Benzema: el Clasico die best match bei the world even without Messi (1:20)Karim Benzema explains why he believes el Clasico zu sein the finest match in club football. (1:20)

When that comes to world soccer, there"s may be no video game or rivalry bigger than Barcelona vs. Echt Madrid. Ns sides renew acquaintances ~ above Sunday (10:15 a.m. ET; stream live on in the 247th official auflage of El Clasico (excluding friendlies), and it could even be one von the biggest clashes bei all des sports, rivaling ns Super bowl or world Series when it come to global viewing power. These days, fans in over 180 countries tun können watch this two fight -- a population of over 650 million, though realistic estimates zum viewing figures are bei the 75-100m variety -- and while both sides look fragile this season, die century-old feud möchte bring out the best in both.

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It"s a game that has provided us some unforgettable moments -- like Barca win 6-2 bei Madrid an 2009 -- and has been defined über the dizzying star power in both teams. We"ve had actually Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo; ja wirklich Madrid defender Sergio Ramos deshalb broke the career appearances mark über playing in his 45th Clasico prior to leaving weil das Paris Saint-Germain belastung summer. Three Barcelona football player -- Andres Iniesta (2015), Ronaldinho (2009) und Diego Maradona (1983) -- also received stand ovations at real Madrid"s Bernabeu stadium for brilliant single-game performances.

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Though there oase been countless figures who schutz participated in or had bei impact since die two sides first met on may 13, 1902, there are a couple of who oase made bei indelible unterschrift on what ns sport"s greatest rivalry has become, either bei how they changed each club or an how castle turned this rivalry into ns biggest in all des sport. interviewed players, coaches und executives, past und present, about the magic des this rivalry, as well as what makes these characters deswegen vital to el Clasico lore.

Reporting von Moises Llorens, brunnen Marsden, Alex Kirkland, rodrigo Faez, Graham Hunter, Sid Lowe, Julien Laurens, martin Ainstein und Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal

Jump to: What a Clasico is like | prototyp Guardiola vs. Jose Mourinho | Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo | Santiago Bernabeu | Johan Cruyff | football player on both sides

What"s that like kommen sie play bei a Clasico?


FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid -- arguably the greatest rivalry bei international soccer -- is rückseitig on Sunday, Oct. 24, punkt 10:15 a.m. ET. Sign up jetzt to currently ElClásico top top

Zubizarreta: A clean example of was playing v a false nine. Prior to going to die Bernabeu an 2009, he decided zu play there is no a fixed forward, i beg your pardon rendered obsolete all ns systems madrid had prepared to win die game. The plan operated amazingly, Barcelona won 6-2 und that game will be mental forever.

Zubizarreta: die Clasicos through Mourinho created a lot of tension. Madrid appointed er to try und put a protect against to ns way Barcelona to be playing and winning after he"d knocked castle out des the champions League in 2010 at the semifinal stage . After die 5-0 Barca win punkt the ende of november 2010, things changed. It was as if madrid had taken that ns difference was massive and they started zu plan zum the games an their own way. It generated a lot of tension, und there were some unpleasant moments.

Sergio Ramos holds the unfortunate LaLiga record von most red cards zum a einzel player (26), and five von those were picked up in matches against Barcelona, making him even more of a ja wirklich Madrid legend. In a specifically nasty Clasico an 2009, with real losing 5-0 an injury time, he went in hard ~ above Messi to at least gain something zum his team that day. The then fought with two Barca players on his means to die dressing room.

Ramos" unnecessary foul on Messi und subsequent red map was just one von the nastier moments von the Guardiola vs. Mourinho era.David Ramos/Getty ImagesEduardo Iturralde Gonzalez, LaLiga referee (1995-2012) that sent off Sergio Ramos: It was one des those you kann "smell." i saw ihm running towards Messi, und I believed "he"s going zu whack him." freundin can"t nur know ns rules, you oase to know ns game. If i hadn"t "smelt" that, i wouldn"t schutz been in the appropriate place. Then there was this melee. Ramos confronts Puyol, Xavi ist there, die two goalkeepers kommen sie over. Everyone"s confronting each other. Ich tried to get in the middle of it, tried kommen sie break it every up, but it was impossible: there to be arms everywhere.

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The just one that"s not in the middle of it all zu sein Iniesta. Ich say to er "bloody hell, what are you last like?" and he says: ""ah, you liebe it."

Xavi, on die 2011 Champions league Clasico: Mourinho was provoking us deswegen much, over and over again, that lastly we seniorin players really want a response from Guardiola. When we watched his prematch drücken sie conference , we loved it und applauded ihm to his seat bei the restaurant when he came zurück to the team hotel. Pepp told us zu "sit down und stop all that."

Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo

It"s impossible to discuss die Clasico, or the two teams, without stating Messi und Ronaldo. Their head-to-head rivalry zum nearly a decade bei LaLiga was energizing not just for the Clasico but zum all of football. Betwee them, they won 11 von the past 12 Ballons d"Or und when one was up und winning awards, ns other had kommen sie be down. Messi scored more (26 bei 44 Clasicos, compared with Ronaldo"s 18 in 29) und the number of LaLiga titles during Ronaldo"s time in Madrid (Messi had actually six, Ronaldo nur two), but Ronaldo und Real did claim four Champions league crowns in five years. Regardless des your preference, die duo were equally dominant an this feud.

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Ramon Calderon, echt Madrid president (2006-09): Without doubt Messi is bei exceptional player. As football fans we"ve to be lucky kommen sie live in the era of Messi und Cristiano Ronaldo together, also more so when die two des them were playing in Spain... it was a frenetic match, with consistent changes on ns scoreboard. That game gave us ns boost zu win ns league. It was something von a miracle due to the fact that we were nine or 10 points behind v eight gamings left and little von little we battled back.

That game was key. When ich arrived together president, we had changed 18 players zu change the feeling around ns club, i m sorry hadn"t winner anything weil das three years. That video game showed ns players the they were capable von winning, von coming back, of competing v Barcelona. Messi, though, was sensational. The whole stadium, und the presidential box, was vibrating. It"s one des those games you remember forever... Clearly when echt Madrid play, I"ve always wanted my club to win, however as a fans I"ve constantly admired an excellent players. Messi has been one des them.

Messi tormented ja wirklich Madrid end his time weist Barcelona. He boasts the career goals record an the Clasico, through 26 bei 44 games.OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via getty ImagesJosep maria Minguella, soccer agent: We brought Messi to Barcelona after part sensational scouting work from some des my collaborators in Rosario . The story ist well known, how everything happened, die problems we had closing ns move to Barcelona, how bei the final augenblicke Carles Rexach saved the deal von famously signing die napkin at die Pompeia tennis club an the city.

The zuerst time i saw Cristiano Ronaldo was when i was travelling with Javier Subirats, who was working weil das Valencia at ns time, to watch in U18 or U19 game betwee Portugal and England. Ich went since Portugal have always lugged through really good players, yet without discovering anyone properly. It wasn"t prefer these days back then. Jetzt you know every little thing before sie even travel.

We watched ns game und a couple of players stand out, back none of them were fine known. After ns game, we went to ns Portugal hotel and were dining v their travel party. There to be a gewächs of players there who weren"t recognized at ns time however would become really popular, among them Thiago, Ricardo Quaresma und Cristiano Ronaldo. Us were introduced und we talked, but we left the there.

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As ns weeks passed, with die focus now rückseitig on society football, ich learned that Sporting Lisbon to be going zu play a friendly against Manchester United und Sir Alex Ferguson was quicker 보다 anyone else and ended trost signing Cristiano.