One of the ways Spaniards console themselves amid their failing economy is with their beloved sport of soccer. If you can't afford tickets to a game, it's always on TV in your local bar.
"For an escape from work, economic problems — just enjoy it and support your team," says soccer fan Ivan Rassuli, who's having a beer as he watches a match at a bar. "Everybody likes football. Maybe like the NBA or baseball in the United States."
But futbol, as Spaniards call soccer, has followed the same sorry trajectory as Spain's economy.
One of the perks of living in Europe is the generous vacation schedule. But the austerity moves across the continent could be changing that, at least in some places. Portugal, for example, recently cut four of its 14 annual holidays.
And Spain is shuffling its calendar to shorten extended weekends — something the prime minister says it can no longer afford. The change could mean the loss of a celebrated tradition: the four-day weekend.
Spain nationalized its largest real estate lender Wednesday night and plans to announce an overhaul of the country's entire banking system Friday.
The country is scrambling to prevent its troubled banks — weighed down by property debts — from sabotaging the whole economy. The Spanish government has only to look northward to Ireland to see what could happen if it fails.