Barcelona vs Real Madrid is one of the most famous and fiercest rivalries in world football. The matches between these two Spanish giants are called “El Clasico” which means “The Classic”.

Apart from being bitter rivals both Real and Barca are also two of the most successful and richest clubs in the world.

Real Madrid has a comfortable lead over Barcelona when it comes to the total trophy count. Real has won the La Liga title a record 32 times while Barca has only 22 titles to their credit. In European competitions too Real Madrid holds the edge over Barca with 10 Champions League titles compared to Barca’s 4.

Competitions Real Madrid Wins Barcelona Wins
La Liga Titles 32 22
Copa Del Rey 19 26
Supercopa de Espana 9 11
Champions League 10 4
Europa League 2 0
Total 72 63


Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have never been relegated from the La Liga ever since its formation in 1929. The first ever meeting between these Spanish giants took place in May 13, 1902 and Barca ended up winning the match 3-1.

There is a lot of history behind the rivalry between these two clubs and it all started about 300 years back (Yep! You read it right)

History behind the El Clasico – title 2

Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain but 200 years ago it was a Sovereign state with its culture, language etc… In 1714 King Philip the 5th conquered the region and as a result it became a part of Spain.

200 years after King Philip’s conquest of Catalonia the Spanish culture had taken over the community. You could say that the Spanish culture was forced on to the people of Catalonia. There were revolts against the Spanish hierarchy demanding the independence of Catalonia but their dream was never fulfilled.

The independent revolts demanding freedom came to a screeching halt when General Francisco Franco became Spain’s 1st and only dictator in 1939. He was someone that didn’t like people under his rule revolting against him so all those who revolted against him felt his wrath. Most of the rebels against the Franco’s regime came from Catalonia region and Franco being aware of this shoved the Spanish culture onto Catalonia people.

At that time Barcelona FC was a regarded as a symbol of freedom and pride by the Catalonia people. Real Madrid on the other hand was on the right side of the regime and some say was much loved by Franco the dictator (not an intimidating name for a dictator, eh?).

As the result the matches between the two were a chance for the Catalonia people to express their thoughts on Franco’s regime. After the end of the Franco regime Catalonia got a bit more freedom to express their culture but the dream of Independence still remains unfulfilled.

Even the Jerseys that both the teams wear has a story behind it. The all-white jersey of Real Madrid is a symbol for Pure and United Spain while the Barcelona Jersey proudly carries the Catalan flag.

Intense, right?

These incidents didn’t help – title 2

As the years went by the enmity between the clubs grew on the pitch one of those incidents which is quite often talked about is the Alberto di Steffano transfer saga.

Steffano was playing for the Colombian club Millionarios when both Barcelona and Real Madrid took notice of his talents. Both the Spanish giants would go after him in an effort to make him part of their team. When it looked like Barca had won the race for Steffano who had even played a pre-season friendly for them a rule was put in place that was no foreign player (he was still contracted to Millionarios) could play in the Spanish Premiere league (It is said General Franco had some part to play in this).

Real took advantage of this to try and negotiated with Millionarios and signed him. Barca would go up in arms about this and in the end Steffano agreed to play 2 years with Real and 2 years with Barcelona but his angered Barca management who backed away from the deal and as a result Steffano would joined Real Madrid.

The most infuriating part about this for a Barca fan was that Steffano went on to be a Real Madrid Legend with whom the club would win several league and European titles.

Another incident that has played a big part in the enmity between the clubs is the Luis Figo transfer saga. In 2000 while Figo was the vice-captain of the Barcelona he made a switch to Real Madrid for 37 million Euros. This development left a lot of Barca fans angry and betrayed. Wherever Figo went insults were hurled at him and banners’ comparing him Judas was a common site. The worst incident however took place in 2002 when a pig’s head was thrown at Figo from the stands while he was going to take a corner.

If that isn’t a rivalry, I don’t what is?

And then there are moments like these… – title 2

No matter how much enmity persists between the clubs there also a sense of respect among the fans and there are occasions when they would express this respect when someone of the opposite has done something truly “amazing”

Laurie Cunningham in 1980 who was playing for Real Madrid was applauded by the Barca fans for his effort.

In 1983 Diego Maradona who was playing for Barcelona was applauded by the Madrid fans for his stunning dribbling skills.

In 2005 Ronaldino made mince meat of the Real Madrid as he dribbled past the Real defence not once but twice in the same match. Ronaldino was greeted with a standing ovation by the Real Madrid fans.

The honoured ones – title 2

Not everyone can say that they played for two legendary clubs such Real Madrid and Barcelona. A total of 33 players have played for both clubs till now. Alfonso Albeniz was the first player to play for both clubs as he moved from Barca to Real in 1902.

Some others to have played for both clubs: –

Luciano Lizzarraga – Real Madrid to Barcelona in 1905

Lucian Muller – Real Madrid to Barcelona in 1965

Bernd Schuster – Barcelona to Real Madrid in 1988

Micheal Laudrup – Barcelona to Real Madrid in 1994

Luis Enrique – Real Madrid to Barcelona in 1996

Luis Figo – Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000

Ronaldo – Barcelona to Inter Milan to Real Madrid in 2002

Samuel Eto’o – Real Madrid to Mallorca to Barcelona in 2004.

Nowadays the transfers between the two clubs are a rarity the last transfer between the two clubs and the last player till date to play for both clubs was Javier Saviola who moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2007.

Memorable Matches – title 2

Barcelona vs Real Madrid – (3 -3) at Nou Camp in March 2007 – title 5

This game will always be remembered for a young Lionel Messi who announced his arrival by slotting three goals past the Madrid defence. Barca came into this match top of the table but had lost to Real 2-0 when they met previously in that season. Rudd Van Nistelrooy scored first for Madrid in the 5th minute but Barca was quick to respond with Messi scoring first of his goals in the 11th minute.

Two minutes later Real were celebrating again as Nistelrooy put them in front but Barca again had an answer in the form of Messi who scored his second in the 28th minute. 2-2 was how it ended at half-time.

After the break the teams remained deadlocked till the 72 minute when Sergio Ramos put Madrid in front for the third time in the match. It seemed Madrid were on course for three points but Messi had other ideas as he scored once more to complete his hat-trick in the 90th minute and earned his team a crucial point.

Real would ultimately win the season after the two teams ended on same points and was separated on head to head records.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona – (3-0) at Santiago Bernabeu in November 2005 – title 5

This one was all about a certain Ronaldinho. Samuel Eto’o that opened the scoring for Barca in the 14th minute but after that goal it was all the Ronaldinho show. He dribbled past the tough Madrid defence on numerous occasions scoring two more in the process (59th and 77th minute). The magic of Ronaldinho was so mesmerizing that the Madrid fans gave a standing ovation to the Brazilian playmaker.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona – (5-0) at Santiago Bernabeu in October 1953 – title 5

The Alfredo di Steffano transfer saga was one of the incidents that increased the bitterness between Real and Barca. Steffano after joining Real in 1953 appeared in his first El Clasico in October 1953. It took the Argentine 10 minutes to make the Barca fans and management regretting to have let him go. He would go on to score one more in the 5-0 thrashing of Barca.

Alfredo di Steffano went to one to become one of the greatest players in Real Madrid history and would be the highest scorer in the El Clasico’s till Lionel Messi of Barca overtook him.

Barcelona vs Real Madrid – (0-0) at Nou Camp in 2002 – title 5

This match will always be remembered for a pig head (poor thing!). After his controversial transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000 Luis Figo was always a target for Barca fans. Figo was seen as a traitor and recently was treated like one. Whenever the Barca fans would get a chance they would greet their former vice-captain with Smoke bombs, bottles but the most disgusting of things that was hurled at him was a pig’s head. The game was stopped for a few minutes when it happened and the match finally ended 0-0. But the pig was the star here (RIP).

Overall Records:- – title 3

229 competitive matches

Real Madrid Wins: – 92

Barcelona Wins: – 88

Draws: – 49

Most El Clasico appearances: – Manuel Sanchis (43)

Most Goals: – Lionel Messi (21*)


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