Of all of football’s big rivalries around the world, one of the most anticipated and most exciting is the clash between Spain’s two biggest clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona. “El Clasico” as it’s known, the derby between the two sides, brings a lot of excitement, passion, and usually goals on a regular basis as the two clubs compete to get one over each other and there’s nothing a fan of either club loves more than beating their arch-rivals. The latest “El Clasico” occurred this weekend as Barcelona sank Real through Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s strike just before the hour; though it lacked many goals, the game contained exciting, flowing football which entertained all who watched it. There’s been better though and here are five of the best clashes between the two sides:
5. Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona – November 2005
This match is notable mainly for an individual performance which was so fine that the rival fans applauded the player when he left the field. The player in question? Ronaldinho. The Brazilian was in the form of his life and the best player in the world at the time and scored a sublime brace alongside Samuel Eto’o’s opening strike to help Barca, the form team of the time, to ease to victory. The Madrid crowd were on their feet to clap the Brazilian off as he left the pitch which is a massive rarity between such fierce rivals.
4. Barcelona 3-5 Real Madrid – January 1987
The oldest Clasico on our list dates back in 1987 when a clinical English striker called Gary Lineker hit a hat-trick to lead Barcelona to a victory over the old rivals; Lineker put the hosts 2 – 0 up within 6 minutes and added a third later on to make it 3 – 0. A Jorge Valdano strike and a Hugo Sanchez penalty pulled Real back into it to set up a tense finish but Barca held on to claim a priceless victory.
3. Real Madrid 4-2 Barcelona – April 2005
A cracking clash saw two fantastic footballing sides playing attacking football which heralded a 6 goal cracker. Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo put the hosts two in front before Samuel Eto’o pulled one back for Barca. Goals from Raul and Michael Owen wrapped up the win for the hosts though before Ronaldinho could pull back one more consolation for the visitors.
2. Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona – May 2009
Barcelona had been in full control of La Liga during the 2008/09 season but Real Madrid had started to close the gap on the leaders and a victory over Barca at the Bernabeu would bring them right back into the title race. Defeat however would pretty much end Real’s hopes of catching Barca up and that’s what did occur as Barca displayed a masterclass performance to take the hosts apart. It hadn’t looked like it would go that way when Gonzalo Higuain headed the hosts in front but Barca fought back fiercely and led 3 – 1 at the break through goals from Thierry Henry, Carles Puyol and Lionel Messi. Real Madrid regained hope when Sergio Ramos pulled one back but further goals from Henry, Messi and Gerard Pique secured a triumph for the visitors of a 4 goal margin and an impressive one at that. Barca went on to fly to a treble.
1. Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid – March 2007
Lionel Messi completed a hat-trick in injury time to grab 10 man Barca a share of the points against Fabio Capello’s Real Madrid in this absolute cracker of a game. Real looked dangerous early on and twice took the lead in the early stages through goals from the deadly Ruud van Nistelrooy with Messi striking in between the two goals. Messi levelled again for Barca half an hour into the game before Barca defender Oleguer was sent off just before half time for a second yellow card. Real pushed for a win and managed to take the lead 17 minutes from time thanks to a Sergio Ramos header and it looked like that was going to be enough to give the capital club the victory they craved. 19 year old Messi wasn’t going to allow his club to be denied any points though and raced past two players before beating Iker Casillas to get Barca a draw with his dramatic last gasp goal. Real had led three times, Messi had responded each time – it had been a great game.
Magic is in the air whenever these two giants of the game play each other and you can be sure that there are plenty more fantastic “El Clasico” games ahead. Obviously not every game can be a cracker but these two entertaining sides do a pretty good job of providing entertainment on a regular basis. Biggest and most exciting rivalry in world football? Quite possibly.
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