On Sunday, Real Madrid and Barcelona will face each other. This will be the 247th competitive match between these arch-rivals. This is not just another match that is played on the pitch. The match defines war, the match goes beyond the 90 mins and 22 players, the match displays the age-old disputes between Madrid and Catalunya, for this is the El Clasico.
The decades-old rivalry which has only flared up with time gone by is the trademark fixture of club football. Both Madrid and Barcelona have had the services of the best players in world football which has only made the clash more Intriguing on the pitch.
There have been many memorable fixtures that displayed the highest level of football played. Both the teams have always tried to top each other. The games and title races among these sides have always been close. The fact that despite facing each other more than 200 times, Real Madrid edge the head to head to Barcelona only by 98-96 tells us how close the two teams have been.
Let’s have a look at the Top 5 El Clasicos of the 21st Century:
1. Real Madrid 3-4 Barcelona (La Liga, 2014)
One of the highest-scoring Clasicos surely deserves to be at the top of the list this century. Both the sides packed with star players made the clash more intriguing. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi on the scoresheet, a red card for Sergio Ramos, late winner, penalties, and endless drama. This Clasico had it all. Iniesta opened the scoring for Barcelona which was followed by 2 Benzema goals in the first half before Messi got his first of the night which set up for a brilliant second half. The action continued in the second half with both Ronaldo and Messi scoring a penalty before the Argentine scored again to give Barcelona a famous 4-3 victory. Lionel Messi in this match got a hattrick and in-process became the highest goal scorer in El Clasico history. This game was the definition of El Clasico.
2. Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona (Champions League Semi-Final, 2011)
The match which Kickstarted an Era of fights, clashes, and high-level football was the 2011 Champions League Semi-Finals. The tension that was present before and during the matches was second to none. Although the result was pretty one-sided as Barcelona made their way to the final courtesy of a brilliant Messi solo goal which will be remembered forever. This match was more than the 2 legs of a football match. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho’s press conferences were as much drama as the matches.
The high tension and clashes between the two club and their fans during this fixture led to the sides being separated even before the match started. Jose Mourinho was dismissed on the touchline and Pepe received a red card on the pitch. This high-tempered affair turned into an aggressive war which perhaps overshadowed the result but left us with the true definition of El Clasico.
3. Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona (Copa Del Rey Final, 2014)
The two arch-rivals were set to face each other for the third time in the season, and this time in a final. Madrid playing without their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo had their hopes on Gareth Bale and he did not disappoint. After an early Di Maria goal and Marc Batra’s second-half equalizer, the match looked to go to extra time until Gareth Bale unleashed himself.
The Welshman burst past Marc Batra from the half-line and slotted the ball beyond Pinto to cap off a brilliant solo goal and win Real Madrid the Copa Del Rey title. A goal that will be remembered for ages defined yet another dramatic El Clasico.
4. Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona (2017)
Yes, the match where we witnessed that iconic celebration from Messi. Barcelona came into the match knowing that anything but a win would keep their hopes alive of retaining the title. What followed was one of the best clasicos of the last decades. After Casemiro’s opening goal, Messi equalized and a 2nd half goal from Rakitic looked to have sealed the win. However, what followed was dramatic and nerve-wracking.
Sergio Ramos received a red card which was followed by a James Rodriguez equalizer. The sides looked set to share points until Messi curled in a shot beyond Keylor Navas in the last minute which handed Barcelona all 3 points. The goal which was his 500th in club football was followed by a celebration as Messi.
5. Real Madrid 4-2 Barcelona (2005)
When the Galacticos of Madrid faced the high-flying Catalunyans in the Clasico, fireworks were expected. Madrid came into the match needing nothing but a victory to keep the title race alive and they did get that. David Beckham and Michael Owen were at the heart of the victory. Zidane opened the scoring and Ronaldo made it 2-0 before Eto’o got one back for Barcelona.
However, Raul and Owen went to make it 4-1. Ronaldinho then scored a brilliant goal but it was only a consolation as Madrid got the crucial victory. The quality of football in that match was the highest as the two teams delivered one of the best clasicos ever witnessed.
These have been some of the games that have made Clasico what it is over the years. With the absence of Messi and Ramos, the glory has lowered but El Clasico will still remain an intense battle. Now it is time for the likes of Ansu Fati and Vinicius to step up and make their mark on Sunday and in this historical fixture. Let’s get ready for yet another El Clasico.
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