The last time Spain ruled the world it did so from the gun deck of a galleon. Then the Spanish Armada was sent to the bottom of the English Channel and the country has spent the last 4 1/2 centuries playing catch-up.
Even Chicago Cubs fans haven't had to wait that long to cheer a winner.
All of which makes this summer’s Spanish sporting renaissance that much more remarkable. In the last two months, Spanish athletes have won two Grand Slam tennis titles, an NBA championship, a Formula One race and the Tour de France. And they capped it off three weeks ago by winning the biggest prize of all, soccer’s World Cup.
Quite an achievement for a country with less land than Texas and just slightly more people than California and Virginia combined.
“It is a golden age in Spain,” says Xabi Alonso, a star on the national soccer team. “And we are enjoying it so far.”