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Sports rivalries are bigger than sports. Fan’s love for their teams is very well documented. It’s a matter of family heritage, upbringing, political and territorial history, as well as local patriotism.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona

 It’s not just about a win or loss, it’s about loving your team no matter what, and giving yourself to it completely. So, the animosity towards the team’s biggest rival is also understandable. Being the champion, for example, is a complete satisfaction only when your team has beaten the rival in the process. The loss, on the other hand, even though your team has won the championship, greatly impairs the joy.

football fan

Football fans

One of the greatest rivalries in today’s sport is the one from the title “El Clasico”. It is such a big rivalry that it even threatens to make problems in Spanish national team. Their matches are actually called El Clasico. Both teams are superior to all the others in the league. In the past 28 years only three other clubs have won the championship and just one of them twice. Throughout history the periods of domination of the two teams were interchanging and FC Barcelona has been in front in the new millennium. Their improved version of Dutch football system has been dominant, and even the biggest European teams have been trembling when confronted to FC Barcelona. It has simply become normal for them to win, whoever they are playing against. At this moment, they are the best in the world. And most loved. On the other hand, Real Madrid won their last game snatching the Spanish Super Cup.  It is this kind of uncertainty that makes their matches even more interesting and their match in Champions League in 2002 was watched by 500 million people. But it’s not just the titles chase that makes these teams interesting. They are hugely different.

Real has always been the club of the establishment. In 1936, Franco’s troops even captured and executed the president of FC Barcelona, Josep Sunyol, because he was Franco’s political opponent. On the other hand, the city of Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia which has its own language and strong ethnic identity which Franco tried to destroy. Catalonia has always been the opposition to Madrid even in the eyes of the people who live in neither of these, so the rivalry between their two biggest clubs reflects this political, if not even national, animosity.

Another reason fueled the rivalry. Argentinean player Alfredo Di Stefano thrilled both teams while playing in Colombia during a players’ strike in Argentina back in the 1950s. They both wanted to sign him, and both did, due to confusion which had come from his move from his Argentinean club River Plate to Columbia’s Millonarios. FIFA intervened and ruled that he should play for both teams, but in alternate seasons. However, the president of FC Barcelona at the time was imposed by Franco and he backed out of the deal leaving him to Real Madrid. What big a deal this was became clear in the subsequent years, since Di Stefano was that good that he became the club’s legend.

Brazil 1970

Many players after him moved from one club to the other, but the move of Barcelona star Luis Figo generated most heat since he was much adored by the fans. When he returned to Barcelona’s stadium for a match the fans threw many things his way including a pig’s head.

Their policies are also different. While Barcelona has home-grown most of their first team stars, Real keeps spending vast amounts of money buying players and simply torturing smaller clubs which cannot say no to their huge money offers. Very few players from their first team are from the club’s youth squad, while even Barcelona’s last two managers come from the club.

And finally, their two leading players at the moment are another reason for feud. They are by far the best two players in the world at the moment and, while they both try to calm things down by stating their mutual respect, the media and the fans keep adding fuel to the fire.

Messi

Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s Portuguese star, is one of the best players in the history of the sport. Very physically fit, with amazing technique, and wide variety of mind-blowing dribblings he is simply a nightmare for any defender in the world. He also likes being in the media spotlight and manages so with his fashion styles, haircuts and famous girlfriends, and even rumours that he is gay. His only problem is that he is playing in the era of Messi, quiet, petite Argentinean wondermaker, whose skills are indisputable. Rarely can you see him performing well-rehearsed dibblings, but no one can take the ball away from him. He is rarely in the media spotlight if it is not for football reasons. He has been in a very long relationship with his childhood girlfriend, and he is not very fashion oriented. The numbers and best-player titles speak for him, and some people are already talking about the change in the lists of best players ever.

Whichever club you prefer, all football lovers are sure to enjoy their future encounters.


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