Real Madrid face FC Barcelona on Saturday April 10, at 9 p.m., as part of La Liga Matchday 30. A meeting that does not leave the world of football indifferent.
Nearly 650 million people will have their eyes on the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium. This Saturday April 10, Real Madrid face FC Barcelona, for the 30th day of La Liga. A crucial meeting for the two teams in the race for the championship title. But this meeting is not just a sporting issue. It is also very special for the players.
In an interview with Goal, Xabi Alonso explained that he preferred to win this match instead of a La Liga. “We have won several times at Camp Nou, like in 2012. It was the year we won La Liga with 100 points, but winning the Clasico in Barcelona was a better feeling.“Said the former player of the club from the Spanish capital. Same story on the side of the current captain of the Merengues, Sergio Ramos:”A Madrid-Barça is completely different. Regardless of the state of form of the two teams. This match has its own logic and is totally unpredictable “. Between obsession with winning and duality that goes beyond the framework of football, this is why this meeting is so special.
If the antagonism between the two clubs is also present, it is also, and above all, because of the past. Real Madrid represent the Spanish capital and are seen as an elite club. FC Barcelona, for its part, is the standard bearer of Catalonia and its independence tendencies. “You should know that in Spain, there is a rivalry between regions. When I played in Spain, at Rayo Vallecano, I remember that during the first meals with the team we got messed up, because there were Castilians, Basques, Catalans … So during this match, it was again more tense“, explains Eric Roy, consultant for France Télévisions.
Same story with Elton Mokolo, one of the new influential figures of the French football landscape. If the Clasico’s reach is stronger than a match between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille, it is above all because this meeting has a double stake. “This rivalry is historic from the moment it is politicized. Across the world and in Spain in particular, Real represents Madrid and the central power, while Barça represents Catalonia and its desire for independence. There are also important episodes that begin with original sin: the transfer of Alfredo Di Stefano “, analyzes the journalist specializing in Spanish football. While he was promised to FC Barcelona, the Argentinian had finished at Real Madrid because of a history of big money, in the 1950s. A case which accentuated the opposition between the two clubs.
One has 34 La Liga titles and 13 in the Champions League. The other has been crowned 26 times in the league and titled five times in the most prestigious of European competitions. Real mastodons, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are engaged in a battle every year in all possible competitions.
“The antagonism is stronger between Real Madrid and Barça than between Liverpool and Manchester United, because the competition is less diverse. In England, Chelsea and Manchester City can claim the title, while in Spain, it’s always either Real Madrid or FC Barcelona. Even if a team can come to shake up the hierarchy by being champion, like Atlético de Madrid in 2014“, explains Elton Mokolo.
“Are you more Real Madrid or FC Barcelona?“At school, this question inevitably comes up at some point in the playground. Because these two clubs are not apathetic and unleash passions.”An average player, a French, a German always has a preference. Because when we love football, we love these big matches so we grow up with a particular affection for one of the two clubs. They do not leave indifferent“, explains Eric Roy. The former player of Rayo Vallecano remembers very well the influence of this meeting in the country of Cervantes:”This is exceptional. The press, whether Castilian or Catalan, only talks about that. The other matches have no visibility compared to this one.“
Broadcast in 185 different countries, the Clasico has a strong international reach, and even goes beyond the scope of the round ball. “When I arrived at Rayo Vallecano, a former Olympic ski champion, Paquito Fernández Ochoa, had come to pick me up at the airport and he said to me ‘you are going to play Rayo, it’s nice, everyone likes this club, because in Madrid we are either for Real or for Atlético ‘. And if we take Spain in the broad sense, the duality is even stronger with Barça and Real. Everyone is in favor of this meeting “, says Eric Roy.