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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Atlético Madrid, el Superclásico and Racism

Atlético Madrid

In this week’s review section we look back at some of the big stories from the world of football to help learners of English improve their vocabulary. You can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below.

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Atlético Madrid have made one of their best starts to a season by winning 12 straight matches in all competitions. Indeed, if manager Diego Simeone’s side win at Valencia this weekend it will be the best ever start to a league season for Madrid’s ‘second side’. Simeone has given the colchoneros a sense of belief while Colombian striker Radamel Falcao is the main attraction on the pitch with ten goals in his last seven starts. Currently Atlético are 8 points of clear of cross-town rival Real and it would be a remarkable achievement if they could finish above their city neighbours come May.


We featured the return of the Superclásico in last week’s review and though the game finished in an exciting two-all draw there was some bad news as trouble broke out when the away fans from Boca attacked some stewards in the ground while their team was two down. There was also some violence before and after the game as the Superclásico returned to the Argentinian capital for the first time in almost 18 months.


Yet again racism has reared its ugly head in England as referee Mark Clattenburg was accused by Chelsea of using racial slurs at Mikel John Obi in last week’s match between the Blues and Manchester United. The referee strongly denies this allegation and the English football authorities have opened an investigation – as have the police – as yet again English football has to deal with the ugly issue of racism.


straight matches: Consecutive, in a row

colchoneros: The nickname of Atlético (the mattress makers)

in his last seven starts: He has played in the last seven games

come May: In May 2013 – the end of the season

as trouble broke out : Violence started

two down: The team were losing by two goals

reared its ugly head: Has re-appeared, has returned

racial slurs : Racist insults

the Blues: The nickname for Chelsea

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