Former Atlético player Tiago Mendes arrives in the city to see the ‘El Derbi’ party

SEE PHOTO/Jonas Terrado

MANILA, Philippines—Former La Liga footballer Tiago Mendes recently visited the country to attend a derby watch party between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid at Mansion Sports Bar & Lounge in Makati City.

Mendes, who was part of Atlético’s run to the La Liga title in 2014, took part in the event which was attended by former Philippine Azkals mainstays James Younghusband and Stephan Schrock, and local fans of both clubs.

The game known as “El Derbi” played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid ended with Real Madrid forcing a 1-1 draw with Álvaro equalizing in the 84th minute. José María Giménez scored Atleti’s goal six minutes earlier.

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“Real Madrid win all the time and that’s what makes them special,” Mendes said. “They have a lot of good players throughout the season and when you have great players who are close to winning, it’s always difficult to play against them. It’s an honor to compete with them.”

Both Madrid clubs are among the great 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 former Portuguese international, played in midfield for the last six seasons of his professional career with Atlético from 2011 to 2017 under Diego Simeone.

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The Watch Party is the latest event organized by La Liga, which aims to further promote itself not only in the Philippines but in other parts of the world.

Led by its Filipino delegate Almudena Gomez, La Liga also hosted other watch parties and a “Heroes Off the Pitch” gala that honored local sports leagues and organizations for their charitable projects.

“We believe that the appreciation and interest in soccer is increasing among Filipinos,” he said. It’s a great sport that brings people together. That is why we will continue to provide exciting events for Filipino fans.”

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“The League is more than football. We go above and beyond what the sport has to offer to give back to the community,” Gomez added.


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