World Football’s Greatest Derby

Perhaps the greatest rivalry in the world of football, the famous El Clasico between two of the best La Liga teams, is just a matter of days away. It is not only the most anticipated match in Spain but is also the local football match with the biggest spectators reach worldwide. The aggressive duel between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid promise goals and outstanding action at a level very few teams can reach. Moreover, these games feature some of the best players in the world, which makes it even more rousing. But before the match begins, let’s take a look back at some history, highlights, and  facts of one of football’s greatest competition.

1)   It started as a friendly

The most intense rivalry in the world of football started out as a friendly. The first confrontation between the two teams goes way back in 1902, more than a century ago. Real Madrid held a friendly tournament and invited the Catalan club Barcelona and  Basque club Vizcaya in honor of the coming of age of Spaniard King Alphonso XIII. However, Barcelona won the match and proceeded to the final against Vizcaya. However, the hosts weren’t too thrilled to have a Catalan-Basque final when the event was held to celebrate a Castilian monarch.

2)  The 11-1 score line

In 1943, Real Madrid thrashed Barcelona in a 11-1 victory during the second leg of the semi-final of the Copa del Generalismo, now known as the Copa del Rey. It was quite a shock for the Barcas since they won the previous leg in a 3-0 victory. However, there was actually a lot more to the match than just the result. When Spain was ruled by Francisco Franco, he wanted to make Spain a nationalist state by subduing any autonomous regions, wanting to make Madrid the centre of power. He carried out strict rules on the Basque and Catalonian regions that resulted in a tension between the former and Madrid. When Barcelona won 3-0 in the first leg, they took it to the public to rile Madrid which angered the latter’s supporters and the media. When Barcelona went to Madrid for an away match, they were welcomed with stones, coins and death threats from Madrid fans. It affected the Barcas so much that they played dreading for their lives which resulted in the 11-1 score line.

3)  Di Stefano Tug-of-War

The Alfredo Di Stefano transfer is one of the major factors which ensued in intensifying the rivalry between the two teams. The Legendary Di Stefano impressed both the Castilians and the Catalans while playing for Club Deportivo Los Millonarios, leading to both Barcelona and Real trying to sign him. Di Stefano eventually transferred to Real Madrid and became a valuable player and a vital part in the success accomplished by Real Madrid.

4)  Who is the King of El Clasico at present?

While it is true that both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo displayed stellar performances in the El Clasico and both justified their greatness in the game, when it comes to selecting who among these two is the more dominant player, the Argentine striker clearly has the edge.  Barcelona’s Lionel Messi holds the record for the most number of goals and assists in the El Clasico. At a young age, Lionel Messi became the youngest player to ever score a hat-trick in an El Clasico fixture while also breaking the record for the most hat-tricks in the competition. With these records and with Ronaldo’s transfer to Serie A side Juventus, Lionel Messi is without a doubt the ruler of the El Clasico at the moment. However, what’s a kingdom without its king? Lionel Messi could miss out this year’s clasico after he suffered a fracture in his right arm during Barcelona’s recent win against Sevilla. 

By @EliaasMJ

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