TweetThirty years ago, when the legacy of General Franco was still alive and lingering in the Spanish subconscious, it would have been an impossible name. No one would have dared to call the Spanish national team “La Roja” (the Red One), because “rojo” was a synonym for “communism”, “betrayal” and “foe”. In fact, the Spanish Civil War was fought between Franco’s army and the “rojos”. So, it also was a synonym for “loser”, an attribute that could hardly be associated with the glorious Spanish team, renowned all over the world after winning the European cup in 2008 and now – for the first time in history – being in a World Cup final.
Today, everything from soft drinks to cars is marketed under the “La Roja” name. All the big brands want to be in a picture with them and take advantage of their triumphs. However, some people have raised the issue that this popular brand name, “La Roja”, is in fact a pure euphemism coined by the media in order not to stir up the country’s nationalisms. Apparently, “La Roja” is a far more comfortable name to stomach for Basque, Catalan and Galician nationalists who face the participation of Spain in these international competitions with a divided heart. Curiously enough, marketing has acted as a political mediator: when something as passionate and controversial as the concept of a nation becomes a brand name, no one feels so prone to dispute it.
By Ferran from Barcelona , Spain