El Clasico 2010 - Five Classics - Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
Barcelona 1-5 Real Madrid, January 27th 1963
Real Madrid have recorded plenty of bigger wins over their arch rivals - an 11-1, an 8-2 and a couple of 5-0’s – but few demonstrated the early dominance they held over their Catalan cousins quite like this.
This was the era of the legendary, immortal Los Blanco’s side. Five consecutive European Cup’s from 1956-60. The names roll off the tongue; Santamaria, Zarraga, Gento, Kopa and of course Puskas and Di Stefano, who were all present for another humiliation of Barca.
Madrid arrived at the Camp Nou marching towards the middle of five consecutive titles, with Barca way off the scene. The ‘Galloping Major’ grabbed a hat-trick and Di Stefano and Gento one apiece.
The most frightening aspect about this display was that Puskas was 35 and Di Stefano 36 – ancient by the longevity of the times. Unfortunately no footage can be found of this game so comfort yourselves with the serenity of those two in their pomp, seen here scoring seven goals between them in the epic 1960 European Cup final at Hampden Park
Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid, January 8th 1994
The absolute zenith of Johan Cruyff’s dream team.
Cruyff, a scholar of Rinus Michel’s total football, had long engrained this philosophy into the Barca eco-system, and during the early 90’s it paid beautiful dividends.
Barca were back then the equivalent of what they are now - a purist’s utopian dream of how football should be played. The ball - rarely leaving the dancefloor - was moved swiftly and effortlessly between comfortable, accomplished and attack minded players.
Michael Laudrup was like an apparition, gliding across the vast Camp Nou baize in his regal manner, providing the perfect foil for Romario to demonstrate his frightening penalty box prowess.
Barcelona 0-2 Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League Semi-Final, 2002
Dubbed the ‘Match of the Century’, the 2002 UEFA Champions League semi-final first-leg took on much more significance as it was the first time the pair had faced each other in Europe’s re-jigged elite competition.
Domestically it was an annus horribilis for the duo with Madrid finishing third and Barca fourth - so with the title long gone it all came down to who could claim the Champions League crown.
The whole of Spain stopped and all the old cliché’s about nationality and history were rolled out. "Catalonia is not Spain" read one banner draped down from one of the giant sloping stands, whilst the Barcelona newspaper ‘Sport’ went with a front page image of Javier Saviola lancing Fernando Hierro with a spear.
Beyond all that the game was wrought with tension and histrionics until Zindine Zidane broke away and deftly chipped home. The brilliant Frenchmen was then outdone by a shaggy haired scouser as Steve Mcmanaman silenced and emptied the Camp Nou with a sumptuous dink just before the whistle.
Barcelona 3-0 Real Madrid, November 20th 2004
After a sticky start under Frank Rijkaard, Barca had come on strong during the first half of 2004 as the side began to gel. Deco and Samuel Eto’o were added pre-season as the Dutchman fine tuned the side that would later be crowned European champions in 2006.
Meanwhile, Madrid were in decline and went through four coaches in six months as the Galácticos began to gather rust. Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo had all hit the dirty thirties, and David Beckham’s debut season had seen Madrid slip to a disappointing fourth, culminating in the dismissal of Carlos Queiroz.
This performance though was all about Ronaldinho is his prime. The jewel in this Barca crown, the 2005 World and European Player of the Year was unstoppable. Quick, lean and hungry he displayed his full repertoire of tricks, flicks and showboat specials as he tore Michel Salgado a new orifice, setting two goals up and scoring the third.
This comprehensive victory signalled a seismic shift of power in Spain. Barca went onto win the league as Madrid’s superstars sulked.
Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid, March 10th, 2007
As William Shakespeare once said…Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. And then there’s Lionel Messi.
With both sides fighting for the title like two bandits over a sombrero, this meeting in March 2007 was seen by many as a potential title-decider.
After going behind three times, the Catalans roared back each time through the mercurial Messi – still aged just 19. After Madrid defender Sergio Ramos headed Los Blanco’s into a 3-2 lead with minutes left, the visitors looked set for a famous win over their mortal enemies.
However, in the dying seconds, Messi picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box, slalomed past a regiment of flailing limbs and lashed home past Iker Casillas to rescue a point and send 100,000 Catalans into delirium.