Futbolín: the origins of foosball

Foosball, table football, babyfoot, futbolito, metagol, Tischfußball, langirt … foosball is played in many countries around the world and has many different names. But did you know that it’s originally from Spain? Here’s how futbolín (as it’s called here) was invented.

Classic futbolín table in Andalucia. Credit

The game was created by Spanish poet, inventor and editor Alejandro Campos (aka Alejandro Finisterre). At a very young age, he was injured by a fascist bomb during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). He loved playing football, so, inspired by table tennis, he conceived futbolín, a type of table football even injured or disabled people could play.

Futbolín Punk
Modern punk themed futbolín table in Catalunya. Credit

The Spanish futbolín is different from foosball in other countries in that Spanish foos-men have two separate legs, whereas in the other versions, both legs are stuck together. Read more about Alejandro Campos in this article from El País (in Spanish)

What is foosball called in your language? Have you ever played it?

Read more:
Typical school days from around the world
The rain in Spain… a visit to Asturias
Can you learn Spanish in Catalunya?

About the author

Marta Garcia
Marta Garcia grew up in Barcelona, Spain, and has also studied in Belgium and the UK. She works as a professional translator, translating English, French and Italian into Spanish and Catalan.
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  • We call it metegol in Argentina. I didn’t know it was invented in Spain :)

  • In italian we call it “calcetto”, the diminutive/cute form of “calcio”, the name of what you would call football or soccer, depending on which side of the Atlantic you are ;-) . Btw “calcio” means “kick” in italian.
    Speaking of calcetto, many bars/pubs and similar places have one here in Italy

  • great info! my husband grew up playing foosball. i like the second photo – what a fun game!

  • Thanks all for the comments and I’m very sorry they took so long to appear. We had some technical problems and couldn’t moderate any comments last week.

  • Nuria

    Very nice post Marta! :)
    We also call it “futbolín” here in Costa Rica and it’s very popular!