The history of football is the history of rivalries. And when speaking of rivalry, none can compare to the one between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The encounters between these two are the most watched club matches globally, together with the Champions League final. Hundreds of millions of viewers gather in front of their TVs to witness the clash between two of the world’s richest clubs.
The conflict between both teams surpasses the sporting sphere. Ever since the ‘30s, Barça became a symbol of the Catalan identity, as compared to the centralist tendencies of Madrid. During Franco’s dictatorship, Real Madrid was considered the club of the ruling power, while Barça suffered some institutional setbacks, the most famous being recruiting player Alfredo Di Stéfano. Both teams wanted to sign him up and it was decided that the player compete two years with one team, and two with the other. Barça felt offended and gave up the player, who managed to change the history of the bitter rival.
Lately, this rivalry was deepened even further, due to the tradition of making the “passageway” by one team in honor of the champion rival. This happened three times (in 1988, 1991 and 2008), two times for Real Madrid and once for FC Barcelona. What contributed in deepening the rivalry was also the sale of important players, like Bernd Schuster, Michael Laudrup or Luis Figo. The feud between the two teams has reached such limits that some mass media are speculating on its negative impact on the Spanish national team.
The encounter offered spectacular matches, such as the 2002 Champions League, the Dream Team’s 5-0 (which Madrid would return the following year), FC Barcelona’s 0-3 in Madrid with a standing ovation for Ronaldinho or the smashing 2-6 of Guardiola’s Barça.
This encounter has recently received the nickname of “el clásico”, the classic match, expressed at an individual level as the competition between the best players of each team, Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
It’s an unforgettable experience to watch live this clash, and any football enthusiast must live it as least once in their life. Buy your FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid tickets here.
Historically, socially and economically, Atlético de Madrid is the third Spanish club, after the two great ones. The encounters with FC
Barcelona usually offer spectacular matches full of goals, such as the 5-3 in the Camp Nou stadium in the ‘93-’94 season, the 3-3 of the ‘96-’97 season also at Camp Nou, the 5-2 in the Vicente Calderón stadium in 1998, or more recently the 4-3 at Calderón in 2009. Little matters how well both teams come prepared, this encounter never disappoints.
Atlético de Madrid had on its squad some of the best football players of the world, like Sergio Agüero, Fernando Torres, Falcao, Diego Forlán, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Christian Vieri or Diego Costa.
The rivalry between both teams reached highest levels in 1996, when they competed the entire year for the La Liga cup and clashed in the final, with Atlético de Madrid winning the confrontation. This rivalry was maintained in the following seasons, as they are two of the great Spanish League teams, with a special interest in the past season 2013-14, where FC Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid competed for the La Liga trophy until the last match.
Due to the grandness of both teams, the matches are always played in jam-packed stadiums and mass-media from all over the world are present. Buy your FC Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid tickets here.
Barcelona lives in the rhythm marked by the current football events and the best proof is the city’s historic derby, which both teams’ enthusiasts live with a frantic passion.
Both clubs are among the oldest in the country and the derby’s first edition happened in 1900. However, the rivalry between the two clubs, which quickly became the most important of Catalonia, did not occur until the second decade of the 20th Century and quickly increased in this period. With the raise of football popularity in Catalonia, Barça inaugurated their Les Corts stadium in 1922 and RCD Espanyol theirs in the Sarrià neighborhood in 1923. In 1924, a derby which took place in the Les Corts stadium had to be suspended due to the clashes between both teams’ fans.
Starting with the ‘30s the rivalry gets politicized. The politicians in favor of the Catalan autonomy use Barça as a medium to express their claims, while Espanyol is considered centralist. This perception still lasts today, even though it is not entirely true.
In 1957 the only Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) between the two teams was celebrated. The match took place in Montjuïc in the presence of General Franco and finalized in 1-0 with a controversial victory of Barça. Despite the sporting differences, raising in the last decades between the two teams, Barcelona’s derbys continue to be unique matches which divide many families and supply subjects of debate for entire weeks! Buy your FC Barcelona vs Espanyol tickets here.
The Valencia club are a real classic of the Spanish football. In the historic classification of the League they are on third place, behind only Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. They have played in 79 seasons of the First Division of the total 83.
There is a great rivalry between FC Barcelona and Valencia, partly due to their geographic proximity and partly due to the teams disputing for the most important titles. The origins of this rivalry go back to the ‘40s and ‘50s. In 1952 Barça wins against Valencia in the Spanish Cup final, but two years later “Los Ches” take their revenge.
Valencia played their first European final against FC Barcelona. The club of the “Ches” imposed themselves in the final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1962 thanks to a definitive 6-2 in the first leg.
In 1970-71, with Di Stéfano leading Valencia, both teams met again in a final, this time for the Spanish Cup, where Barça won with 4-3 in extra time.
In 1980, Barça and Valencia CF met again in Europe, this time in the UEFA Winners’ Cup. Again the Valencians won led by Di Stéfano in his second time as coach. The “Ches” would proclaim themselves winners against Arsenal.
Barça also took part in one of the saddest moments in the recent history of Valencia. In the 1985-86 season, Valencia fell to the Second Division after losing 3-0 in the Camp Nou stadium.
Around the turn of the Century, the rivalry between the two clubs would deepen thanks to the rise of the “Ches”. The Valencians won the Spanish Supercup in 1999 against Barça and both teams would meet again a few months later in the Champions League semifinals. In the first leg, Valencia won 4-1, making Barça’s 2-1 in the second leg unfruitful. In the final, the “Ches” would lose against Real Madrid.
Both teams would meet again in various semifinals, and in the Spanish Cup of 2008 the Valencians were the ones to raise the desired trophy. In 2012 they repeat the clash, this time with Barça winning the match. Buy your FC Barcelona vs Valencia tickets here.
The Athletic Club is, together with FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, one of the three clubs which competed in all seasons of the Spanish First Division.
Also, Athletic shares with Barça (and Real Madrid and Osasuna) another fundamental characteristic: the club is not a public sporting company but belongs to its associates. The Athletic club has another special feature which makes it a phenomenon unique in the world: only Basque players can form part of the Club.
FC Barcelona is one of the teams with which Athletic Club has one of the strongest rivalries, due to the many Spanish Leagues and Cups for which they went in a head to head competition. They even met in the European championships, like in the UEFA Cup semifinals in the 1976-77 season, in which Athletic came out a winner.
Possibly the most memorable encounter between both teams was in the 1984 Spanish Cup final. The Athletic club was proclaimed winner after a 1-0 result in a final remembered for the assaults between Barça’s players, led by Bernd Schuster and Diego Armando Maradona, and Athletic’s players. Lately, both teams met again in the Spanish Cup finals, in 2009 and 2012, both settled with the Catalans winning. Buy your FC Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao tickets here.
Despite being new to the elite group of the Spanish football, Villarreal quickly became a Spanish League classic and one of the
teams which have an attractive style of play. They also led the way in some fantastic matches against FC Barcelona.
In their first division debut, in the 1998-99 season, Villarreal defeated the Barça of Louis van Gaal in the Camp Nou stadium with a 1-3 final score. But only towards the middle of the 21st Century’s first decade Villarreal started rubbing shoulders with the big teams, thanks to the recruitment of a player from FC Barcelona, the Argentinean Juan Román Riquelme.
In 2005-06 Villarreal was a step away from eliminating Arsenal in the Champions League semifinals and competing for the final in Paris against FC Barcelona. In 2007-08, Villarreal is proclaimed runner-up of the Spanish League title after winning against Barça, which finishes third.
As the “yellow submarine” are perfecting their passing-game style of playing football, they resemble more and more FC Barcelona’s style which makes the matches between the two great quality, intense encounters. Buy your FC Barcelona vs Villarreal tickets here.
The Real Sociedad club, located in San Sebastián, in the Basque Country, is one of the clubs with the longest track in the history of Spanish football and, together with Barça among others, one of the only 9 teams which never competed in a division below the Second Division.
Real Sociedad’s best times were at the beginning of the ‘80s, when they won two consecutive League titles, the second against FC Barcelona, with whom they fought for it until the last debate.
There are many links that connect the history of Real Sociedad with that of FC Barcelona. To start with, the basis of Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team was formed by players coming from Real Sociedad, such as Bakero, Begiristain, López Rekarte and Goikoetxea. More than that, Barça are the worst enemy of Real Sociedad in the Spanish Cup. Out of the six finals Real have disputed, four were against Barça, and all four were lost to the Catalan team (in 1913, 1928, 1951 and 1988). Buy your FC Barcelona vs Real Sociedad tickets here.