Spain is currently the football capitol of the world. Not only did they lift the World Cup last year, but, in Barcelona and Real Madrid, they have two of the finest football clubs in the world.
Naturally, the rivalry between these two foot-balling giants is intense, and every time that they meet, both teams' reputations are subject to immense pressure, not only from their respect, loyal fan bases, but from the world's media too.
Both sides play in the La Liga, the Spanish premier league. When these two great football colossi meet, (at least twice per year in league competition, and more if they play each other in any of the European trophy fixtures), the name that is given to the games, (yes they actually have a special name for this particular football fixture), is "El Clasico" – The Classic.
Since these two clubs first began playing against each other back in 1902, Real Madrid have a light edge, with a total of 74 wins over their old rivals, as opposed to Barcelona's 73.
The origin of their great rivalry is actually politically charged. Barcelona FC, more affectionately known as Barca, (correct pronunciation "Barsa"), are the champions of the Catalonian region and its peoples, whereas Real Madrid many years ago were associated with Franco's fascist regime. This clash between the people versus the establishment was the foundation for what is one of the fiercest sporting sporting rivalries in the world today.
There is one amazing story that recounts the fortunes of one Alfredo di Stefano, now a figure of legend for both clubs. His arrival in Spain from Argentina's Deportivo Los Millonarios was amid fierce competition between Real and Barca who were both desperate to sign the player. In the following confusion over the bitter argument of who he would play for, it was decided the he would play for Real one year, and Barca the next.
The intension confrontation between the two clubs is likened to a reenactment of the Spanish Civil War, a situation heightened recently when only last Wednesday Real coach Jose Mourinho poked his finger in the eye of Barca's assistant coach Tito Vianova following earlier accidents on the field of play . It is feared by many that the bad feeling between the two clubs may spill over into the national team side which current boats nine Barca players in its squad.
But all rivalries aside, these two great clubs have provided some remarkable spectacles of scintillating football in recent years although it is an undeniable fact that Barcelona FC are very much in the ascendancy right now. Their explosive style of football is hard for any other club to keep up with, and they have humbled many other great football clubs as they did with Manchester United when they beat them in last season's European Cup final.
Barcelona FC are currently THE club to be reckoned with. In recent head to head meetings with Real Madrid Barca have won 6 out of the last 10 games outright, with Real only managing 2 wins; the other games being drawn. Barcelona chalked up their longest unbeaten run in La Liga in the last season with 28 matches undefeated, and with nine of their current team in the international team squad, they are really a force to be reckoned with. Real Madrid eat your hearts out!