Real Madrid and Barcelona's historic El Clasico fixture enters a new chapter when the Spanish giants meet in Wednesday's Copa del Rey final.
This famous encounter is sure to captivate millions across the globe as both sides renew their rivalry in pursuit of major silverware.
Wednesday's clash is the latest edition of a rivalry that continues to define the nation's game, but as we look back through the annuls of history, which team has ultimate bragging rights based on statistics and records?
Here, we detail exactly that.
El Clasico Records and Head-to-Head Breakdown
Before we take a Copa del Rey-themed focus, it's profitable to focus on overall Clasico stats. As accumulated by Footballzz, it's the capital-based side that boasts a slight edge when taking every result into account:
|Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: All-Time Clasico Stats|
|Competition||Matched Played||Real Madrid wins||Draws||Barcelona wins|
|La Liga||168||70 (42%)||32 (19%)||66 (39%)|
|Champions League||8||3 (38%)||3 (38%)||2 (25%)|
|Copa del Rey||32||11 (34%)||7 (22%)||14 (44%)|
|Spanish Super Cup||12||6 (50%)||2 (17%)||4 (33%)|
|League Cup||6||0 (0%)||4 (67%)||2 (33%)|
|Total||226||90 (39.8%)||48 (21.2%)||88 (38.9%)|
The home side also has a much greater chance of success in this fixture. Heading into the Copa del Rey final, Real Madrid have won 56 percent of their local matches against Barcelona, drawn 21 percent and lost 22 percent.
Similarly, the Blaugrana have a winning percentage of 57 percent in front of their own fans, drawing 20 percent and losing 23 percent.
Interestingly, these teams have a history of competitive fixtures at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium. Madrid ran out 2-1 winners during the 1936 cup final and replicated their victory with a 1-0 extra-time win in 2011.
Occasionally, the two teams have shown enough ferocity to blitz their opponents. As noted below, Madrid also hold the advantage when accumulating massive scores against Barcelona:
|El Clasico: All-Time Biggest Wins|
|Biggest Home Win||Biggest Away Win|
|Real Madrid||11-1 (Copa del Generalísimo, 1942-43)||1-5 (La Liga, 1962-63)|
|Barcelona||7-2 (La Liga, 1950-51)||0-5 (La Liga, 1973-74)|
Despite Madrid holding the greatest Clasico deficit of 10 goals in a single fixture, Barca have triumphed by five clear strikes on eight occasions. The most recent thumping by this margin came during the 2010-11 La Liga season when two goals from David Villa led the charge.
The most common result between the two teams is a 2-1 win to Barcelona, which has happened 15 times.
Of course, the Clasico is often defined by individuals. Messi's hat-trick decided last month's 4-3 win for Barca, a match which also saw the Argentinian star become the fixture's highest ever scorer. As noted by Messistat, he is now two clear of previous record-holder, Alfredo Di Stefano, and eight beyond Cristiano Ronaldo:
Messi has Xavi to thank for such a run of goals, per OptaJose:
Xavi also takes the accolade for racking up the most appearances of any active player in the renowned fixture. He added one more display to OptaJose's total during the aforementioned 4-3 win, meaning he heads into Wednesday's match looking for number 39:
The upcoming contest is sure to add another snippet of history to a fixture that is crammed with memorable moments. Both sides currently trail Atletico Madrid in La Liga and will circle the Copa del Rey final as their most likely chance of gaining silverware this season.
Carlo Ancelotti's side have a Champions League semi-final with Bayern Munich to negotiate while FCB were knocked out of the competition by Atletico at the quarter-final stage. Reports continue to suggest Gerardo Martino will receive the boot if Barca's troubles persist, per Liam Prenderville of the Mirror, indicating this could be an extremely important Clasico with the club's future in mind.
Barcelona are just two wins behind Real's overall head-to-head total. With Ronaldo confirmed to be missing for the next battle, per The Guardian, Messi and his teammates have the initiative to alter the records in a positive way.
Of course, to do that, Barca must live without Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra, all of whom are expected to be sidelined, per Enis Koylu of Goal.com. Whoever is deemed worthy to play, we have a real treat in store.
Both teams need a statement performance to ensure their seasons' hopes are kept alive. A neutral venue certainly adds to the proceedings, ensuring no side takes the advantage of majority support into the match. Can Messi add to his total? Will another star significantly dent the record books? Stay tuned to find out.