Five Extraordinary… El Clásicos
This weekend brings the fixture any fan of European football one day dreams of seeing in the flesh, El Clásico, as the two giants of Spanish football, Barcelona and Real Madrid, go head-to-head.
This game tends to serve up goals, controversy and storylines aplenty – here are five of the best recent Barca vs Real clashes.
Real Madrid 4-2 Barcelona, La Liga, April 2005
First, a look back to a game just pre-dating the Messi-Ronaldo era that would come to dominate this fixture.
Back in 2005, Real were firmly pushing ahead with their Galacticos strategy to blitz all before them, and though that tactic never fully bore fruit for Madrid, this result was certainly one of the high points of that era. It was also memorable for the English duo of David Beckham and Michael Owen, who both played a starring role in eventually firing Madrid to victory, with Becks setting up two of the goals. A Ronaldinho effort late on kept the home side on their toes, but it would prove to be Madrid’s day.
Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid, La Liga, March 2007
A Clásico you simply couldn’t take your eyes off – with four goals in the first half hour of the game. Lionel Messi would open his account in this most famous of games, and wouldn’t stop there – notching a hat-trick to deny Madrid a stunning away victory. Two early goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy and an effort from Sergio Ramos looked like sealing all three points for Madrid, but a then 19-year-old wonderkid had other ideas.
Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona, La Liga, May 2009
Not the usual scrappy, tight affair that you come to expect from most derby days. Barcelona humiliated their bitter rivals at the Bernabéu with an emphatic victory that moved them seven points clear in that year’s title race. This was a Barcelona at the peak of their Guardiola-inspired powers, and Messi was once again the key difference between the two sides as Real’s flagging title hopes were finally extinguished in one of the most one-sided Clasicos in recent seasons.
Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona, Champions League, April 2011
Perhaps the highest stakes Clásico of the last decade, Real and Barca met in the semi-final first leg of that season’s Champions League knowing a decisive first-leg victory over their rival would not only seal derby day bragging rights, but also one foot in the Champions League final. On a technical level, this won’t go down as one of the legendary El Clásicos, but in terms of significance few can rival it. A scrappy game was salvaged by two late goals from a majestic Messi, setting Barca on the path to eventual European glory over Manchester United at Wembley.
Real Madrid 3-4 Barcelona, La Liga, 2014
Surely one of the most entertaining Clásicos of all time, this blockbuster of a game had everything the perfect derby day needs. First up, a hat-trick – and from who else but Lionel Messi, who once again terrorised the Madrid defence. Secondly, a red card, and again from who else but a man never far from controversy in Sergio Ramos. Thirdly, a stellar cast lists of football icons all bringing their ‘A’ game, with Ronaldo, Benzema and Iniesta all adding to the scoresheet. And finally, an end result that was always in doubt until the final whistle with a lead that changed hands four times during the game. A modern-day epic.
All image sources from PA Images
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