In Spain football and politics has always been intertwined, the country happens to be home to two of the top teams in the world. Barcelona is the premier symbol of Catalan identity and pride while Real Madrid is seen to represent the Spanish crown and their rule over Catalonia.
Their fierce rivalry is over a century old, whenever they face off it represents the symbolic struggle between the region and state. This game between both teams is referred to as “El Clasico” and in total over 250 games have taken place. The fixture is famous for its intensity and has become a global sporting event with millions of fans outside Spain tuning in to watch the match.
Here are five interesting facts about El Clasico.
1. It is the Largest Football Rivalry
From Italy to the UK, European football is full of intense rivalries. However, the one between Barcelona and Real Madrid is considered the largest one, at least in terms of viewership. Matches routinely attract over a hundred million spectators worldwide.
The rivalry has often been fueled by events happening off the pitch, including a history of high-profile transfer “wars” where both clubs compete to sign the same player or a player from one club transfers to their historical rivals.
2. Only One Player Has Scored in El Clasico for Both Clubs
Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) is the only player to score for both teams in the derby game.
Ronaldo represented Blaugrana during the season 1996-1997, scoring a goal in Barca’s 3-2 triumph during a ’97 Copa Del Rey game against Madrid. He also scored the only goal in the La Liga between the teams in May of the same year.
As a player for Real, where he spent five years between 2002-2007, Ronaldo scored against the Catalan club during two ’03 La Liga games, and during La Liga matches in ’05 and ’06.
3. Barcelona on Top in Head-to-Heads
In football, we often talk about “moral” winners when a losing team played a more attractive playing style. In the end, however, what remains in the history books is numbers, so it’s a given that we judge a team’s performance by its victories. In this regard, Barcelona leads Real Madrid with the 16 wins more than Los Blancos (115 vs. 99).
One caveat, though, is that this accounts for all El Clasicos, including friendly games. When it comes to competitive games, so far Barca leads with one triumph—96 vs. 95.
4. Real Madrid the Kings of Europe
Barca might be leading in terms of total wins, but Los Blancos have a significant lead in the Champions League tournament.
Real M has claimed 13 trophies, while Barcelona has 5. This includes the triumphs pre-season 92/93 when the tournament was called the European Cup.
If we look at wins after the tournament was renamed, the trophies are 7-4 in favour of the Madrid club.
However, while Real leads Barcelona with three Champions League trophies, the Catalan team might turn things around, with betting odds comparison website Oddschecker showing that several bookmakers point Barca as the second team most likely to win next year’s tournament.
5. Ballon d’Or Awards – All Square
The rivalry between the two teams is so fierce that ties are rarely happening.
When it comes to games, out of 275 played so far, Blaugrana and Los Blancos only 61 games have ended in a draw.
However, on the Ballon d’Or front currently of them has come out on top – the teams’ stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both have 5 Golden Balls.
The last one of them to win was Ronaldo in 2017 when Messi finished in second place. The Argentinian’s last such award was in 2015 when Cristiano finished second.
What’s even more interesting is that on a club level there’s also a tie. Representatives of both clubs have won an equal amount of times – 11.