Barcelona vs Real Madrid: A history of El Clasico
It is one of the most popular fixtures in world football, and sees the greatest footballing talents in action.
The fixture is fought between the two most popular and richest clubs in the world.
The name of the fixture is El Clasico, and the teams in action are FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Here we talk about the history of this rivalry.
How did the rivalry begin?
Madrid was the geographical and economic capital of Spain, while Barcelona, founded by Joe Gamper, flourished in the Catalan region.
Notably, Real Madrid lost their first home match against Barcelona, and this was not taken sportingly by the Castilian monarch.
The rivalry picked up due to political reasons during the Spanish Civil War, started by Spain's to-be dictator, Francisco Franco.
Further tensions and the killing of Barcelona's President
Franco considered Barcelona a force of the republics and a symbol of Catalan power.
Thus, when he organized the coup which led to the Civil War, then Barcelona President Josep Sunyol was captured and murdered by Franco's forces without giving him a proper trial.
Later, in 1943, Franco's policemen threatened Barcelona during a Copa del Rey semi-final, forcing them to lose 11-1 to Madrid.
Mes que un club: Barcelona fight back
Despite the political and military terror unleashed by Franco with the help of Hitler and Mussolini, Barcelona stood tall and their motto, 'Mes que un club' (more than a club) was developed.
Nou Camp was their fort, and Catalans expressed pride in their club.
In 1944-45, 1947-48, and 1948-49, Barcelona won La Liga despite huge oppression from the Madrid-based government.
Some of the best players who have played this fixture
The world's greatest footballers have graced this epic rivalry.
Legends like Alfredo di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Kaka, Ronaldo (Brazil), Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Carlos, David Beckham, and Iker Casillas have played for Real Madrid.
For Barcelona, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol have played their parts.
The two most glittering icons are surely Messi and Ronaldo.
How Messi and Ronaldo have come to define Clasico's spirit
Until last season, El Clasico gave us a chance to see two of the greatest footballers ever, Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in action.
Messi and Ronaldo have also come to define the spirit of the El Clasico.
While Ronaldo is the expensive star who came and shone with his flamboyance, attitude and style, Messi is the symbol of football making all noise.