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From Flatmates In Madrid To Colleagues In Connecticut, ESPN Soccer Commentators’ Friendship Endures

Years before they became LaLiga on ESPN+ studio hosts, Kay Murray and Dan Thomas learned about Spanish football together while covering Real Madrid

In 2006, Kay Murray took a vacation to Madrid to check out the capital of Spain and meet her soon-to-be colleagues at Real Madrid TV.

At the time, Dan Thomas had just completed the first leg of his five-year tenure as Real Madrid TV’s lead English-language presenter and match commentator. Thomas, who was then an emerging English sports broadcaster, joined his colleagues to welcome a fellow broadcaster from England.

Thomas and his Real Madrid TV colleagues welcomed Murray at The Real Café, the club’s official bar and restaurant overlooking the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Murray’s arrival at Real Madrid TV in October 2006 set in motion a professional bond between Murray and Thomas. The two became flatmates, along with former Liverpool FC TV host, presenter, and producer Claire Rourke. They lived in Pueblo Fuencarral, a neighborhood in the northern part of Madrid.

Thomas and Murray were young, curious, and ambitious. The flatmates pushed each other to improve as Real Madrid TV provided them with a blank canvas to draw their respective career paths. As English broadcasters, they were also navigating a new language and Spanish football in Madrid – the cultural center of the Spanish-speaking world – on a relatively new club media project.

“Because of the situation, the environment we were all thrown together, we became family very, very quickly. We all looked out for each other, which makes the bond that we had so very special,” said Thomas. “Not only Kay and me, but the other presenters who started around Madrid TV around the same side of us because we all wanted this project to be a success.”

After Real Madrid TV, their career paths diverged. Thomas joined ESPN in 2010 as lead host of the company’s daily signature soccer studio show ESPN FC. Murray moved to beIN Media Group as a studio host in 2012.

Eleven years removed from their time as flatmates and Real Madrid TV colleagues, Kay and Thomas are back together on the same team. The duo became co-hosts of LaLiga on ESPN+ English-language studio shows in August 2021.

“When I moved to Connecticut this time around before I even went to the apartment I would be living in, we just landed and drove straight to Dan’s house,” said Murray. “It was like a garden party in the middle of the summer. That was my welcome to Connecticut.”

They talk about their friendship in the video above.

Editor’s Note: Thomas hosts ESPN FC Pregame Show, beginning at 3 p.m. ET and the halftime and post-game shows on ElClásico Sunday, exclusively on ESPN+.

Spencer Jackson and Mac Nwulu produced the video at the top of the post.

For more on ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of ElClásico from Madrid, visit ESPN Press Room.

LaLiga on ESPN+ studio hosts Kay Murray (L) and Dan Thomas (Murray: Kelly Backus; Garcia Gisbert/ESPN Images)
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