El Clasico Facts Highlighting the Rivalry

Published 04/01/2016, 3:49 PM EDT


Every season two of the biggest football clubs in the world- Real Madrid and FC Barcelona face each other to celebrate one of the fiercest and the oldest football rivalries: The El Clasico. La Liga’s El Clasico is one of the most significant and watched football matches in the world. Apart from the UEFA Champions League final and the World Cup final, it is the most televised football fixture.

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Here at EssentiallySports, we believe in the power of knowledge and what is knowledge but knowing almost everything about the game we have loved and followed for so long! You know what they say, ‘the more you know; the more you grow’, and so here are the top 10 lesser known facts about the ‘The Classic’.

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  1. It’s not just fun and games, this famous rivalry has a lot of political significance as Real Madrid represents Spain nationalism, and Barcelona represents Catalan Nationalism. In the early Barcelona had a developed reputation of being an ardent supporter of the Catalan philosophy whereas Real Madrid sternly opposed thesame. During the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera and of Francisco Franco, all the regional languages and traditions of Spain were looked down upon and that’s when Barcelona came up with their current motto ‘més que un club’ (More than a club) as they identified with freedom and thoughts of progressiveness.

2. Time for some much-needed irony as Real Madrid was founded by two Catalans – Juan and Carlos Padrós! Now that’s got to burn some Madridista hats. Real Madrid’s first official president was Juan Padros Rubio, born and brought up in Barcelona who happened to be a Catalonian took over the RM office on 6th March, 1902. He resided over the office for two years until his brother, Carlos took over in 1904. That’s some brotherly love right there. In 1905, Real Madrid (then, Madrid FC) won its first title after defeating Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Cup final. The club became one of the founding sides of the Royal Spanish Football Federation on 4 January 1909, when club president Adolfo Meléndez settled for the conditions of the Spanish FA and signed the foundation agreement . In 1920, the club’s name was changed to Real Madrid after King Alfonso XIII granted the title of Real (Royal) to the club.

3. Real Madrid legend Di Stefano signed for both RM and Barcelona, and get this- ALL AT THE SAME TIME as a part of a major misunderstanding from the Columbian club Stefano played at that moment. Clearly, he chose Real Madrid over the Catalans but the cules were not very happy with the decision as it lead to major controversies both on and off the pitch. Stefano played for Real Madrid for 11 years, appearing 282 times with 216 goals. Described as ‘the most complete player in the history of football’, Stefano is the 6th highest goalscorer in the Spanish League and is Madrid’s leading goalscorer in the history of El Clásico.

4. Known as one of the most gifted players to have disputed El Clasico for both sides, Michael Laudrup became the only player to have won the competition for both clubs with the same end result (5-0) for two consecutive years. The Dutch maestro won several La Liga titles with Barcelona (4) and clinched his 5th with Real Madrid.

5. The first ever El Clasico was held on May 13th, 1906, before La Liga even existed! It was as a part of the Copa de la Coronacion’s Semi Final where the away team- Barcelona FC stole the show as they won 1-3. The goalscorers were Arthur Johnson for RM; Steinberg and Joan Gamper for Barcelona FC.

6. Although, Real Madrid outruns FC Barcelona in the head-to-head results in official competitions (90-87), the latter takes the leading position when it comes to the 258 all-time matches with 106 wins to Real Madrid’s 94.

7. Along with Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are the only clubs in La Liga to have never been relegated.

8. During the Spanish Civil War which was fought between the Republicans and the Nationalists of Spain which lasted for nearly two years from 1937 to 1939, the La Liga was suspended but after the war, the Republican clubs played in the Mediterranean League and Barcelona FC emerged as champions. Nearly 70 years later, Barcelona asked the REFE to consider that title win as their Liga title win and it the request was processed and approved duly.

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9. 21 players have played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona. This list includes some heavyweights like Bernd Schuster, Gheorghe Hagi and the also likes of Samuel Eto’o, Luis Enrique, Saviola and Ronaldo. Alfonso Albéniz was the first player who played for Barcelona and then moved to Real Madrid in 1902 and Luciano Lizarraga was the first Madrid player to have moved to Barcelona in 1905. Ofcourse the most infamous transfer between the clubs was that of the Portuguese legend Luis Figo, who received some Godfather like treatment from the Catalan fans after he moved to Madrid from Barcelona.

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10. FC Barcelona has the record of the longest undefeated run with 13 games from 1 November, 1917- 3 June, 1928.

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Ananya Das

30 articles

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