El Clasico is one of the biggest rivalries in the footballing world. From culture to history, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF have been at war and continue to battle for supremacy. Two periods in the past, amongst others, helped shape the rivalry you see today.

The year was 1943, General Franco had become dictator of Spain. Back then the domestic league cup was called the Copa del Generalisimo and it was widely known that anything other Spanish culture was being given ai???the treatmentai??i?? by Franco and his thugs. The semi finals of the cup saw eternal rivals Real Madrid meet Barcelona. In the first leg of the match in Les Corts (Barcaai??i??s stadium before the Camp Nou was built), the visiting side lost to the Catalans 3-0 and this was unacceptable to Franco who was already in the process of oppressing any culture other than Castillian (like Catalan and Basque culture) and therefore, sent his head of state security to give the Culeai??i??s a ai???pepai??? talk before the second leg. Francoai??i??s enforcer said Ai??this to the Barca team ai???you are only playing because of the generosity of the regime that has forgiven you for your lack of patriotismai???. Subtlety was not required and the message was understood so the Blaugrana went on to lose that match 11-1.

The irony, of course, is that Real Madrid went on to lose the finals to another non-Castillian team, Athletic Bilbao. Nonetheless, the Catalans obliged in the semi finals and did lose. Although, the methods used to record that win can be questioned, the 11-1 is the highest recorded score in the history of the rivalry.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEv7j1oSPSg&version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0]

 

If you were to look at the history of the Clasico, it would be easy to see a pattern of sorts. Itai??i??s a revenge theme where fate plays tricks with both teams. To the neutral fan, it is easily the most entertaining piece of footballing rivalry that one can read or learn about. Almost 18 years after that semi final defeat thanks to Franco and his coercive ways, the Catalans were living in the shadow of a Real Madrid side that had gone on to become the most popular sporting club in the world. Europe was the All Whitesai??i?? territory and nobody seemed able to stop them. The Catalans put an end to that in the 1960-61 season. Until then Madrid had never drawn/lost a European fixture at home and it would have been safe to say that their dominance would have continued if not for that fateful draw.

Barcelona were drawn against Real Madrid in the second round of the 60-61 seasonAi?? and drew the game 2-2 in what turned out to be a controversial match where the referee ignored the linesmanai??i??s offside flag (when Madrid were leading 2-1) allowing Barca to draw a foul in the box and equalize through a penalty. The second leg was equally controversial but in the end Real Madrid were ousted from the European Cup by rivals Barcelona.

Again, ironically and in a twist of fate, Barcelona lost the final to Benfica.

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