Football has been known to break lots of barriers and bringing people closer. There are many instances where football has transcended the realms of race, colour and religion and have made a sacred between people, through their love for a certain football club. But The Beautiful Game is also known to create barriers between two sets of rival fans, and sometimes, this rivalry gets so intense that it gives rise to tensions for both the clubs and the city administrators. Many rivalries stem from the historic rivalries between cities in yesteryears, and it is through the rivalry between two clubs that the two sets of fans continue hat rivalry these days.
Football has seen a lot of rivalries, be it at club level or international level – the Old Firm Derby between Rangers and Celtic in Scotland, the North-West Derby between Liverpool and Manchester United in England, the Italian Derby between Inter Milan and Juventus; as well as the rivalries between Brazil and Argentina, Spain and Portugal, Germany and The Netherlands that stem from political differences, sectarianism, industrialization and for so many different reasons. All these rivalries are intense in their own ways, but perhaps the most intense rivalry between two football clubs anywhere in the world exists between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain.
Such intense is the rivalry between these two teams that when the football calendar is announced for a particular season, fans in Spain as well as from other parts of the world look for when these two sides will go head to head and script the next big battle in their long drawn war. The match between these two top sides from Spain is known as el Clasico, which translates to The Classic in English and is sometimes also referred to as The Derby of Spain. There are many reasons behind the rivalry that exists between these two sides.
Real Madrid, being based in the capital, has always enjoyed the patronage of the royal family of Spain and the team ‘Real’ before their name literally translates to ‘Royal’, a title that signifies the patronage of the royal family. Barcelona, being based in Catalonia, has always been a symbol of rebellion and during the Spanish Civil War, the club strongly opposed the dictatorial reign of General Franco and denounced its association with the country altogether. Madrid, on the other hand, continued to receive patronage from General Franco and this added further fuel to the fire between the two clubs.
Barcelona fans are extremely proud of their stand against an institution that was imposed on them and still consider Real Madrid to be favoured unjustly when they play against each other. Although unofficially, Barcelona have 104 victories compared to Real’s 91, in official matches, they are just behind by two games, with the record currently at 85-87. These two clubs also dominate the Primera Liga each year and have won 154 official titles between them in both their domestic League and in the European and Intercontinental competitions.