As we await the 265th El Clasico on Saturday, 4:15 pm, I would like to share some fun facts with you.
I don’t want to bore you with El Clasico by telling you it is a derby in which a total of 891 goals have been scored since it began in 1929 or tell you that other than the UEFA Champions League Final, it is one of the most viewed annual sporting events, with the two clubs involved among the richest and most successful football clubs in the world.
Or the fact that ‘football’s greatests’ have featured in it – Maradona, Ronaldo (de Lima), Zidane, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Xavi, Eto’o, Henry, Cannavaro, Figo, Beckham, Iniesta, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sir Bobby Robson, Ancelotti, Guardiola, and Mourinho.
Or even the fact that a total of 175 trophies have been won between the rival clubs. Being the world’s two most followed sports teams on social media—on Facebook, as of March 2016, Barcelona has 91 million fans, Real Madrid has 87 million fans.
- In 2005, Ronaldinho became the second Barcelona player to receive a standing ovation from Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu. After dribbling through the Madrid defence twice to score two goals in a 3–0 win, Madrid fans paid homage to his performance with applause. The first Barca player to achieve this was Diego Maradona, third, Andres Iniesta.
- In the 2002 Clasico at Camp Nou, Portuguese winger Luis Figo was mercilessly taunted throughout the game. Missiles of coins, a knife, a whisky bottle, were raining down from the stands. Among the debris was a pig’s head.
- 2011, Barcelona and Real Madrid were scheduled to meet each other four times in 18 days due to the final of the Copa Del Rey and the meeting of the two in the UEFA Champions League.
- The biggest win so far in an El clasico derby is Real’s hammering of Barca in a Copa del Rey match in June 1943. But in recent times, it is when Barcelona welcomed Jose Mourinho back to the Camp Nou in 2010, after hammering his Madrid team 5–0. Let us not forget he was an assistant to his predecessor at Manchester United, Louis Van Gaal, during the dutch man’s time at Barca.
- Lionel Messi is the highest goalscorer in the derby’s history, with a total of 21 goals. He also has the highest number of hat-tricks, 2.
- The Argentine also holds the the record for the highest number of assists, 13.
- Barca’s Xavi is the joint-second player for most appearances in an El Clasico. He and Francisco Gento of Real have both appeared 42 times. Manuel Sanchis of Real Madrid holds the record having played a game more.
- A total of 33 players have played for both clubs in the El Clasico. The most notable are: Ronaldo (de Lima), Samuel Eto’o, Figo, Michael Laudrup, Javier Saviola, Luis Enrique, and Gheorghe Hagi.