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Real Sociedad lead the way in Spain and get to enjoy moment of liberation | Sid Lowe

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Was a last-gasp winner to beat Mallorca the mark of champions? Either way, la Real are unbeaten since opening day

Julen Lobete was on his knees crying again when his teammates sprinted towards him, hauled him to his feet and held him tight. One after another they hugged him hard enough to collapse a lung. The fireworks had gone up over the Bay of Biscay and all around people stood, wearing smiles they had found again. It was late on Saturday night but, together at last, no one was going anywhere. A party was about to start and if it didn’t go on longer it was only because they were as exhausted as they were elated. “This is amazing, I’m stunned,” the Real Sociedad forward said. “I’ll think about it tonight but now I can’t describe it; it means … bloody everything.”

Which might sound a bit much for a slightly lucky, deflected goal in a not-particularly-impressive 1-0 win against recently-promoted Mallorca in week nine, but it wasn’t that. Nor was it just that they had played with 10 men for half the night, that it came in the 90th minute, or even that it took his team to the top of the table, although it was all of that too. It was everything and everyone, not only what it was but when it was and who it was, the reaction somehow just right. It was Lobete and Lobete is everyone, a representative of what makes Real Sociedad everything you wish your club could be. Not just cup winners and league leaders, but the rest of it too.

Continue reading…Was a last-gasp winner to beat Mallorca the mark of champions? Either way, la Real are unbeaten since opening dayJulen Lobete was on his knees crying again when his teammates sprinted towards him, hauled him to his feet and held him tight. One after another they hugged him hard enough to collapse a lung. The fireworks had gone up over the Bay of Biscay and all around people stood, wearing smiles they had found again. It was late on Saturday night but, together at last, no one was going anywhere. A party was about to start and if it didn’t go on longer it was only because they were as exhausted as they were elated. “This is amazing, I’m stunned,” the Real Sociedad forward said. “I’ll think about it tonight but now I can’t describe it; it means … bloody everything.”Which might sound a bit much for a slightly lucky, deflected goal in a not-particularly-impressive 1-0 win against recently-promoted Mallorca in week nine, but it wasn’t that. Nor was it just that they had played with 10 men for half the night, that it came in the 90th minute, or even that it took his team to the top of the table, although it was all of that too. It was everything and everyone, not only what it was but when it was and who it was, the reaction somehow just right. It was Lobete and Lobete is everyone, a representative of what makes Real Sociedad everything you wish your club could be. Not just cup winners and league leaders, but the rest of it too. Continue reading…