Ex-Atletico player Tiago Mendes hits town for ‘El Derbi’ watch party
MANILA, Philippines—Former La Liga footballer Tiago Mendes recently came to the country to grace a watch party of the derby between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Mansion Sports Bar & Lounge in Makati City.
Mendes, who was part of Atletico’s run to the 2014 La Liga title run, took part in the event attended by former Philippine Azkals mainstays James Younghusband and Stephan Schrock and local fans of both clubs.
The match known as “El Derbi” held at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid ended with home side Real forcing a 1-1 draw on an equalizer from Alvaro in the 84th minute. Jose Maria Gimenez produced the opener for Atleti six minutes earlier.
“Real Madrid wins all the time and that’s what makes them special,” Mendes said. “They have a lot of good players all season and when you have great players who are close to winning, it’s always difficult to play against them. It is an honor to compete with them.”
Both Madrid clubs are among the biggest derbies in the Spanish league. The two clubs have also met twice in the Uefa Champions League Final, with Real winning both times in 2014 and 2016.
Mendes, the ex-Portuguese international, played midfield the final six seasons of his professional career with Atletico from 2011 to 2017 under the animated manager Diego Simeone.
The watch party is the latest event organized by La Liga, which has been aiming to further promote itself not just in the Philippines but in other parts of the globe.
Led by its Philippine delegate Almudena Gomez, La Liga also organized other watch parties and a “Heroes off the Pitch” gala which honored local sports leagues and organizations for their charitable projects.
“We believe that the appreciation and interest for football is increasing among Filipinos,” she said. It’s a great sport that brings people together. That’s why we will continue to bring exciting events for the Filipino fans.“
“La Liga is more than just football. We go beyond what the sport has to offer to give back to the community,” Gomez added.
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