We may not be able to leave the country just yet, but as soon as we've been given the go ahead, these are the sporting destinations we want to see. In the meantime, it's nice to dream.
Union Deportiva Ibiza
Drawn away to play Spanish third-tier side UD Ibiza in the Copa del Rey this season, the mighty Barcelona found themselves one-nil down at half time. Antoine Griezmann equalised with less than 20 minutes left and then scored a 94th-minute winner. They just about avoided embarrassment at a club whose stadium capacity is less than half that of local nightclub Privilege.
It may have been the plastic pitch, it may have been the financial backing that UD has had since formation in 2015, it may have been that UD is managed by ex-Barca player Pablo Alfaro… or maybe Barcelona’s players just got there a day early and had a night at Eden, Pacha and Amnesia…
Las Vegas Raiders
As if you didn’t need a reason to visit Vegas, the Raiders $1.8 billion Allegiant Stadium will be completed this year, ready for the 2020 NFL season. Situated south of The Strip in Paradise, Nevada, close to Dean Martin Drive, it is a stunning 10-level dome designed in silver and black.
The Riders won three Super Bowls between 1976 and 1983, but things have been quieter than a Monday afternoon at Spearmint Rhino since then. There are rumours Tom Brady may take his talents to Nevada before next season though, which would make a weekend in Vegas even more memorable.
There are eight professional football clubs in Amsterdam, a city where plenty of pros ply their trade. Ajax is the most famous; the club who invented Total Football and gave the world Johan Cruyff – possibly the best football brain the world has ever seen. From 1971 to 1973 they were Champions of Europe three seasons running. The current Dutch champions play at the Johan Cruyff Arena and have won the league 34 times.
The stadium is situated about 3km south-east of Amsterdam’s Red-Light District, so while you can’t quite make it at half time, it’s a half-hour walk after the game past the great pubs, clubs and canals of this great city.
Along with Basketball team Alba Berlin (The Albatrosses), the Berlin Polar Bears ice hockey team play at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Friedrichshain, a young and vibrant neighbourhood in Berlin. With seven titles, the Polar Bears are the most successful ice hockey team in Germany, regularly attracting crowds of 14,000. Across the city at the Olympiastadion, Hertha Berlin is managed by Jürgen Klinsmann these days. It’s not been a great season though, with Berlin’s second club Union Berlin often outperforming them. Grab a Trabant and you could watch all four teams in action in one week, and still not be as tired as after a night at Kit Kat, Berlin’s swinging techno sex club.
It sounds like a nasty rash, but the Heat are the main basketball team of Hi Chi Minh City (previously Saigon). They were the first-ever Vietnamese basketball team and they play in the ASEAN League. Their young owner Connor Nguyen is an entrepreneur who was born in Vietnam, grew up in Kansas and has big plans for the team.
After a game, you can grab a Pho or a Banh Mi, hop the many bars and clubs in this Vietnamese mega-city, or head to Bui Vien street and Little Japan. Check out Crazy Girls for a crazy time and try to not end up with your own version of Saigon heat…
Football is like Tacos in Mexico, lots of subtly different variations of the same thing. Atletico Baja play indoor soccer in the Major Arena Soccer League; Club Tijuana play regular soccer in the Mexican League and Inter Tijuana are a professional Futsal team. Club Tijuana are the team to watch, before checking out the rest of this amazing Mexican city.
Tijuana became famous in the 1920s when Americans crossed the border for legal drinking and gambling during Prohibition. Caesar salad was born at Hotel Caesar, along with a thousand hangovers and gambling debts.
Despite Trump’s focus on the border, Tijuana remains a great party city – the 18-year-old drinking age and a great exchange rate mean American students head in their droves.
Grab a copy of the latest issue of Penthouse here.