El Clasico History – The Birth of Real Madrid Vs Barcelona Rivalry
If you are fan of any of these two clubs, then you don’t need any introduction about this most popular rivalry of football. But do you know the real story of El Clasico? Today, almost every football fan knows about this rivalry and why not as it is featured with two top football clubs of Spain and one of the best football clubs of the world. In the beginning, the word “El Clasico” was used only in football games of Spanish competitions, but now this name is being used in all championships.
These two cities are the biggest cities of Spain. In 1930s, Barcelona had developed a reputation as a “symbol of Catalan identity” which is someway opposite to the centralizing tendencies of Madrid city. You can say these cities are in same country but with different identity.
According to book of Donald McNeill, Francisco Franco started the Coup d’etat against the democratic second Spanish Republic, the president of Barcelona, Josep Sunyol, member of the Republican Left of Catalonia and Deputy to The Cortes, was arrested and executed without trial by Franco’s troops.
During the dictatorship of Franco, most citizens of Barcelona were in strong opposition to the fascist-like regime. Phil Ball, the author of Morbo: The story of Spanish Football, says about the match: “They hate each other with an intensity that can truly shock the outsider“.
Birth of Barcelona’s motto mes que un club: All regional identities and languages in Spain were restrained under the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera and Francisco Franco. This was the period when Barcelona got their motto which is still called as “mes que un club“. Under the dictatorship of Franco, Barcelona was benefited because of its good relationships with the dictator, even giving two awards to him.
For most of the Catalans, Real Madrid was regarded as “the establishment club“, despite the fact presidents of both clubs like Josep Sunyol and Rafael Sanchez Guerra, suffered at the hands of Franco’s supporters in the Spanish Civil War.
Real Madrid’s 11-1 win over Barca is the biggest win in the history of El Clasico. It was 13th of June 1943 when the Madrid side registered huge win against the Catalan side by 11-1 in second leg semi final game of Copa del Generalisimo [now known as Copa del Rey].
It is believed that the players of football club Barcelona were intimidated by the police, including by the director of state security who “allegedly told the team that some of them were only playing because of the regime’s generosity in permitting them to remain in the country.”
It is also stated that before the start of game, Spain’s director of State Security allegedly entered the Barcelona dressing room and, gun in hand, warned them about the consequences of completing victor in tie and upsetting the home crowd.[source]
At the end of first half, all Barca players and coach Juan Jose Mogues were angry with Real Madrid’s style of play and aggressiveness of Madridistas. When they refused to take the field, the Superior Chief of Police of Madrid appeared, identified himself and ordered the team to take the field.[source]
One player for which the rivalry between two clubs reached new level was Alfredo Di Stefano. Both clubs were too desperate to sign him. Di Stefano was not in favour of any club, he just wanted to play for any of these clubs. At that time, he was playing for Club Deportivo Los Millonarios in Bogota, Colombia.
Both clubs showed great interest in signing him, but the deal was not going well. Munoz Calero, the representative of football governing body, FIFA came forward and satisfied both clubs with alternate season with Real Madrid and Barcelona. The president of Barcelona was humiliated to cancel the alternate contract of Di Stefano for which he was forced to resign.[source]
In the very first game against Barcelona, Di Stefano scored two goals for Real Madrid. The Madrid side won five of their Champions Cup [now known as UEFA Champions League] with Alfredo Di Stefano. His name is listed in the list of Real Madrid Legends.
Match of the century: Barcelona and Real Madrid met each other in the semi final round of UEFA Champions League 2001-02. Los Blancos won the first leg by 2-0 at the home ground of Barca. The second leg ended with 1-1 draw which means the vikings qualified for the final. That game was called as the “Match of the Century” by Spanish media.
Applause to Alfredo Di Stefano: We all knows that El Clasico is one of the best rivalries. Fans have witnessed some bitter moments during the game, but they also witnessed humanity in clash of these two rival clubs. Barcelona fans first applauded former Real Madrid’s Laurie Cunningham for his incredible performance at Camp Nou in 1980. It was 2-0 win of Real Madrid. Barca fans gave a standing ovation to Cunningham.
Applause to Diego Maradona: Former Argentina’s captain Diego Maradona who used to play for Barcelona also received applause from Madridistas. He was running towards an empty goal before stopping just as the Madrid defender came sliding in an attempt to block the shot and crashed into the post, before Maradona slotted the ball into the net; Madrid fans were stunned at the manner of the goal and began applauding.
Applause to Alfredo Di Stefano: Don’t forget about Ronaldinho who is the second Barcelona player to huge applause by Real Madrid fans. It was November 2015, when Ronaldinho dominated Real Madrid, scoring two goals, dribbling so many players at Santiago Bernabeu. It was believed that Madridistas were not happy with the performances of their players. But they showed huge respect to the Brazilian legend.