Following Tuesday’s Copa del Rey defeat, Culés across the globe are a little shaken. For the first time since the Rijkaard era, Barcelona were on the receiving end of a comprehensive defeat against their arch-rivals as Real Madrid put on a master-class to run out 3-1 winners at the Camp Nou. While Jordi Alba’s consolation at least restored some pride to the score-line, it didn’t exactly fill Barcelona fans with joy – after all, it was only a consolation. However, in recent years we have not only been privileged to witness a number of excellent Blaugrana performances in the Clasico, but we’ve also been treated to a number of sublime goals. There’ll be plenty of time for us to take a serious look at tomorrow’s match, but before we do, I’d like to pose a question: just who scored the best goal in El Clasico? Naturally, there’s not video evidence of each and every goal scored in this historic fixture, but what about if we narrow it down to a specific time-frame; let’s say, the decade so far?
In no particular order, here are the contenders:
Dani Alves: 2011/12 Copa del Rey, Quarter-Final, Second-Leg
This goal has it all. Not content with securing Barcelona’s place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, Alves made sure he did it in style, thumping home a sensational volley to leave Real captain and veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas speechless. In fact, the goal was so good, it made Carles Puyol fall over and prompted a spontaneous dance from Eric Abidal. Doesn’t get much better than that folks.
Eric Abidal: 2011/12 Copa del Rey, Quarter-Final, First-Leg
In a career spanning over ten years and in excess of 450 competitive matches, Eric Abidal has only scored on four occasions; so what are the odds that one of those goals would win a Clasico? The Frenchman might be a left-back by trade, but that didn’t stop him from springing the Real Madrid offside trap with a perfectly-timed run and Abi kept his composure to finish with aplomb, thus securing a valuable victory at the Bernabeu.
Lionel Messi: 2010/11 UEFA Champions League, Semi-Final, First-Leg
With Jose Mourinho watching on from the stands, Barcelona looked to be coasting to a 1-0 win in the first-leg of an El Clasico UEFA Champions League semi-final. Then Lionel Messi decided to score again. There’s no other way to describe it really: Messi played a one-two with Busquets and just decided to go into super-human mode. No-one was going to stop him; not Lassana Diarra, not Raul Albiol, not anyone – and before we knew it, the ball was nestling in the back of the net.
David Villa: 2011/12 Supercopa de España, First-Leg
David Villa doesn’t like losing, or at least that’s the only explanation I can come up with for a goal like this. Thanks to Mesut Ozil’s opener, Barcelona were heading for a "surprise" defeat at the Bernabeu, until David Villa dragged them back into the game with a picture-perfect curler from the edge of the area. No wonder most Culés want El Guaje to start tomorrow.
Lionel Messi: 2012/13 La Liga, Jornada 7
Given that he’s on course to become the all-time top scorer in El Clasico history it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see Messi in this list twice. So far this season he has four goals against Los Blancos, including this gem of a free-kick scored back in October when the two sides battled to a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou. I could have equally chosen the Supercopa free-kick, but this one just shades it on importance alone.