El Clásico: Barcelona vs Real Madrid - Everything you need to know about the world's most anticipated game
Barcelona and Real Madrid will face each other today in the semi final of the Copa del Rey at the Nou Camp. For many years this has been one of the most anticipated ties in world football because it features two of the biggest clubs in the sport. The El Clasico has been one of the fiercest rivalries in world football, regardless of the the form of the teams or the type of competition there are competing for.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are arguably two of the richest and most successful football teams in the world. The two clubs are the most followed in social media and thus they boost a global fan-base that most clubs can only dream of having. Along with Athletic Bilbao, the two are the only clubs to have never been relegated in the history of LaLiga.
I therefore take a look at the statistics that define this historic game in football:
272 El Clasico matches have been played in the history of the two clubs. Real Madrid have more wins in all competitions with 113 wins as compared to Barcelona's 99 wins. The tie has experienced 60 draws.
Real Madrid also have the longest undefeated run in all competitions. The Galacticos went on a run of 14 games (from 31 January 1931 – 3 February 1935) without losing to Barcelona. Barcelona, on the other hand, can boast of the longest run (5 consecutive games) without conceding a goal to Real Madrid, a streak which was in the period between 3 April 1972 – 17 February 1974.
When it comes to trophies won between the two clubs, Barcelona have won the most domestic titles (73) to Real Madrid's 64 domestic trophies. However, the Galacticos have won more LaLiga titles than Barcelona.
Real Madrid have 33 LaLiga titles as compared to Barcelona's 25. Both clubs are massive European royalties although it is Real Madrid who have been the more successful club on the European front. Madrid boast of a record 13 European trophies while the Blaugrana have only managed 5 in their history.
Only 5 players have scored more than 1 hat-trick in the history of the El Clasico. Jaime Lazcano, Santiago Bernabeu, Paulino Alcantara, Lionel Messi and Ferenc Puskas have all scored 2 hat-tricks in El Clásico history.
Lionel Messi currently holds the record for the most goals in the Spanish El Clasico. The Argentine playmaker has scored 26 goals in Clasico history and is followed by Real Madrid legends, Alfredo di Stefano and Cristiano Ronaldo, both of whom have 18 goals. Messi also holds the records for the most assists with 14 assists.
43 is the most appearances from a single player in the El Clasico, a record currently held by former Real Madrid sweeper Manuel Sanchis. Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez and former Real Madrid winger Fransisco Gento were all an appearance away from equaling the record. Leo Messi, Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquets are the only active players to have played in more than 35 El Clasico matches with 40, 39 and 35 games respectively.
32 players have made the switch between the two clubs although only 6 players have done so since the turn of the century. Luis Figo was involved in one of the most controversial transfers in football history when he made the switch to Real Madrid from Barcelona in 2000. Other players who have played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid since the turn of the century are Alfonso Perez, Albert Celades, Samuel Eto'o, Javier Saviola and Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima.
Despite the El Classico being one of the most fiercest rivalries in world football, there are some players who have been lucky enough to be applauded by the opposition fans as a result of their memorable performances. Laurie Cunningham was the first Real Madrid player to be applauded by Barcelona fans at the Nou Camp, following his great performance in a 2-0 win over the Blaugrana in 1980. In 1983, during the 2nd leg of the Copa de la Liga final at the Bernabeau, Diego Armando Maradonna became the 1st Barcelona player to be applauded by the Bernabeu crowd.
The Santiago Bernabeu rose once again to applaud the work of a magician when Ronaldinho dribbled through the Real Madrid defense for the second time to score his second goal in a 3-0 win in November 2005. Andres Iniesta also received a standing ovation from the home crowd when he was substituted in a 4-0 win away at the Bernabeu in 2015.