Things between Barcelona and Real Madrid have never been chummy. The two most dominant forces in Spanish football have always been at loggerheads. But relations between both clubs reached a flash point during the 2010-11 season.
Last season saw an unprecedented number of Clasicos between the two clubs, with four matches being squeezed into a period of just 18 days. Each match was rife with controversy and gamesmanship. This gamesmanship translated into a war of words, which escalated tensions to a level that prompted Barcelona president Sandro Rosell to say that there might be blood on the streets if such violence continued.
Two more Clasicos followed in the Spanish Super Cup, and they were not free of their share of controversy, either.
Here's a look back at all the insanity and madness that plagued the Clasicos of 2011.
Many Real Madrid fans stick to their story that if Pepe had been on the pitch, Lionel Messi would not have scored the two goals that he did.
While there is no way to ascertain this, the fact remains that Pepe's red card attracted a sizable amount of media frenzy. Barcelona and Madrid media mouthpieces began to throw in their versions of the story to prove why Pepe's sending-off was justified, and vice versa.
Real Madrid-biased papers AS and Marca claimed that there was no contact between Pepe and Dani Alves, and released video footage to "prove" the same. Barcelona mouthpieces Sport and El Mundo Deportivo claimed that the video frames containing the contact had been removed.
Whatever the truth may be, the propaganda train from both clubs refused to halt after this highly controversial incident, which really kicked off the tensions between the two clubs.
Jose Mourinho divides opinions like no one else alive—except maybe Lady Gaga. He did it (yet) again right after the same Champions League match in which Pepe was sent off for his tackle on Dani Alves.
Mourninho burst into a spectacular rant during the post-match press conference. He managed not only to discredit Barcelona's win from just moments earlier, but he also cast aspersions on every single Barcelona achievement dating back to when Guardiola first took charge.
"¿Por Qué?" is Spanish for "Why?" Mourinho took it upon himself to ask why exactly Barcelona managed to beat Chelsea two seasons ago, why Pepe got a red card and also why Barcelona wear the UNICEF logo on their shirts.
It was a torrent of bitterness unlike any seen before in a press conference, and Mourinho found himself on the wrong side of a two-match ban for Champions League matches.
After this "incident," Mourinho has maintained a stony silence in pre- and post-Clasico press conferences. He has also skipped the press conference ahead of the game at the Bernabeu on Saturday, December 10.
After the Champions League first leg, Real Madrid posted a video of Sergio Busquets allegedly calling Marcelo a monkey (mono mono in Spanish).
The video footage of the incident showed Busquets covering his mouth and saying the alleged words in a way that only Marcelo (and the camera) could see.
The case was then heard by the UEFA appeals court, where Busquets claimed that he had actually said "mucho morro," which translates to "what nerve."
However, the question lingers as to why Busquets had to cover his mouth in the first place.
Minutes before the final whistle of the Spanish Super Cup, Marcelo's frustration boiled over, and he decided to scythe down Cesc Fabregas right in front of both technical areas.
It was an absolutely atrocious challenge that led to a full-blown touchline riot. Players and technical staff from both teams came to blows as Fabregas lay writhing in pain. Unconfirmed reports say that Jose Mourinho tried to kick a prone Fabregas on the head.
Marcelo deservedly got a straight red for it, and Fabregas stood up a few minutes later to enjoy his first trophy with his new teammates.
During the touchline brawl that ensued right after Marcelo's horror tackle, Jose Mourinho did something absolutely unbelievable and juvenile.
He sneaked up behind Barcelona's assistant manager Tito Vilanova and poked him hard in the eye. Vilanova reacted in shock and turned and slapped Mourinho on his back as he walked away with a smug grin on his face.
Later, at the press conference, Mourinho made the stunning claim that he had no idea whom he was poking. When told that it was Tito Vilanova, he said:
Pito Vilanova? I don’t know who this Pito is.
"Pito" is a rather rude curse word whose meaning I would not want to disclose here. Mourinho's words and actions, however, smack of a complete lack of decency and respect. Indeed, Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola reacted in shock and said that he was certainly aware of Aitor Karanka, who is Real Madrid's assistant coach.