The history of El Clasico: Real Madrid v FC Barcelona 

Photo by: Emilio Garcia

El Clasico is one of the biggest rivalries in the world of soccer and it is a match that transcends the sport. The battle between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, the two biggest clubs in Spain, is about more than just a game. It is a battle that has grown over the years, and its history is fascinating. 

The first El Clasico match was played in 1902, but it was not until the 1920s that the rivalry between the two teams started to develop. One of the key factors in its growth was the Spanish Civil War. Barcelona, a club that has always had strong ties to Catalonia, was seen as a symbol of resistance against the central government. Meanwhile, Real Madrid was seen as a symbol of the regime. The two clubs became symbols of the conflict, and their rivalry took on a new meaning. 

In the 1950s, the rivalry became even more intense, thanks in part to the two clubs’ domination of Spanish football. Real Madrid won five consecutive European Cups between 1956 and 1960, while Barcelona won the league title in 1952, 1953 and 1959. The two teams were constantly battling for supremacy and their matches were eagerly anticipated. 

The conflict continued to grow throughout the ’60s and ’70s, with both teams enjoying success on the domestic and European stages. However, it was in the ’80s that it truly entered a new era. The arrival of Johan Cruyff as Barcelona’s manager in 1988 marked a turning point for the squad. Cruyff’s “dream team” revolutionized Spanish football and brought Barcelona’s rivalry with Real Madrid to new heights. 

The two teams continued to clash heads into the 21st century. Barcelona’s success under the leadership of Lionel Messi, the greatest player in the history of football, helped cement the team’s position as one of the best in the world. On the other side, Real Madrid was carried by the likes of a top-three player of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo, as the two players battled each other for just less than a decade. 

During the two players’ time facing off, Messi had the edge in El Clasico matches, winning 44 per cent and averaging 0.72 goals per game, compared to Ronaldo’s winning percentage of 26 per cent and a strike rate of 0.63. 

The rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona is about more than just football. It is about history, politics and identity. It is a battle that has grown and evolved over the years, and it is one that will continue to captivate football fans around the world for generations to come. 

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