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Copa del Rey final a Basque derby that will be bigger than any game in Spain this year

The Basque Country accounts for 1.4% of Spain's territory, 4.9% of its population and 20% of its first-division teams. Twenty-five percent if you count Osasuna, which you probably should. It also accounts for 100% of its Copa del Rey finalists. The best cup there has ever been has a final there has never been, a unique occasion unmatched anywhere. And, no, that really is no exaggeration. This is as good as it gets. There may be no words to fully express what it means, maybe not even for the street...

Spain's Basque quartet of teams have different goals than Real Madrid or Barcelona

Craig Burley says Gerard Pique should be focused on Barcelona's performance after losing El Clasico 2-0.
Athletic Bilbao is one of Spain's oldest and proudest clubs. Their neighbors in Basque country hold themselves to the same standards when it comes to passion and commitment while chasing bigger goals than trophies in Spain.

"Futbol is in our DNA; it's as central to our culture as our architecture and gastronomy."

Mikel Barcena speaks for Deportivo Alaves, the Spanish Primera Division club where he serves as sponsorship and activation manager. But he could very well be speaking for soccer in all of Spain -- in particular, the four clubs that are the heartbeat and pulse of the Basque region.

Consisting of four provinces in north-east Spain and three in south-west France, the Basque region is home to some of Spain's...

After Barcelona sacking, Ernesto Valverde seems at ease, almost 'free'

Ernesto Valverde wore a beard and a smile and was back where he belonged, among friends.

On his last day at work at Barcelona, photographers had caught him on camera driving out of their Sant Joan Despi training ground, the club's crest reflected on the windscreen, upside down and distorted. From behind the wheel he grinned and waved, a portrait that appeared in every paper. That afternoon he got on his bike and rode, taking his mind elsewhere with him. He hadn't officially been sacked yet, but...