FanPost

Barcelona vs Real Madrid: A Deeper Look at El Clásico's History

On Monday, November 29th, the 209th El Clasico in history will be played. It is the biggest match in Spain and. along with the Champions League final, the most watched game in Europe. Furthermore, it is one of the most watched events in the world.

First, let's take a look at the history behind the rivalry.

Early years

Anytime you have a game between the two biggest cities in the country it is going to be an emotional game. Barcelona and Real Madrid hit it off immediately and it grew into one of the biggest rivalries in the world.

During Miguel Primo de Rivera and Francisco Franco years of dictatorship the rivalry evolved on a political level. Barca was viewed as a representative of Catalonia and Real of the Spanish centralized state. It became known as the battle between the country and the state.

Most of the Catalans were openly opposed the fascist regime and every move Franco made angered them even more. His security police even killed Barcelona president Josep Sunyol.

Franco also banned all peripheral languages and suppressed all regional identities and to help Catalonia FC Barcelona gained their motto 'més que un club' (more than a club) and became one of its greatest ambassadors.

Transfer disputes

The first time both teams targeted the same star player was in 1953 and the player was Alfredo di Stéfano. It appeared he was going to sign with Barcelona but was convinced otherwise by Santiago Bernabéu. That appeared to add fuel to the already burning fire.

Such arguments over players would continue. The next one was Johan Cruyff who admitted he didn't want to play for a club associated with Francisco Franco. Cruyff would a key component in Barcelona's winning years, as a player and coach.

Real Madrid returned the favour by stealing David Beckham under Barca's noses. Whether Real wanted him from the beginning is unclear but in the end it looked like they just didn't want Barca to get him.

Direct transfers between the teams have also been rare; 16 players went from Barcelona to Madrid and the majority of the transfers occurred before the dictatorship years. In the year 2000, Luis Figo was shipped to Real by a then world record transfer of £37 million. In the other direction only three (direct) switches have been made. The last player to do so was Luis Enrique.

Overall, only 33 players have played for both teams since 1902, the year when the last of the two clubs was founded.

Statistical look at the rivalry

If you like stats as much as I do, then you are going to like this section.

El Clasico has been played 208 times, with Real Madrid winning 85 times. Barcelona was victorious in 81 of them and the match ended as a tie 42 times.

In the 79-year La Liga history, 180 matches have been played, two in every season except in the 1986-87 season when there were four of them because of a different league format.

Let's take a look at how important it is to win the Barcelona – Real Madrid season series to end the year on a high note.

The team that accumulates more points in head-to-head matches in a season is awarded the series victory and right now the series table looks like this:

Barcelona wins

22

Real Madrid wins

25

Split series

32

Now if we look a little closer we see the following:

When Barcelona wins series:

Barcelona

Real Madrid

Higher finish

16

6

Title finish

10

4

*higher finish: team that ends the year ahead of the other

When Real Madrid wins series:

Barcelona

Real Madrid

Higher finish

3

22

Title finish

0

15

When the series is evenly split:

Barcelona

Real Madrid

Higher finish

18

14

Title finish

10

12

Looking at these three tables the first thing that becomes apparent is how crucial it is to win the El Clasico. The team that wins the series won the title 53,2% of the time and the team that loses won the La Liga only 8,5% of the time. By the way, that leaves only 38,3% for all the other teams to win the title.

However when the teams earn an equal amount of points the numbers are a little different. First of all, the chances for the rest of the Spanish Primera Division actually drop to 31,2%. While Real Madrid has won more silverware when this happens, Barca finished closer to the top of the table more often.

Top scorers

For a team to win games (and series), goals have to be scored, and here are the ones who scored the most all-time between the two giants:

Rank

Player

Team

Goals

1

Alfredo di Stéfano

Real Madrid

14

2

César

FC Barcelona

12

3

Raúl

Real Madrid

11

4

Francisco Gento

Real Madrid

10

5

Ferenc Puskás

Real Madrid

9

5

Santillana

Real Madrid

9

Now this is a list that features only goal-scorers that are still with their respective teams.

Rank

Player

Team

Goals

1

Lionel Messi

FC Barcelona

7

2

Sergio Ramos

Real Madrid

2

3

Xavi

FC Barcelona

2

4

Four tied

1

As you can see in the active players list, Real Madrid aren't dominating the goal-scoring department as they were through the history of the rivalry.

I think that is enough stats for one day, so let's get back to basics. On Monday the world will stop for two hours as a new chapter in El Clasico history is going to be written. Millions will be watching the two offensive juggernauts battle it out on the field. Hopefully, Barcelona will collect their 82nd Clásico victory!

<em>This does not represent the views of Barca Blaugranes or SBNation</em>