Inside:-El Classico

El Clásico. No two words can grasp the sports world’s 

The rivalry between the the two most successful clubs in football started with an oft-ignored political backstory and contrasts in how both clubs were made. FC Barcelona was founded by Joan Gamper along with several foreign-born players in 1899,  as Madrid had its club founded with Spaniards at the helm in 1902. Madrid had been long considered as the political and social center of Spain. Regional rivalries would be generated due to the nation’s focus on Madrid, which geographically was also in the center of Spain.

FC Barcelona was considered to be the symbol of the Catalan people by the centralist government in the 1930s. Military general Francisco Franco, disenchanted with the changing political climate in Spain with the fall of the monarchy, staged a Coup d’état in 1936, leading to a bloody Civil War victory for his Nationalist side in 1939. One of the earliest casualties was of then-FC Barcelona president Josep Sunyol, who was executed without trial by Francoist forces.
The most one-sided result came in 1943, during World War II. In the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, renamed as the Copa del Generalisimo in honor of Franco’s regime, Real humiliated Barcelona in the second leg 11-1 after Barcelona won the first leg 3-0. The director of Franco’s state security payed the club a visited them prior to the match in Madrid, and reminded the club they were playing for “the generosity of the regime.” The result came as a show of the extent of strength Franco had over Spain. Barcelona FC was forced to change their name to CF Barcelona, and got rid of the Catalan flag on their badge.

Over the years, the contrasts on how the two teams operated became apparent, yet very effective. As Real Madrid had a very business-based approach, affording to lure and buy players to play for them, FC Barcelona nurtured and developed their players through their system. When Dutch superstar Johan Cruyff joined Barcelona from Ajax for a then-world record $2 million, he would help win Barcelona’s first La Liga title since 1960, including an emphatic 5-0 road victory at Madrid. A product of the “total football” style of play in his native Netherlands, Cruyff help meld a playing style that Barcelona would be known for even today.
Real Madrid formed a strong unit at the turn of the 21st Century. “Los Galácticos” was the nickname for a star-studded Real Madrid side that dominated La Liga from 2000 through 2006. Players like David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Raul, and Fabio Cannavaro suited up alongside Figo and Ronaldo. Despite the talent, they failed to win a major title from 2003 to 2006.
Barcelona combated with stars of their own. Deco, Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Rafa Marquez would work in tandem with homegrown players Victor Valdez, Carlos Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Most recently, the Pep Guardiola era at Barcelona gave witness to one of the best Barca sides in modern football, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta operating the tiki-taka style of play. Real Madrid has gone back to their Galacticos method of buying superstars, with the past couple of years obtaining players such as Welsh winger Gareth Bale, and most recently, James Rodriguez to boost a side led by Cristiano Ronaldo..


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