006 world champion Fernando Alonso is thought by many to be the best driver on the grid in Formula 1. An admirer of his native city Oviedo in the Asturias region in northern Spain, he has created new fans for Formula 1, a sport which had long seemed forgotten in Spain. Now it’s so popular that Spain hosts one of the World Championship Grand Prix on the Catalonia circuit.
Spain, land of champion cyclists
Spanish cycling has always gone hand in hand with success. If the exploits of Miguel Indurain were already legendary, more recent figures like Alberto Contador, Carlos Sastre, Óscar Pereiro, Joan Llaneras and Samuel Sánchez have also impressed with victories in major international competitions. All these victories are further proof of something that was already known to good cyclists: Spain is the perfect country for this sport. These winners spend much of their training time in Spain, in the mountain ranges of the Pyrenees, with mountain passes like Bonaigua (Lleida); the mountains of Green Spain with the famous Alto del Angliru pass (Oviedo); and the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains (between Castilla y León and Madrid). All these are key points on the route in the classic Vuelta Ciclista a España cycle race, where you can see many of these cyclists while also enjoying unique natural landscapes and World Heritage Cities such as Segovia and Cordoba.
Tennis, basketball, football, motor racing, motorcycle racing and cycling are just some of the sports where Spain is a key player, and five more reasons to pay us a visit. If you enjoy following these sports, you'll find top level competitions here in Spain. If you enjoy playing them yourself, you'll find Spain has exceptional sports facilities and wonderful natural settings. And, if you're interested in the athletes themselves and wish to learn more about them, you'll find that the cities where they were born and grew up offer a multitude of activities to help you better understand your idol, while you enjoy yourself at the same time.
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