The biggest game in club football and one watched all over the world as two of the greatest soccer teams on earth do endless battle against each other with a rivalry spurred by years of hatred as both the Catalans and the Kings Club bid to become the greatest in Spain.
Barcelona (with 111 against 99) have won the majority of the 269 matches played between the two great clubs but Real Madrid have won the majority of the trophies in their illustrious history.
Los Blancos have won 33 La Liga and 19 Copa del Rey with 12 Champions League titles amongst many others whilst Barca have 24 league titles, 29 Copa del Rey and 5 Champions League wins. Two super clubs with a rich and proud history of winning silverware.
To pick three great games when so many can whet the appetite is probably near impossible as I’m bound to leave some of your favorites out, but not to forget the long tradition this fixture has, I wanted to choose one at the start of the cycle along with two more when both Real Madrid and Barcelona have been at their very best.
1916: Real Madrid 6-6 Barcelona (Copa del Rey semi-final replay, Madrid).
El Clasico dates back to 1902 when Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-1 at the Hipodromo de la Castellana in the semi-finals of the Spanish Coronation Cup, but it wasn’t until 1916 when the two sides would meet each other in the Copa del Rey, Spain’s oldest existing cup competition.
Again a semi-final, the first leg was won by Barcelona with the second won by Real Madrid. A replay was needed to decide the tie and an extra ordinary match would end tied 4-4 at normal time thanks to a late equaliser by Madrid’s Belaunde. In extra time both sides would score two more goals with Bernabeu of Madrid completing his hat-trick with an equaliser with just two minutes remaining ensuring a further replay would be needed where Real Madrid would eventually win after extra time. 420 minutes and 26 goals to decide one tie. That’s how rivalries begin.
1960: Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid (European Cup semi-final second leg, Barcelona).
Spanish champions Barcelona would meet for the first time their big rivals in the European Champions Cup at the semi-final stage. Madrid, the holders including Puskas, Di Stefano, Gento, Barcelona with Kocsis, Luis Suarez & Segarra. World class footballers at the very top of the European game.
The first leg ended 3-1 to Real with a late goal by Di Stefano helping put the tie out of reach in front of 120,000 at the Bernabeau. But los blancos were even more impressive at the Nou Camp as a brace from Puskas between one from Gento saw the away side take a 6-1 aggregate lead. Kocsis pulled one back in the final minute but Real Madrid proved the greatest side of that era as they went on to beat Eintracht Frankfurt in the final, their fifth consecutive European Cup.
2010: Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid (La Liga, Barcelona).
At a height of Barcelona’s greatness a team managed by Pep Guardiola including Xavi, Iniesta & Messi took on Jose Mourinho’s new look robust Real with a few famous faces of their own, and played them off the park in one of the most one sided El Classico’s ever seen.
Barcelona scored first through Xavi before Pedro tapped home to make it two with just 17 minutes gone. Mourinho and his A plan well and truly scuppered. Real Madrid with Ronaldo at blows were unable to trouble the majestical Barca lead by the instigator Messi who orchestrated their play. In two quick minutes David Villa would make it three, then four, both assisted by Messi before Jeffren rounded things off before Sergio Ramos was sent off. A hotly contested battle that was won by an outstanding blaugrana.
Quick Fact: The biggest winning margin between the two teams came in 1943 when Real Madrid beat Barcelona 11-1 in the Copa del Rey.