It’s quite possibly the biggest soccer game in the entire world: ‘El Clasico!’ Bitter rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona will once again clash on Dec. 3. Before it all goes down, learn all about the rivalry surrounding this soccer match!
1. The match is almost 100 years old.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of the most successful and richest soccer teams in the world, with more than a billion people expected to watch their game on Dec. 3, per SB Nation. This rivalry is almost a century old, as the first ever El Clasico was played on Feb. 17, 1929. Real Madrid would walk away with the first win, going 2-1 over Barcelona.
2. The match is about more than soccer.
While sports fans can be ride or die for their team, this match between Real Madrid and Barcelona is also fiercely tied deeply to the opposing political viewpoints associated with the two cities. Real Madrid represents the nation’s capital and the idea of Spanish nationalism, while Barcelona has stood, politically, for Catalan Nationalism.
The Catalans are an ethnic group that originate from Catalonia, a group that has unsuccessfully attempted to establish a federal state in Spain. Barcelona’s uniform, with its yellow and red stripes, pays homage to the Catalans and their culture.
3. Real Madrid holds a slight lead over their rivals.
It’s amazing at how evenly matched these two sides have been. Going into this Dec. 3 match, there have been 231 El Clasicos. Real has won 93 of them, with Barcelona trailing behind slightly with 90 victories.
4. Lionel Messi has the edge on his rival Ronaldo
However, when it comes to scoring goals in El Clasico, Lionel Messi, 29, is way ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, 31. Messi has netted the ball 21 times, while Ronaldo has only racked up 16 points.
5. Yes, fans get really into this rivalry. Just ask Luis Figo.
One of the most heated moments in El Clasico history came at the hands of Luis Figo, 44. In 2000, Real Madrid’s then-presidential candidate, Florentino Perez, 69, made a deal with then-Barcelona player Figo: Florentino would give him $2.4 million to sign an agreement that he’d switch sides if Perez won. If Figo broke the deal, he’d have to pay Florentino $6 million. Florentino wasn’t expected to win the Real Madrid election, with then-president Lorenzo Sanz, 73, considered a shoo-in. Figo (and his agents) signed it, thinking it was an easy payday.
Whoops. Florentino won in a landslide and Barcelona had a tough decision: pay the $30 million transfer fee too keep their own player or see Figo in Los Blancos white kit. They couldn’t pony up the cash and Figo joined Barca’s enemies.
When he returned for El Clasico on Oct. 21, 2000, he was pelted with cell phones, coins and more as 98,000 fans jeered him. Barcelona won the match, 2-0. Will the fans be just as wild for this match? There’s only one way to find out. It’s set for 10:15 AM ET on Dec. 3.
Who do you want to win this match, HollywoodLifers? Real Madrid or Barcelona?