MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid meet Barcelona for the 229th time on Saturday in one of the most anticipated El Clasicos in recent times as former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez prepares to make his Barca debut.
The Uruguayan striker has a knack for scoring on his debut –after just 11 minutes for Liverpool, after 42 minutes for Ajax, and after 36 minutes for Groningen – and will not find a better match to find the net than against Barca’s bitter rivals.
Here is a look at seven famous matches from the historic rivalry between Spain’s two biggest clubs:
1) Real Madrid 11 Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey, 1943)
Barcelona took a 3-0 lead from the first leg into the Copa del Generalisimo, which is now known at the Copa del Rey. But before the second leg semi-final kicked off in Madrid, the Barca team received a strange note which read: “Do not forget that some of you are only playing because of the generosity of the regime that has forgiven you for your lack of patriotism.”
It will be hard to argue against the theory that the message influenced the resulting scoreline as Real were 8-0 up at the interval. As Fernando Argila, Barcelona’s reserve goalkeeper from the game, said cryptically: “There was no rivalry. Not, at least, until that game.”
2) Real Madrid 5 Barcelona 0 (La Liga, Oct 25, 1953)
After competing with Real to sign Alfredo di Stefano, Barcelona needed only 10 minutes to regret not signing the Argentinian striker. He scored the first and last goals in a 5-0 rout and would go on to score 12 more times in Clasico league games, putting his tally of 14 on a par with Lionel Messi.
3) Real Madrid 5 Barcelona 0 (La Liga, Jan 7, 1995)
Just a year after guiding Barca to a 5-0 win over Real, Danish midfielder Michael Laudrup sealed his controversial switch to Los Blancos by sealing revenge for his new side by the same scoreline thanks to an Ivan Zamorano hat-trick and further goals from future Barca favourite Luis Enrique and Jose Emilio Amavisca.
4) Barcelona 3 Real Madrid 3 (La Liga, March 10, 2007)
Lionel Messi announced his arrival on the Clasico stage by scoring a hat-trick as 10-man Barca came from behind three times to snatch a dramatic draw. The Argentine’s brilliance could not spark a revival in the title race, however, as Madrid went onto win the league, finishing 18 points ahead of third-placed Barca.
5) Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 6 (La Liga, May 2, 2009)
Pep Guardiola’s first game in charge of Barcelona at the Bernabeu was also billed as a title decider as Madrid came into the game just four points behind Barca’s eventual treble winners and on a run of 17 wins and a draw in 18 league games. They even scored first through Gonzalo Higuain, but Barca responded emphatically as goals from Catalan born centre-backs Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique added to doubles from Thierry Henry and Messi.
6) Barcelona 5 Real Madrid 0 (La Liga, Nov 29, 2010)
Barca’s best performance of the Guardiola era destroyed Jose Mourinho’s Madrid to move top of the table and they never ceded that advantage on their way to a third consecutive title. Messi was once again the driving force, although he didn’t get on the scoresheet, as he provided two glorious assists for David Villa after Xavi and Pedro Rodriguez had put Barca in control before Jeffren Suarez rounded off a famous night for the Blaugrana.
7) Real Madrid 3 Barcelona 4 (La Liga, March 23, 2014)
Billed as a potentially decisive match in the Liga title race, the game swung back and forth as Andres Iniesta gave Barca an early lead before a Karim Benzema double put Real in front. Messi brought Barca level before half-time only for Madrid to retake the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty. However, Messi was to have the final say as he completed a hat-trick with two more penalties to become the top goalscorer in the history of the fixture. Defeat for Real was gratefully received across the Spanish capital as Atletico Madrid moved to the top of the table on the same day and held off Barca on the final day of the season to break the big two’s 10-year domination of La Liga.