The words in Spanish related to football are part of the called football jargon. Some of these terms are technical, others are colloquial and even vulgar, and foreigners are not lacking either.

From this blog entry I invite everyone to expand  his vocabulary, whether you are fan of this sport or not, because football is one of the favorite hobbies of Spaniards, and therefore, I consider it is essential to have knowledge on the subject.

The high level of Spanish teams in the national League and their players in the Spanish team, make football a source of pride for all Spanish people. At the same time, it contributes exponentially to make Spain  known in the five continents.

I will follow an order according to the morphology of the words: names or nouns, action verbs and adjectives. At the end there is also a small section about typical expressions in football.

Names or nouns:

Related to the people involved in the game:

Simpatizantes, forofos, seguidores, aficionados, hinchas, fanáticos: all these words refer to people who feel a special attraction for a sport. The term “hinchas” is more specific and refers to those fans who are fanatical or more enthusiastic, who group to encourage their team during the matches. “Ultras” are fans that show violent behaviors. On the other hand, “seguidores and simpatizantes” are people who like a particular hobby or sport team, but with less intensity.


Jugadores o futbolistas: are the protagonists of each team and each one has a characteristic position and function. There are defensas that are responsible for blocking opponents when they approach the goal; centrocampistas who play their game on the middle of the field; atacantes, delanteros o goleadores, who are in charge of scoring goals, and the guardameta o portero who is the guardian of the goal and prevents the pitches from turning into goals. Among the players a capitán is selected to direct the team.

–   Árbitro: impartial person who enforces the regulations in competitions.

Entrenador: as the word indicates, is the person in charge of directing the trainings, supervising and establishing the team’s tactical guidelines.

In reference to the football matches:

Campeonato, competición: Set of matches between opponents of the same category with the objective of obtaining a triumph, prize or cup. This is the case of the Spanish League (Liga Española) that is competing during the year among the Spanish Primera Division teams, like Barça, Real Madrid or Atlético de Madrid. Another Spanish competition is the Copa del Rey and the European Champions League (Liga de Campeones). On the other hand, there are friendly matches (partidos amistosos).

final Champions

Clásico: match that by tradition creates the maximum expectation, is the case of Barça against Real Madrid.

Augmentative nouns: the most common are formed with the prefixes -azo and -dón . For example, from “partido” (match): partidazo, from cabeza (head): cabezazo (head blow), from parada (stop): paradón and from patada (kick): patadón.

 Action verbs:

Attending to the kind of activity during the game:

Atacar: players’ action to go up to the opposing field and create dangerous situations against the adversary. The response of the other team to this attack is called contraatacar

– Golpear, chutar, disparar, tirar, dar una patada: to kick the ball with the foot. Chutar and disparar are more colloquial and indicate some strength.

– Sacar: when the game starts or there has been a foul, goal or offside, it is necessary to start again.

– Pasar: to direct the ball towards another player of the same team.

Regarding the results:

– Marcar, meter un gol: when the ball enters the porter’s lodgegoal and the referee whistles goal, a “tanto or punto” its added  on the scoreboard.

ESPAÑA-FÚTBOL-LIGA PRIMERA DIVISIÓN:B39. BARCELONA, 29/11/2010.- El centrocampista del FC Barcelona Xavi Hernández (c) trata de superar la salida de Iker Casillas (detrás), portero del Real Madrid, durante el partido correspondiente a la decimotercera jornada de Liga que están disputando esta noche en el Nou Camp, en Barcelona. EFE/Alejandro García. (Newscom TagID: efespsix008258) [Photo via Newscom]

ESPAÑA-FÚTBOL-LIGA PRIMERA DIVISIÓN:B39. BARCELONA, 29/11/2010.- El centrocampista del FC Barcelona Xavi Hernández (c) trata de superar la salida de Iker Casillas (detrás), portero del Real Madrid, durante el partido correspondiente a la decimotercera jornada de Liga.

Ganar, vencer o derrotar: Is the opposite of losing (perder) and it is what is pursued in the match, the result. When you do not win or lose, you tie (empatas). Among fans it is said that “the important thing in the game is not to win, but to participate and to have fun”.


Descriptive adjectives that are frequently used to qualify the result of a football match:

– Aplastante: we all expect an overwhelming victory of our teams, which is what happens when defeating the opponent by thrashing, that means, by many goals of difference.

– Inesperado/esperado: the final result or a particular move can meet our expectations or, conversely, be a surprise.

– Justo: when the result is a consequence of a good play and not of good luck.

Examples to define the players:

Carismático/a: person with a very superior and innate talent, is the case of the charismatic leader.

Bueno or the opposite malo: a player can be good or bad depending on the skills he demonstrates in the field. If it is neither good nor bad, it is said to be mediocre.

The comparative degree of the adjective corresponds to the terms: mejor and peor respectively and the superlative: el/la mejor y el /la peor.

Fuerte or the antonym débil: in relation to the superiority that it demonstrates. It can also refer to an entire team.

Rápido or the opposed lento: indicate the speed.

Numerous adjectives, both ordinal and cardinal, are also widely used in sport. Examples:

  • Real Madrid have won the duodécima (twelfth) Champions League.

  • This would be the  primer (first) title for the Under-21 category.

Collective adjectives to name the members of the main teams in a colloquial way:

  • Culé: from the Barcelona team.

  • Merengue: from the Real Madrid team.

  • Colchonero: from the Atlético de Madrid team.

Expressions or typical sentences used in football:

¿Cómo van? o ¿Cuánto van?:  To ask about the results during a match. Answer: Van 1-0 (uno cero), gana el …… (nombre) o pierde el…. (nombre) 3-1 (tres a uno).

Spectators  exaltation cries: ¡Hala Madrid (or other club name)! o ¡Vamos Burgos (or other team)! ¡Aupa! ¡Hurra! ¡Menudo partidazo! ¡Gooool!. Look at writing with “h” in “hala” and in “hurra”, because the “alas” (wings) are for flying, that, by the way, would suit players… ¡Jajaja!.

On the contrary, when the plays are bad, it is pissed and shouted: ¡Fuera! (Get out!) Uuuuh! or swear words or insults, which we are not going to comment here because we are committed to a fair game, without violence and that link up people.

Nothing else, ¡qué comience el juego! (let the game begin!).


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