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El Clasico: All you need to know about Real Madrid v Barcelona rivalry

It is the biggest game in Spanish and, arguably, European football and will have fans glued to their TVs across the world.

Here is everything you need to know about the clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid, known as El Clasico.

The latest edition takes place at the Bernabeu on Sunday 19th March, with all the action available as part of our European Soccer Live Streaming Highlights.

Real Madrid won this fixture last term but it’s Barcelona that have the edge this season, with the Catalan giants beating their major rivals 3-1 in the Spanish Super Cup.

Why is El Clasico the biggest derby?

This fixture is deeply embedded into Spanish culture with the capital being seen as the heart of Spain, with the club having links to the royal family, while Barcelona is viewed as the heartland of the Catalan people.

The football action becomes the embodiment of that and games are always keenly contested, played out in front of massive attendances at either the Bernabeu or the Nou Camp.

Why is it called El Clasico?

The Spanish term 'El Clasico' directly translates as 'The Classic' in English, with matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona widely viewed as the pinnacle of Spanish football.

How many times has El Clasico been played?

As of March 2023, a total of 252 competitive El Clasico matches have been played in no fewer than 14 different competitions.

Real Madrid have won 101 times, with Barcelona prevailing on 99 occasions and 52 derbies ending in a draw.

The two rivals will next play each other in La Liga on Sunday 19th March at Camp Nou. Hosts Barcelona are priced at 23/20 to win, with Real Madrid given odds of 9/4 and a draw at 5/2.

What is the highest winning margin in El Clasico?

The highest scoring victory for Real was an 11-1 success in the Spanish Cup in 1943, while Barcelona's biggest win also came in a cup competition in 1957 when they claimed a 7-2 victory.

That was the first of 10 occasions when the match has been settled by a five-goal margin, the latest of which came in 2010 when Barcelona won 5-0 at Camp Nou.

The highest scoring draw in an El Clasico match came back in April 1916, when the two teams played out a 6-6 draw in the Copa del Rey.

Have many players played for both El Clasico rivals?

Sometimes players have been at the centre of the rivalry, with a number of stars having played for both El Clasico rivals.

Luis Figo, Brazilian striker Ronaldo, Michael Laudrup, Luis Enrique, Bernd Schuster, Gheorghe Hagi and Robert Prosinecki are all high-profile players who have plied their trade for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

In the late 1950s, both clubs claimed they had signed Argentinian forward Alfredo di Stefano after a players' strike in his homeland confused his contract situation.

A Fifa enquiry resolved that Di Stefano would have to play for each club in alternate seasons and they would both own him, but Barcelona refused and he went on to be one of Real Madrid's greatest players - scoring 18 goals against their arch rivals.

Then in 2000, Real Madrid presidential candidate Florentino Perez negotiated a deal with Luis Figo to move to the Santiago Bernabeu from Barcelona and the Portuguese forward left for the Spanish capital, having insisted no such move was going to happen. 

Figo had missiles thrown at him whenever he subsequently returned to Camp Nou.

Who has scored the most goals in El Clasico?

The greatest goalscorer in the fixture is former Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who spent 17 years at the Nou Camp.

The Argentinian scored 26 El Clasico goals, eight more than his fellow countryman Di Stefano and his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

The leader among players currently featuring for one of the two clubs is France striker Karim Benzema, who has notched 11 times for Madrid against Barca.

Messi also holds the record for the number of El Clasico appearances, with 45, alongside his PSG teammate and former Real captain Sergio Ramos, who holds the record of being sent off in five Real Madrid v Barcelona clashes.

Luis Suarez was the last player to score a hat-trick in the game in October 2018, when Barcelona won 5-1 at the Nou Camp. Former England striker Gary Lineker also managed to score three times when Barcelona beat Madrid 3-2 in January 1987.

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