There is no doubt that Football has a massive global reach. It tops the list of most popular sports in the world as millions of people are interested in playing and watching this exciting game. That is why when two great rivals face off, soccer’s fans get really excited. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF are the two richest teams in the world and their fierce rivalry is globally known, followed, and enjoyed.
El Clásico, as everybody knows, is the name given to any match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF. It is a derby that paralyzes the world. But why does all the world loves El Clásico? To start with, you have the two biggest teams fighting for Spanish, European, and World soccer supremacy.
These two titans are the football clubs with the highest fans across the globe so around 650 million viewers from 180 countries tune in to watch this match. The greatest rivalry in Spanish football is starred by these two teams so the points they are battling for have a decisive effect on who is going to be league winners at the end of the season.
The number of Clásicos the ‘blancos’ and the ‘blaugranas’ have won is quite balanced, but this last victory of Zinedine Zidane’s team has tipped the balance in favor of the Real Madrid, who have 97 victories for the 96 of the ‘culés’. Besides, 52 ties are recorded.
Another reason to watch El Clásico is the quality of the players. These two teams have been home for some of the best soccer players of all time. Di Stefano, Maradona, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Michael Laudrup, Puskas, Zidane or Cristiano Ronaldo… They all left their mark on these fixtures. Nowadays, what sports fan wouldn’t want to see Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, Ansu Fati and Vinicius go head to head?
Besides, for years El Clásico has allowed us to attend, at least twice per year, the biggest individual rivalry in the history of football: Cristiano Ronaldo vs Messi. Of course, nobody wanted to miss out on this huge event. This last Saturday Real Madrid spoiled what could be Messi’s final El Clásico at Camp Nou due to the uncertainty about his future in the ‘blaugrana’ team.
Even though Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer playing for Real Madrid and doubts about Messi’s presence at Barcelona, La Liga’s popularity, both Real Madrid and Barcelona’s fanbases and their big signings ensure they will both enjoy continued success and a worldwide appeal.
El Clásico: A history of rivalry
To understand why Real Madrid and Barcelona are historical rivals there are some antecedents you must know. Normally, a derby is between two local or regional teams. However, this sporting rivalry reflects their rivalry in other areas: the industrial city par excellence, as is Barcelona, and the financial, administrative, and powerful city, as is Madrid.
It all started at the beginning of the twenties when Barcelona complained about the favoritism of the referees. After the Civil War, they laid a real trap for Barcelona with the intervention of the government, and the result was the most lopsided defeat in their history. Ten years later, after problems which led to the signing of Alfredo Di Stefano, the rivalry intensified, because Real Madrid became the favourite team of the Franco dictatorship and the ambassador of Spain in Europe.
The regime’s support of Real Madrid stirred resentment among Barcelona players towards their rival from the capital. As of that moment, Real Madrid became the sports symbol of centralism and Barcelona of nationalism. The political views that both teams represent make reconciliation practically impossible.