El Clasico Countdown: 25 Greatest Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Moments
Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of the world's strongest teams and both teams have a proud history. They have an intense rivalry and the games between the two Spanish giants are regarded to be one of the biggest in the world. These games generally have a number of dazzling moments of brilliance along with many controversial moments because of the fierce competitive spirit of both the teams.
In the last season, there were as many as five games between the two Spanish giants including all competitions which saw both these teams display a fighting attitude. Though Real Madrid won the Copa Del Rey by beating Barcelona, the Catalans won the Champions League and the La Liga title. It has been a better start to the season for Jose Mourinho's men as they have a three point lead currently over Barcelona with a game in hand.
However, with the quality in Barcelona's squad, Madrid cannot underestimate the prowess of their rivals and they will certainly provide Madrid with a great challenge. The first El Clasico of the season is in the next week and it would be an excellent time to see how strong the two teams are.
There have been several scintillating and controversial moments in the past in the games between the two clubs and here are 25 moments to look back.
Barcelona Giving Real Madrid the Guard of Honour in 2007-08 Season
Barcelona and Madrid are very fierce rivals which is why it was humiliating when the Catalans had to give them the guard of honor. It is a spanish tradition to give the team which wins the title the guard of honor in the next game of the season. Madrid would go on to further humiliate them 4-1 and cliniched the title in style. However, they also sparked the arrival of Pep Guardiola and the succession of plenty of trophies since this moment.
Hat-Trick by Lionel Messi Against Madrid in the 2006-07 Season
Ronaldinho was arguably Barcelona's most important player in the 2006-07 season and the Brazilian magician was well known to the world. However, another South American footballer shot to immense fame in this game against Madrid as young Messi scored a sensational hat-trick. It was the moment that they realized that Messi could become a world class player like Ronaldinho and though this great performance was unable to help Barcelona win the La Liga, he would later go on to be one of Barcelona's greatest ever players despite being only 24 years of age now.
Barcelona Fans Throwing a Pig's Head at Luis Figo of Real Madrid
Luis Figo was one of Barcelona's most important players before he controversially signed for arch-rivals Real Madrid, who was embarking on a multi-million project to assemble some of the world's best players. Figo was one of the marquee signings for Madrid and was as expected, given a hostile reception at the Nou Camp. The Barcelona fans did not allow him to take a corner for his side and many objects were thrown at the Portuguese midfielders. However, someone throwing a pig's head was very astonishing and later, with some crowd control measures, the game continued.
Cristiano Ronaldo's Goal in the Copa Del Rey Final in 2010-11 Season
The Copa Del Rey is not as important as the La Liga or the Champions league but this victory over the Catalans could yet be very significant as it was the first victory by Madrid over Barcelona since the arrival of Pep Guardiola as the manager of the Catalans. Also, it led to Madrid's first trophy win under Jose Mourinho and showed them the belief that they can beat Barcelona. Having a trophy-less season is demoralising for a team like Madrid and to win the Copa Del Rey was a significant to them. The team has further grown in strength this season and there exists the possibility that they could win major trophies under Mourinho this season.
Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona in 2008-09 Season
The Santiago Bernabeu has been one of the most difficult stadiums to play in for opponents but Barcelona proved how good they were when they dispatched Real Madrid by six goals to two at the home of Madrid. Since the appointment of Pep Guardiola as the manager of Barcelona, they had played some great football that season but this was the highlight as they ripped Madrid to shreds. It inevitably meant that Juande Ramos had to be dismissed and many stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso were signed by Madrid.
Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid in 1993-94 Season
Barcelona's former manager Johan Cryuff assembled a team capable of playing fine football and beating the best in the world. The Dutch tactician provided Barcelona with many successful memories both as a player and as the manager of the club. This game was one of the best games played under Cryuff as Romario showed his class in this victory scoring a sensational hat-trick. It was a great team performance which inflicted this misery on Madrid but they would show great character to fight back in the next season under Jorde Valdano.
Real Madrid 5 -0 Barcelona in the 1994-95 Season
Real Madrid suffered when they were beaten 5-0 by Barcelona in the 1993-94 season but they had their revenge in the next season at their home as they thrashed them 5-0. Jorge Valdano had taken over the reins at Madrid and this Madrid team had the mentality to demolish the Catalans in what was a defining moment in that season. It will rank as one of Madrid's greatest wins against their fierce rivals and Chile striker Ivan Zamorano was the hero as he scored a hat-trick.
Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid in the 2010-11 Season
Barcelona has been the dominant force in world football in the last three seasons and they proved their quality against Real Madrid in this encounter at the Nou Camp which they won 5-0 with goals from Xavi Hernandez, Pedro Rodriguez, David Villa and Jeffren. Mourinho who had been appointed in the summer understood the difficulty of his task after that game and then adjusted his tactics in order to stifle the Catalans. With the El Clasico coming up in December, the Blaugrana will hope that they can repeat the heroics of this game with three points crucial for them.
Gary Lineker's Hat-Trick in the 1986-87 Season
Gary Lineker is considered to be one of the finest footballers technically in England's history as his performances at the World Cups showed. The British striker who started his career with Leicester City, was signed by FC Barcelona after his superb performances at the World Cup and joined the Spanish giants in 1986. He is fondly remembered by Catalan fans for this excellent hat-trick he scored against Madrid which gave them an important victory over their arch-rivals.
Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona (1960 European Cup Semi-Finals' Second Leg)
Real Madrid are still the team which has won the highest number of Champions League titles but even before the Champions League came into existence, they were quite dominant in the European Cup as well. Ferenc Puskas was one of Real Madrid's greatest ever players and he was prolific for the Spanish giants. In the second leg of the European Cup Semi-Finals against Barcelona, they went into the game with 3-1 aggregate. Madrid inflicted further misery on Barcelona as they won the second leg 3-1 again with a brace from Puskas, the key to their performance. They would go on to beat Frankfurt in the European final and Puskas established himself as a legend.
Barcelona 0-2 Real Madrid in the Champions League Semi-Final
Real Madrid and Barcelona have clashed in European Cups just like the last season where Madrid were knocked out by Barcelona. However, in this game in the 2001-02 season in the Champions League Semi-Final first leg at the Nou Camp, goals from Zinedine Zidane and Steve McManaman condemned Barcelona to a 2-0 defeat at home leaving them a mountain to climb in the second leg. Madrid progressed to the finals of the Champions League where they beat Bayer Leverkeusen.
Ronaldinho Receiving an Ovation from the Bernabeu Crowd
Ronaldinho was one of the finest players to play for Barcelona and his stunning individual goal for Barcelona against Real Madrid sparked an ovation from a section of Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu. It was a sensational bit of individual skill which left defenders bamboozled and Iker Casillas could not do anything to stop the goal. The brilliance of the smiling Ronaldinho was recognized by the Bernabeu crowd after this superb goal which is certainly one of the more pleasant moments to occur in these two clubs' rivalry.
Real Madrid Accusing Barcelona Players of Diving and Racism
This was one of the worst advertisements for football because the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona saw plenty of clashes and ugly verbal spats than good football for most of the game. The dismissal of Pepe sparked the controversy to a great extent and Mourinho was incensed by the referee's decision and was subsequently received a touchline ban. Madrid accused Barcelona of play-acting and also Sergio Busquets of racist comments according to this report.
Real Madrid Manager Jose Mourinho's Conspiracy Theory Relating to Barcelona
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho launched an amazing rant at Barcelona in the aftermath of the 2-0 defeat and questioned whether they do get favors from the UEFA and others. He mentioned the names of four referees who were involved in Barcelona's controversial matches such as Massimo Bussaca, who controversially sent off Arsenal's Robin van Persie in the 2010-11 season and also Henry Ovrebo, who had made a number of wrong decisions in the game between Chelsea and Barcelona in the 2008-09 season. Mourinho was subsequently handed an extended ban by the UEFA and has another chance to win the Champions League with Real Madrid this season.
Johan Cruyff's Performance Against Real Madrid in 5-0 Barcelona Win in 1974
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Johan Cryuff is regarded as one of the greatest players ever to have played the game and he signed for Barcelona in the 1973-74 season. He was tracked by both Real Madrid and Barcelona and eventually signed for Barcelona. He won the league in his first season at the club and led the club to an emphatic 5-0 victory against Real Madrid in his first season. He assisted three goals and scored one to beat Madrid at home as he showed his class against Madrid.
Lionel Messi's Brace in the Semi-Final of the Champions League in 2011
Lionel Messi has often been a problem for Real Madrid since he established himself as an integral part of the Barcelona squad. The Champions League Semi-Final was eagerly anticipated as it was scheduled just after Real Madrid's win in the Copa Del Rey competition. The game had plenty of controversial moments and the referee sent off Pepe for a tackle on Dani Alves. Messi took centre-stage following that decision and scored two clinical goals to seal the tie in favor of the Catalans. He showed his poaching instinct for the first goal which he converted from a cross from Ibrahim Afellay and the second one was a piece of brilliance which can be seen from the video.
Raul Gonzalez' Brilliant Goal Against Barcelona in Champions League 2002
Raul Gonzalez is one of the most iconic players in Real Madrid's history and is one of the most prolific strikers in the history of the club. The Spanish striker scored many vital goals during his time at the club and this superb goal to seal Madrid's passage to the Champions League final in 2002 could be considered as one of his most important. Raul gains possession in midfield and steadies himself to shoot from distance. There is absolutely no chance for the goalkeeper as it is hit for the top corner and with that, Madrid safely progressed to the final of the Champions League.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Goal in the El Clasico After Big Money Arrivals of Madrid
When Pep Guardiola's men won all the trophies they participated in the 2008-09 season, Real Madrid president embarked on a policy of signing big names in order to defeat Guardiola's dream team. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Kaka and Xabi Alonso all arrived at the Bernabeu while Guardiola made the big money signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan. Though it was a close game, it was Ibrahimovic's goal which was the difference between the two sides. It also highlighted the need for Madrid to gel together as a unit and also that stars alone would not be able to break this Barcelona unit. With the arrival of Jose Mourinho, they have concentrated on employing a team game with excellent work rate which is necessary to be consistent and beat Barcelona as well.
Santiago Aragon's Brilliant Goal Against FC Barcelona in 1990
Santiago Aragon may not be the most famous player to have played for Real Madrid but this goal scored by him has to rank amongst the best to have been scored in this fixture. The midfielder is just past the halfway line when he decides to unleash a vicious shot which finds the back of the net. The goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta was off his line and clearly did not expect Aragon to chip the ball over him from that distance. The goal was the third of the game as Madrid won the game 4-1 in the Spanish Supercup.
Real Madrid 2-2 Barcelona with Rivaldo's Controversially Disallowed Goal
Rivaldo is another great midfielder to have played for FC Barcelona and the Brazilian was irrepressible when he was in form. In this great game at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid take the lead twice in the game and both times, it is Rivaldo who provides the equalizer. The Brazilian also thought that he had scored the winner as did most of the players on the pitch including Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas but the referee wrongly disallowed it for offside sparking plenty of controversy. Pep Guardiola, then a player, was furious with the referee and came onto the pitch to speak what he felt about that decision. The game finished 2-2 with Barcelona feeling hard done by that decision which could have given them all three points.
Real Madrid 4-2 Barcelona in 2005
If the 2-6 win by Barcelona in the 2008-09 is considered to be one of Barcelona's best performances, then this win by Madrid over their arch-rivals is one of their best. They played excellent flowing football symbolizing their proud history and demolished the Catalan giants 4-2 at the Bernabeu. There were goals from some of the most iconic goalscorers in the past decade with Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Raul, Michael Owen, Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho all getting on the scoresheet in this fantastic night of football.
Julio Baptista's Fantastic Goal in 1-0 Win in the 2007-08 Season
Julio Baptista is one of the forwards who could be frustratingly inconsistent but Real Madrid fans will happily remember this goal by "the Beast". Bernhard Schuster devised an intelligent strategy to beat Barcelona with his tactics working excellently in the game. However, the win was due to this moment of brilliance from Baptista, who volleyed brilliantly after a very clever exchange with striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Xavi's Great Goal Through a Brilliant Assist from Ronaldinho in 2004
Xavi Hernandez is not always regarded as a prolific goalscorer but he has the capability to score vital goals just like he showed in the past season in the games against Arsenal and Real Madrid. Ronaldinho and Xavi are two of the greatest midfielders to play for Barcelona in this decade and here they both exhibit their superb skills. Xavi makes a run into the box after passing it outside the box to Ronaldinho and the Brazilian chips it superbly to find Xavi, who instinctively finishes giving Iker Casillas no chance.
Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona Under Fabio Capello in 2006
Fabio Capello is one of the most reputed managers in the game having won several trophies with different clubs but his pragmatic defensive approach did not go down too well with the Real Madrid board and the fans, who were used to seeing free-flowing attacking football. He did not have a good start to his second tenure as the boss of Real Madrid with the team dropping points against lesser oppositions. However, this win against Barcelona through goals from Raul and Ruud Van Nistelrooy gave them belief that they could defeat the Catalans. In a very up and down season, Madrid managed to win the La Liga title on the final day of the season but Capello was sacked due to his more defensive approach to the game.
Alfred Di Stefano Scoring Four Goals in 5-0 Win over Barcelona in 1953-54
Alfred Di Stephano was scouted by both Barcelona and Real Madrid but it was Madrid who clinched the signing of the Argentine midfielder under controversial circumstances. He would go on to be one of the club's best ever players in its rich history and was the key in ending a long title wait for Real Madrid. In his first El Clasico appearance, he scored four goals in a stupendous win for Real Madrid and instantly established himself as a fan favorite. He was also a key member of the team which achieved qualification for the European Cup where they excelled for many years.
Who Will Win This El Clasico Between Real Madrid and Barcelona?
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It should be an interesting game between the to heavyweights of Spanish football and could potentially be crucial in this season's title race. So, who do you think has the advantage in this iconic contest between two of the world's best teams?
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