Explanation of Spanish words and phrases

Updated: 2011-12-10 08:20

(China Daily)

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Cules and Merengues

Barcelona and its fans are known as "Cules" which means "arses" in Catalan. At one of the club's first stadiums in Calle Industria, supporters used to sit on the outer wall watching matches and all that passers-by could see when they looked up from the street was a row of backsides, which prompted the nickname.

Real Madrid is known as the Merengues because its distinctive all white kit (shirts, shorts and socks) resembles the famous pudding made from egg whites and sugar.

La Manita

Barca's 5-0 La Liga hammering of Real at the Nou Camp last season had home players and fans waving a hand in the air with the fingers spread in celebration of the five goals - la manita, or "little hand". That result, and the 6-2 thrashing Barca handed out at the Bernabeu in 2009, are two of the most humiliating reverses suffered by Real in recent times.

In the mid 1990s' Dutch coach Johan Cruyff led Barca to a crushing 5-0 league drubbing of Madrid at the Nou Camp, when Brazil striker Romario netted a hat-trick.


Conspiracy theories have abounded over the years about biased refereeing towards either team.

Allegations of favoritism shown towards Real by referees during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco have given way recently to Barca being accused of having a helping hand.

The theory Barca backed the re-election of Angel Maria Villar to the presidency of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), while Real supported a rival candidate, has given rise to the term "Villarato".

El dedo de 'Mou'

At the end of the Spanish Super Cup in August, with Barca winning 3-2 at the Nou Camp, a studs-up challenge by Real defender Marcelo on Barca's Cesc Fabregas sparked a mass brawl on the touchline.

In the middle of the melee, Mourinho snuck up behind Guardiola's assistant coach Tito Vilanova and gouged a finger in his eye. Vilanova responded by cuffing Mourinho round the head. The referee did not see "el dedo de Mou" (the finger of Mourinho), which was caught on television.

Mes que un club

Barcelona's slogan "more than a club" helps explain why the 'Clasico' is more than just a soccer match.

Barca is seen as a symbol of Catalan nationalism and of the region's struggle for recognition against the perceived centralizing force of the Spanish government in Madrid, embodied by Real. Barca fans wave the yellow and red-striped Catalan flags and hold up banners at the Nou Camp proclaiming in English that "Catalonia is not Spain". Many whistled through the national anthem at the Mestalla before last year's King's Cup final.