Being football royalty, Real Madrid have no shortage of celebrity fans among their ranks. And among those A-list fans are individuals from various other sports who’ve made their admiration for the Galacticos public on numerous occasions.
This includes the likes of Rafa Nadal, Joel Embiid, Carlos Sainz etc, with the latest addition being Chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen.
The five-time World Chess Champion appeared as a guest on the most recent episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast and talked about a variety of subjects, including his Merengue fandom.
When the two players competed for honours in Spain, the rivalry between the duo was undoubtedly the fiercest. Each match-day would bring an update to the tale, as they looked to outdo each other on every possible occasion. Their respective legion of fans would stand by their chosen idol ferociously, and that trend exists even today.
During the height of the rivalry, both clubs left no stone unturned in projecting their main man as the superior player, and Carlsen ended up revealing a tactic Los Blancos utilized for the same effect.
As seen in this excerpt from the podcast, the 31-year-old offers up a surprising response when asked about the greatest footballers of all time. He picks Messi, stating the Argentine’s ‘all-round game’ as the standout reason, before adding more insight into his opinion.
Carlsen said ‘My Real Madrid fandom sort of predates the Ronaldo era, the second Ronaldo, not the first one [Nazario]. I always liked Ronaldo but I always kind of thought that Messi was better.’
He then proceeded to confirm that the Spanish side did indeed force celebrity fans to pick Ronaldo, with the slightest bit of politeness of course.
‘I went to quite a number of Madrid games and they’ve always been super helpful to me down there. The only thing is that they were going to do an interview and they were going to ask me who my favourite player was. I said somebody else, I think it was Isco at that point, and they were like: ‘Okay, take two, now you say, Ronaldo.’
So for them, it was very important, but it wasn’t that huge to me.’
This reveal does make you wonder whether their Blaugrana counterparts opted for similar methods. The anecdote really goes on to show just how imperative the’ Messi v Ronaldo’ era had become for their respective clubs, as even the mighty Real Madrid were forcing a certain opinion upon their fans.