Barcelona take on Real Madrid tomorrow at Camp Nou. What is the history of El Clasico and who will win this most illustrious club match of all?
El Clasico meaning
El Clasico, or ‘The Classic’, is the name given to any game between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Originally it only applied to Spanish championship games between the two, but has come to be used for their meetings in any competition.
Results so far
The first ever El Clasico ended 3-1 to Barcelona in the 1902 Copa de la Coronacion. Since then, Real just shade competitive meetings, winning 97 times to Barclona’s 96 along with 52 draws. Including exhibition games, there have been a total of 278 El Clasicos. Barcelona have won 115, Real 101, and there have been 62 draws.
EL CLASICO HISTORY
1920s: The first ever La Liga El Clasico
The first Clasico in La Liga took place in February 1929, just two weeks into the first ever La Liga season. Barcelona’s Les Corts stadium was packed with confident home fans that day, but they left disappointed as Real Madrid struck either side of half time and hung on for a 2-1 inaugural win. Barcelona won the reverse fixture 1-0 and the first ever La Liga title, but the first El Clasico win went to the capital!
1930s: Real Madrid notch up the biggest victory in La Liga El Clasico history
The 1934-35 El Clasico fixtures were incredible, with Barcelona winning 5-0 at Les Corts before Real Madrid turned it around with an incredible 8-2 win at Chamartin. The home side went 5-1 up after just 30 minutes, which prompted Barcelona’s Hungarian coach Ferenc Plattko to ask the ball to be changed at the break as he feared foul play! It made no difference as the home side racked up the biggest ever La Liga El Clasico win!
1950s: Spain’s first televised football match
History was made on February 15th 1959 as El Clasico became the first football match ever televised on Spanish television. There was a pre-game scramble for the latest technology, with TV sets quickly selling out across both cities. Real Madrid, featuring the great Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas won 1-0 that day at the Bernabeu but were unable to prevent Barcelona from winning their first La Liga title in seven years!
1960s: Di Stefano continues to hurt Barcelona
The Argentine legend remains Real Madrid’s all-time leading El Clasico goalscorer and he tormented Barcelona time and time again after they mistakenly thought they’d beaten Real Madrid to his signing back in 1953. Di Stefano’s 14 goals in 20 matches included a brace in a 5-3 win at the recently opened Camp Nou in December 1960 and marked a period of dominance for Real Madrid.
1970s: Cruyff swings the balance Barcelona’s way
Johan Cruyff’s arrival as a Barcelona player in 1974 helped tilt the El Clasico balance back towards the Catalan capital, and the Dutchman’s performance in a 5-0 La Liga El Clasico win at the Bernabeu that year is still often talked about today. El Salvador inspired Barclona to that season’s La Liga title, but more importantly instilled a footballing philosophy which forms part of the club’s identity to this day.
1980s: Quinta del Buitre generation win five on the bounce
Real Madrid had not won a La Liga title for six years when they faced Barcelona at the Bernabeu in March 1986. A 3-1 win, with club icons Emilio Butragueño and Jorge Valdano among the goal scorers, all but handed the LaLiga title to Real Madrid and opened up a period of unprecedented dominance for the rest of the decade. The so-called Quinta del Buitre generation featuring homegrown talents such as Butragueño, Michel and Manuel Sanchis went on to win every La Liga title between 1986 and 1990!
1990s: Cruyff returns as coach
Cruyff’s return to Barcelona as coach meant the birth of the ‘Dream Team’ which won four consecutive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994. Yet the story of El Clasico in the 1990s will be remembered for two iconic results. A 5-0 win for Barclona at the Camp Nou with Romario and current coach Ronald Koeman among the goal scorers in 1994; and Real Madrid getting revenge with the exact same score line almost exactly 12 months later thanks to goals from, among others, future Barcelona coach Luis Enrique!
2000s: Ronaldinho sends the Bernabeu wild
The November 2005 showdown at the Santiago Bernabeu was the El Classico of a generation. Barcelona took an early lead, but Ronaldinho’s show was just beginning. Early in the second half, the Brazilian drove forward from inside his own half, easily hurdled Sergio Ramos’ attempted tackle, shimmied past Ivan Helguera, avoided Roberto Carlos, and shot past Iker Casillas. 15 minutes later, he flew past Ramos again and easily beat Casillas for 3-0. The Bernabeu crowd reacted in almost unprecedent fashion: by rising to their feet and applauding a genuinely amazing, historic performance!
2010s: Messi makes his mark at the Bernabeu
Lionel Messi is El Clasico’s all-time top scorer in La Liga and his influence on the fixture has been unbelievable. While it’s hard to single out a single performance, its hard to find a more iconic or dramatic moment in recent El Clasico history than his injury-time winner in Barclona’s 3-2 win at the Bernabeu in 2017. The image of Messi holding up his shirt to the Bernabeu fans in celebration will live forever in the memory!
2021: BARCELONA V REAL MADRID
Barcelona find themselves seventh in the La Liga table after eight matches before this epic showdown. Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid have slipped off top spot after taking just one point from their last two games.
With Karim Benzema in great form and Vinicius Junior finally living up to the hype, Real’s status as top scorers in the division is hardly a surprise, and their three-game winning run in El Clasico will certainly inspire confidence within the squad.
Barcelona have shown good form at home and are more than capable of giving Los Blancos a good run for their money, but Ronald Koeman’s side have hardly looked convincing in any of their matches this term, and we expect them to lose in front of their own fans. Our prediction is 2-0 to Real Madrid.