A Derby in footballing terms refers to a match between two teams from the same town or city.A Derby is probably the most fascinating, exciting and enthralling tie in the global footballing calendar. They are a delight to every football fan and are always close and often feisty and exhilarating .There are many great derbies in a year but here we only take a look at probably the best of them all,The El Clasico,between Barca and Real.
THE EL CLASICO
The clasico between the Blaugrana and the Los Blancos is the biggest footballing event in a footballing calendar. When the capital of Catalonia and the capital of Spain go head-to-head, it’s a bit more than just a match. Geographically, these two sides are not two local teams but they have long been a part of a bitter rivalry. Football fans from Castile and Catalonia have been at each other’s throats since 13 May, 1902 – the date of the first match between the two clubs, which Barca won 3-1 against a common Madrid FC but the rivalry between the two regions goes back centuries.
Firstly, Madrid got the royal prefix in 1920 and they then became the favored club of Europe’s longest-lasting 20th century dictator Francisco Franco. Between the World War II and the dictator ‘s death in 1975,his rule suppressed the use of Catalan language and their symbols. The people of Catalonia never liked Franco and the team he loved the most and they had many wars against Madrid as well but the best way to show their independence has been through the beautiful game of football as for much of Franco’s long term dictatorship the Camp Nou was the only place in Spain where Catalan could openly speak and the police could not do anything.
- Francisco Franco-The creator of the El clasico rivalry
Madrid and Barca are also the biggest, richest and the most successful clubs in the world,they both are the biggest cities in Spain, both have never been relegated from La Liga and many other facts make this the biggest footballing rivalry in the world.You know it ‘s a clasico night when when the streets are empty,the the roads are vacant and the bars and cafes are filled with people with their club jerseys on.Television channels often turndown their regular shows to begin the build up for the clasico and there is always a big fight to gain the rights of these matches. The clasico is always filled with glamour and stardom with the two clubs always giving it their all. Whether it‘s a cup or a league match it always promises to be full of excitement and controversy.
These two clubs have always had the best players in the world which always leads to a great spectacle. Both sets of fans always remain aggressive and noisy and never ever miss an opportunity to taunt their counterparts. A win in this match means a lot to both sets of fans.
The two clubs have always presented a great spectacle but some matches were really too good than the rest of them.
The best of them all would be the recent routing of Madrid by Barcelona in 2010 when they literally tormented them with their swift and silky attack by Messi & Co. and beating them 5-0.It was Mourinho ‘s first ever clasico which became a bit of an embarrassment for him as his side had only 30% of the possession and just 1/3rd of the goal attempts and shots on goal as compared to Barca.Madrid had also enjoyed several one sided victories before this.
They had beaten Barca 5-1 in January 1963 when the great Ferenc Puskas scored a memorable hat-trick at an age of 35,which justifies the enormous talent that he had.They had also beaten Barca 5-0 in another memorable one-sided affair when these two sides met in January 1995.
But if we take a look at the neck to neck clashes between them then the best of them all would be the matchup between them in March 2007,where a little 19-year old Lionel Messi introduced himself to the biggest stage of Football.The game then ended 3-3 which went down in the history books as one of the best clasico ‘s of all time.Barca and Madrid were fighting hard for the League that year and were neck and neck when Real visited the Camp Nou.Fabio Capello ‘s Real Madrid were by far the better team in that match and lead thrice but only to be hit back by an invincible Lionel Messi on that day.Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored Madrid ‘s first two after which Messi leveled it up both times, but then Barca were left with just 10 men on the pitch and Real took advantage through Sergio Ramos as his header took the Los Blancos ahead,but the Kings of the game kept on going till the end and got their reward in injury time with a sublime goal by Lionel Messi which sent the Catalan crowd into Ecstasy and lead to the birth of a footballing genius ,Lionel Messi !
- Lionel Messi after his hat trick against Madrid in 2007
Talking of Messi,how can one forget Cristiano Ronaldo.He has also shown some great performances in some clasicos and on October,7 2012 he became the first ever player to score in 6 consecutive clasicos,which is a truly remarkable achievement.
The matches between these two sides have always sparked controversy.Recently,the rivalry between the clubs intensified when they met 4 times in 18 days.In these games 4 red cards were shown,several fights broke out in between the games,a war of words erupted before and after a match and unsportsmanlike behavior shown by both sides was not a good sign for the beautiful game.The worst case of “hatred” came when Luis figo,a hero for the Catalan supporters turned into a traitor when in signed for Madrid in the summer of 2000.He was not liked by the Barca supporters then and was shown their hostility in November 2002 through a unique protest when the Catalan fans threw a pig ‘s head and other garbage,including bottles and papers at Figo when he went over to take a corner kick.This was a real shame for this great event and correctly the match was given a shameful title in the form of “Derby of Shame,2002”.
- A pig ‘s head thrown at Luis Figo !
There is nothing to seperate these two massive Spanish clubs,but if we look statistically at their head-to-head records,Real has won 90 games whereas Barcelona has only won 86,but the Blaugrana leads them when it comes to trophies won as they have won 79 whereas Real only has 76.Undoubtedly,The El Clasico is the biggest game in club football.A UCL semifinal match between these two sides in 2002 was viewed by over 500 million people which gave it the title of “The Match of the Century” !!
I have a list of great Clasico videos but if I was asked which was the best,I would surely say the highlights of the 3-3 draw between the two clubs that I mentioned above ,so here it is !Sorry for the Spanish commentary but it sounds great when they scream GOAL….
[youtube width=”500″ height=”300″]OGaTssDE3BU[/youtube]