1. El Classico – Football
FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid C.F.
Currently, the match up between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid is arguably the greatest. Both teams have a squad consisting of some of the finest players now, and many of the game’s greatest players have played for the Spanish Giants. Currently, in terms of trophies won by clubs in the Top 5 European countries, they both are first and second, with the Catalan Giants in the first position.
The rivalry between the clubs extends beyond sports and into the world of politics. Barcelona, a supporter of the Catalan region opposes the ideas of Madrid and its Spanish government. During the Spanish Civil War and the subsequent Franco Era in Spain, many clubs in Spain (including FC Barcelona) had to use Spanish names instead of Catalan (or other regional names). During this time, the infamous, Mes Que une Club or “More than a Club” motto of Barcelona evolved.
Both teams, can boast a talented alumni. Mostly so in Madrid, who had 2 Galacticos period. Some of the famous players to have donned the Los Blancos jersey include Alfredo di Stefano, Raul, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Zenidine Zidane, Hugo Sanchez and Ronaldo. Famous players for FC Barcelona include Johan Cryuff, Luis Suarez ( a Spanish player in the 1960s), Ronaldhinio, Diego Maradona, Romario, Rivaldo and Hristo Stoichkov.
There have been some high profile players to have played for both clubs, and the reception received by them, from their former club has been less than pleasant. Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Michael Laudrup and Luis Enrique are some players to have played for both. Whenever either one visits, there is a sense of tension and its not uncommon for lot of taunting in front of the team hotels or bus (on the rare occasion, a stone being thrown at the bus).
The current teams boast the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Benzema, Isco, Sergio Ramos among others for Real Madrid and Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Andreas Iniesta, Jordi Alba for the Catalans. The two possess the finest squads in Europe right now, rivaled by only Bayern Munich.
The match ups between the two, ultimately have a major saying on the Spanish League winner, as they have won 55 out of 84 Spanish Titles and 47 out of 114 Spanish Cups. The Spanish Cup finals in 2010/11, 2013/14 and the Champions League match-up in 2010/11 have been some of the most intense matches between the two in recent times.
The next match up between the two will be on 21st November, 2015 at the Santiago Bernebau, Madrid.