Top moments in the El Clasico history

There’s no bigger game in club football than El Clásico. The two biggest clubs of Spain and quite possibly of the world going up against each other. The rivalry has given us some breath-taking goals, famous wins and of course, moments of great controversy. Each El Clásico is a special occasion in football.

The momentous meeting between both the clubs is going on since the inception of the La Liga in 1929. Both clubs have had their years of dominance and decline. With FC Barcelona currently having all the bragging rights. There have been some amazing moments from the meeting between both. You might not be aware of all of them. Even if you are, wouldn’t you like to relive that moment once again and read a perspective?

This article will focus upon six great moments from Real Madrid vs Barcelona in La Liga history. I would like to reflect upon that this article is going to talk about only those El Clásicos, which took place in La Liga. El Clásicos from other competitions or leagues are not being added or talked about here.

So, are you ready to see which are the six great moments that we picked from the matches between both the clubs? Well, I’m sure you are as excited as I’m while writing this piece. Let’s begin!

Following are the top six greatest moments from El Clásico:

6) Barcelona 5 – 0 Real Madrid 

Barcelona after scoring five goals  El Clasico
Barcelona after scoring five goals (Picture credits: Barca Blaugranes)

November 9, 2010; I’m sure that Jose Mourinho remembers this date quite perfectly. On this day, Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 5-0 at Camp Nou. This defeat was also termed as worst defeat in Mourinho’s managerial career.

The Los Blancos defense was broken into pieces by a great performance from Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and Lionel Messi. In addition, David Villa scored a brace and assisted once in the five-goal for the Catalans. 

It was a memorable El Clásico primarily because of the hysteria around it. Messi vs Ronaldo, Mourinho vs Guardiola, the Catalan identity etc. It all made for a great narrative.

In the end, it was FC Barcelona as a whole who won all the plaudits. The complete team gave a sizzling performance, highlighted by Messi’s assertion of being a creative influence along with being a serial goal-scorer. 

The match also showcased the ugly side of El Clásico. Players losing their cool, nasty fouls and brawls were a common feature of this game. The moments that stand out are Sergio Ramos’ filthy foul that had him sent off and the Spanish contingent of both teams being engaged in a heated moment.

In addition, this same Barcelona team also went on to defeat Manchester United in the final of the UEFA Champions League in 2011. Sir Alex Ferguson described this team as the best he ever faced.   

Considering the narrative, the quality and the drama, we have kept this match among the six great moments from El Clásico.     

5) Ronaldinho receiving a standing ovation at Bernabéu     

Ronaldinho scoring a goal against Real Madrid   El Clasico
Ronaldinho scoring a goal against Real Madrid (Picture credits: FC Barcelona)

 One can never forget the outstanding performance of Ronaldinho at Santiago Bernabéu in 2005 El Clásico. On this day, the Brazilian almost ended the career of Sergio Ramos with his astounding performance. The former Barcelona midfielder scored a brace in the 3-0 win against the Los Blancos. 

Before this match, it was just a one-point gap that separated these two giants in the La Liga standings. In the end, Ronaldinho was the one who separated both the clubs and helped the Catalans to the league title that year.

In this match, Ronaldinho’s solo performance was appreciated by every football fan. His control on the ball, pace, and unerring finish won him the title of the greatest footballer in the world. Ronaldinho’s second goal, in particular, was exceptional which made the Real fans get up from their seat in appreciation of the Brazilian. The former Barcelona midfielder outpaced Ramos on the wing and then kicked the ball through the legs of Iker Casillas into the back of the net. This special performance of Ronaldinho is still remembered as the greatest moment from El Clásico.

Oh, and the only other man to elicit a similar response from the Madrid supporters – Diego Armando Maradona.

4) Di Stéfano’s first El Clásico

Alfredo di Stefano  El Clasico
Alfredo di Stefano (Picture credits: Colgados por el Futbol)

This moment enters our list primarily because of the wild manner in which Di Stefano ended up at Los Blancos.

Alfredo di Stéfano’s transfer to Real Madrid is still considered as one of the most controversial transfers in the football history. The Blond Arrow impressed both Real Madrid and Barcelona while playing on loan for Colombian club named Millonarios. The confusion occurred when both Los Blancos and the Catalans came to know that they both have paid them for the same striker but to two different clubs. Barcelona paid 4 million pesetas to River Plate and Real Madrid paid 1.5 million pesetas to the Colombian club.

During all this uncertainty about the transfer, Spanish Football Federation announced that no foreign players transfer will take place in La Liga. Later, the ban was abolished, and La Liga allowed the transfer of Di Stéfano. But the condition of transfer was that the former River plate striker can stay in La Liga only for four years. In addition, the striker would have to play two years for Barcelona and two years for Real Madrid. The Catalans got fed up from the transfer and took back a step. In the end, Di Stéfano got transferred to Real Madrid and Los Blancos paid the Blaugrana four million pesetas before the transfer. 

After two weeks at Real Madrid, the Blond Arrow played in his first El Clásico and scored four goals in 5-0 win over the Catalans. 

3) Messi’s first hat-trick against Real Madrid

Lionel Messi  El Clasico
Lionel Messi (Picture credits: FC Barcelona)

Ruud Van Nistelrooy started the proceedings at Camp Nou in the 2006-2007 season. But it was Lionel Messi who scored the last goal of the game. Despite the presence of Barcelona legends such as Ronaldinho and Xavi in the game. It was the Argentine who grabbed all the headlines after the game.

The score was 3-2 in Madrid’s favor with a brace from Nistelrooy and Messi on the scoreboard. Also, Barcelona was down to 10 men due to a red card handed over to Oleguer Presas early in the game. The Argentinian went on to complete his hat-trick in stoppage time and the game ended at 3-3. The third goal of Messi came from a pass of Ronaldinho right outside the box. The Barcelona forward then went past three defenders before putting it past Iker Casillas.

Messi was 19-year-old during this game and then he went on to thrive at the club. Now, the Argentinian is the highest goal scorer in El Clasico with 17 goals scored in La Liga and 25 goals across all competitions. This game was one of the signs of Messi(ah)’s arrival.

2) Cruyff’s El Clasico debut

Johan Cruyff  El Clasico
Johan Cruyff  (Picture credits: Sportskeeda)

Johan Cruyff joined Barcelona in 1973-1974 season, but bureaucratic tangles didn’t allow him to play for first seven games. When he finally made a debut for the Catalans, they were on 14th place on the table in La Liga. 

Then came the day of El Clasico which itself had lost some of its sheen. Real Madrid was on the 7th position and Barcelona was on 6th position in the table. Santiago Bernabéu at this occasion was 1/3rd full which clearly portrays the picture of El Clasico back then. 

Cruyff came on the pitch and scored his first El Clasico goal and assisted another three in the 5-0 win over Los Blancos. After, this game the Catalans didn’t lose a single game and went on to win the La Liga title. This was their first La Liga title since 1960.

Cruyff is arguably the most influential football player, ever. His first El Clásico, whilst not important then, becomes a turning point considering today’s situation. Cruyff had a wide influence on the Catalan club, both as player and manager. His establishment of La Masia helped Barcelona become, arguably, the most important team of today. And it all began with a 5-0 thrashing of Madrid in their own backyard.

1) Figo’s first visit to Camp Nou in Madrid color

Figo's trip to Barcelona   El Clasico
Figo's trip to Barcelona (Picture credits: SAHAFI-E-DECCAN)

The transfer of Luis Figo from Barcelona to arch-rivals Real Madrid wasn’t the smoothest, all things considered. Figo made his name at Barcelona and was considered as one of the best in the world before his move to the Santiago Bernabéu. The Portuguese midfielder scored 45 goals in 246 appearances for the Catalans across all competitions. In addition, the former Real Madrid midfielder also helped the Camp Nou outfit in winning two consecutive La Liga titles and two Copa del Reys. 

The transfer was done in the following manner: 

Florentino Pérez contacted Figo’s agent, Jose Veiga and both had a deal. The deal was if Perez wins the Real Madrid presidency election then the Portuguese will play for Los Blancos. And if Perez loses the election then Figo will get €1 million. At this time Lorenzo Sanz was the favorite for the presidency position as he won the Champions League for Los Blancos in 1998 and 2000. 

But Perez told Real Madrid board that he has Figo signing in hand and it excited the fans. During presidency election in 2000, Perez turned the tables and won the elections. Figo at this point in the SPORT with Barcelona jersey in hand and the tagline read I’m not leaving Barcelona. There was one more deal involved in this that was – If Perez won the election and Figo didn’t join Los Blancos, then the Portuguese would pay €30 million to Real Madrid. In the end, he was unable to pay Madrid and Perez triggered his release clause of €60 million making him the most expensive player at that time.

Later, when Figo went on to play against Barcelona in 2002 El Clásico. The fans were furious with the transfer saga and took out their anger at the Portuguese. Figo was taking the corner kick and fans started throwing whiskey bottles, food, and worst of all, someone threw a pig’s head. After this Real Madrid players went off the field with the game being stopped for some time. The players were back on the field after the crowd mellowed and the match ended at 0-0.

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