In the world of club football, there are plenty of terrific, intense rivalries. While several of them could make the claim of best rivalry, Barcelona and Real Madrid once again illustrated why they are a step ahead of the pack with another instant classic on Sunday.
El Clasico has everything fans could want. When you combine the star power, constantly close games, a title chase and picture-perfect play, there's just no other pair of clubs in the world that can match what the Spanish foes have put together in recent seasons.
It was all on display in the latest clash, which finished in a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou. Superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo each scored twice, showing off their unmatched ability to find the net no matter the pressure or circumstances.
Messi and Ronaldo are perfect examples of their respective teams. Messi is technically gifted with the skill to create scoring chances out of nothing, bolstering the Barca attack. Ronaldo is powerful and can take over a game like no one besides his chief rival can.
When they step on the pitch at the same time, football fans from around the globe expect to see a magical display, and the dynamic duo rarely disappoint. Sunday's match was certainly no exception, with both players rising to the occasion.
As usual, Barcelona dominated the possession battle, using its quick passing and remarkable chemistry to ensure Real Madrid's opportunities would be limited. By now, Los Blancos are used to it and have developed their own effective counterattacks.
Perhaps what makes the matches between the two superpowers truly special is the willingness to take chances to produce offense. In most top-tier rivalries, there's an obvious attempt by both sides to limit scoring opportunities.
That's certainly not the case with Barcelona and Real Madrid. The two sides have already faced off three times during the current campaign, and there has been an average of four goals per contest, making for a lot of memorable moments.
Moments are what make a rivalry. Sure, the trophies are important and what everybody is aiming for from season to season, but the best rivalries always have moments that live on forever in the minds of supporters from both sides.
The most likely candidate from Sunday was Messi's brilliant goal off a free kick. It was the type of finish that players normally only dream of, but he's one of the few capable of making it happen, and on a huge stage no less.
From Xavi and Cesc Fabregas for Barcelona to Mesut Ozil and Iker Casillas for Real Madrid, it's easy to see why the rivalry continues to thrive. And it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
El Clasico is truly the king of club football rivalries.
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