Arguably the greatest match in world football, ‘El Clasico’ is now upon us. While both Barcelona and Madrid are not at their best level, as well as the fans not being able to attend the stadium, an exciting match up is expected. The La Liga champions will be looking to reinvent themselves with a win this Saturday, aiming to capitalise on their defeat at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk. On the other half, the Catalans will aim to continue their impressive run of victories, after a dominant win over Hungarian Champions Ferencvaros this week. In this article, we therefore take a look at the past encounters between the two Spanish giants. As there are a multitude of great matches to choose from, we will only be focusing on three specifically; the 6-2 victory, followed by the 5-0 victory and the 3-2 victory in the most recent of these encounters.
Real Madrid 2-6 FC Barcelona. 2/5/09
This match was a very special match in FC Barcelona’s history. It signified and foreshadowed what was going to come under the new manager Pep Guardiola. This first complete domination by the Catalans, signified a birth of a new era in Barcelona; one filled with success, glory and happiness.
Surprisingly however, it was Madrid who opened the scoring at the Bernabeu. After a cross had come in from Sergio Ramos, Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain was left free. Consequently, he converted his header into the first goal of the match, erupting the vibrant atmosphere around the stadium. This lead however lasted for a very short time. Only 4 minutes later- in the 17th minute- Thierry Henry made it 1-1.
After a lobbed pass had made its way to the opponents penalty box, Henry converted his low driven shot into the first goal. This goal came after Barcelona had convincingly dominated the first twenty minutes, controlling the action and pace of the game. Three minutes later, Barcelona’s second goal came. A cross by Spanish player Xavi, had left Puyol free; thereby converting his header into a goal. Comparisons between Puyol’s and Higuain’s goals can thus be made, as the build-up between the two was very similar. In the 35th minute, after Lassana Diarra lost the ball to a tackle from Xavi, Lionel Messi made it 3-1. The first half therefore ended with the Catalans in front, displaying a very dominant performance thus far.
In the second half, Madrid brought the game to 3-2. After a foul had been made on Ramos, Robben was set up to take the free kick. After a cross had come into the box, Ramos was left free, scoring his first goal of the game. This was once again short lived. Two minutes later in the 48th minute, Thierry Henry scored his second. After a brilliant through ball orchestrated by Xavi, Henry was played onside by Ramos; thereby securing the 4-2. Before Casillas had the chance to reach the Frenchman, Henry had already tapped the ball passed the Spanish keeper, with the ball successfully rolling into the back of the net. From here on, Barcelona took complete control of the match; dominating possession, governing the intensity and creating many chances. The last two goals of the game had come from Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, completing a dominant match by the blaugranas. This match had thus sent shockwaves all over La Liga, and had practically solidified the fact that Barcelona were to be crowned the champions.
FC Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid. 29/11/10
Yet again, this match entailed a complete and utter domination by the Catalans. A difference in this match however, was the fact that it took place in the Camp Nou, rather than the Bernabeu. This Barcelona looked rather incredible, with complete control and authority over the full 90 minutes.
Within the first ten minutes, Barcelona’s first goal came. After an assist coming from Andres Iniesta, Xavi was left one on one with Spanish compatriot Iker Casillas. A clean touch had allowed him to chip it over the keeper, bringing the blaugranas into an early lead. The second goal came quickly too, about the 17th minute. After a run down the wing from David Villa, an assist was given to Pedro. Pedro, who had run in skilfully behind Marcelo tapped the ball in, bringing the Catalans into a 2-0 lead. While the blaugranas had many chances left in the remaining half, and dominated much possession, only the first two goals arrived in the first 45 minutes. This brought to a close a half dominated by El Juego de Posicion, or as we know it, the beauty of ‘tiki-taka’.
Come the second half, around the 54th minute, Barcelona scored yet again. After Messi had broken Madrid’s defensive line, and orchestrated a through ball to Villa, he made it 3-0. A right foot shot- from quite a hard angle- had made its way into the back of the net, signalling the accuracy in Villa’s shot. This was once again replicated in the 56th minute, with yet another goal from the Spanish striker. After another brilliant assist from Messi, Villa was left one on one with Casillas. A low driven shot, had made its way in-between Casillas legs, bringing the match to an astounding 4-0. Lastly in the 90th minute, Jeffren Suarez completed the notorious ‘manita’ and made it 5-0. This victory dominated Spanish headlines for days to come, with the infamous picture of Pique displaying his hand in the air. For the past two years, Barcelona had managed to overcome the strength of Real Madrid, signifying their dominance in Spain.
Real Madrid 2-3 FC Barcelona. 23/4/17
This match was a very special match in the history of both clubs. Both teams were level on top of the league, and the standards in each club was very similar. It was a must win for Barcelona, with Luis Enrique’s future up in the air, and the first talk about a ‘crisis’ in the club that we know all too much about now. The game did not disappoint, with an array of talent, intensity and action on display.
The first goal came from ‘Los Merengues’. A cross delivered by Brazilian left-back Marcelo, had left Sergio Ramos open at the far right side of the goal. His shot however had deflected of the post, with Casemiro there to tap it in. This goal was eventually coming, as Madrid had dominated possession and missed a couple of chances early on. Despite this lead, five minutes later Barcelona equalized. A brilliant run by Messi, cutting in on the inside and dribbling passed Madrid’s defence, brought the game to a goal each. It was a brilliant close to the first half, which saw a 45 minutes filled with action, drama and skill.
Come the second half, both sides once again had chances to equalise. Players such as Ronaldo, or Luis Suarez had clear cut chances to bring their sides to a lead, but failed to deliver. It was not until the 73rd minute however, where Ivan Rakitic scored the second goal. A brilliant left foot shot from outside the box, made it impossible for Diego Lopez to save. The spin and pace of the ball was far too much for the Spanish goalkeeper, with the ball being driven straight at the top left corner. The goals did not end there however. James Rodriguez managed to bring the match level at 2-2, before Messi scored the third goal in the 90+2 minute. This had marked Messi’s 500th goal for the club of his dreams, as Barcelona edged a very exciting match. One thing clearly remembered from this game, was Messi’s iconic celebration; displaying his shirt in front of an infuriated Madrid crowd.