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Real Madrid v Barcelona 2020: This century’s 5 greatest El Clasico moments

| 28.02.2020

We remember some of El Clasico’s greatest moments

After their Champions League exploits mid-week, Real Madrid return to La Liga against their fiercest rivals, Barcelona, in the latest rendition of El Clasico.

In the 180th league meeting between the two, or 244th in all competitions, Real Madrid and Barcelona are once again locking horns at the top of the La Liga table, with Blaugrana occupying top spot two points clear of Los Blancos.

Ahead of kick-off at 20:00 on Sunday 1st March, we look at some of the most memorable El Clasico moments in years gone by.

Barcelona 0-0 Real Madrid – November 2002 – The Pig’s Head

A match where the score line doesn’t tell the any of the story.

After a record-breaking controversial move from Barcelona to bitter rival’s Real Madrid back in July 2000, Luis Figo had endured a torrid first return to Camp Nou in October 2000, returning to an onslaught of jeers and abuse in a 2-0 defeat.

Fast forward two years, and the abuse and rivalry showed no signs of slowing. Figo had missed out on the previous two El Clasico’s through injury, but when he stepped back on the pitch in 2002, the torment hit new levels.

Beer bottles, cigarette lights and whisky bottles were just some of the missiles thrown at the Portuguese winger as he took set pieces, but the worst was yet to come. With the game suspended for 20 minutes, one of the most iconic footballing moments was about to come.

A pig’s head was thrown onto the pitch, showing just how seriously Barcelona fans take the rivalry and the deceit from Figo.

Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona – November 2005 – Ronaldinho’s Magic

In contrast to the reception given to Figo at the Camp Nou, Ronaldinho produced a performance which left the entire paying crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu in awe.

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The Brazilian wizard had been named European Footballer of the Year earlier in the week and took to the Bernabeu pitch to prove his worth.

His magic led Barcelona to a 3-0 win in Madrid, with a majestic second-half brace featuring carbon copy goals, cutting in from the left, leaving the right back behind and slotting past Iker Casillas.

Ronaldinho’s performance was so complete, that in the 77th minute, after his second and Barcelona’s third, the entire crowd, including Real Madrid’s loyal support, stood on their feet to applaud a masterclass.

It was only the second time it had happened in El Clasico history, a tribute only Diego Maradona had ever received before in a Barcelona shirt.

Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid – November 2010 – Mourinho’s Madrid humbled

It was the start of the Jose Mourinho v Pep Guardiola rivalry, after Jose ‘The Special One’ Mourinho traded the Italian capital and Inter Milan, for the Spanish capital and Real Madrid.

Mourinho had led his Real Madrid side to their best start ever, but his biggest test was yet to come. Step forward, Pep.

In front of over 98,000 fans at Camp Nou, Barcelona put on a clinic and humbled Mourinho’s Madrid, handing them a 5-0 thrashing in a match where they had no answers.

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Xavi Hernandez opened the floodgates as early as 10 minutes in, before Pedro Rodriquez doubled their lead on 18 minutes.

Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Lionel Messi produced yet another masterclass in the false-nine role, with David Villa and Pedro either side.

Villa managed to grab a brace mid-way through the second half to bring the scoreline to 4-0, before late substitute Jeffren put the icing of the cake with a fifth.

But that wasn’t the end of the drama, as Sergio Ramos picked up his first red card in an El Clasico, his 12th career red card in the 93rd minute.

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona – April 2014 – Bale’s late solo effort

El Clasico headed to the Mestalla, Valencia to contest the 2013-14 Copa del Rey final, the seventh El Clasico Copa del Rey final, with Madrid and Barcelona each winning three previously.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti had to plan his tactics without their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been ruled out of the final with knee and thigh injuries.

In a close-knit affair, Madrid took the lead thanks to an Angel Di Maria goal, with a left footed strike that went through the legs of Jordi Alba, and in off the left hand of stand-in goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto.

Marc Bartra levelled for Barcelona in the 68th minute, with the Spanish central defender glancing in a Xavi corner. And with five minutes of the match remaining, it looked destined to go to extra time.

Step forward, Gareth Bale.

With five minutes to play, Bale picked up the ball in his own half on the left wing, starting a run at blistering pace, taking on Barca’s goalscorer Bartra, at one stage, off the pitch, before eventually leaving the Spaniard behind, evading more challenges before slotting a bouncing ball past Pinto.

Real Madrid fans went crazy. Cristiano Ronaldo went crazy too. But more importantly, Gareth Bale had truly announced his arrival to the Madrid faithful, and won the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona 5-1 Real Madrid – October 2018 – Suarez steps up

Just three months after losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, Los Blancos under the stewardship of Julen Lopetegui headed to Catalonia for the 177th El Clasico in La Liga.

Madrid were handed a boost in the build up to the game, with Barca’s talisman Messi ruled out through injury. Would Lopetegui mastermind a confidence boosting performance and get his Real Madrid career started?

Luis Suarez had other ideas, with the Uruguayan striker stepping up in Messi’s absence. Barcelona outclassed Real Madrid, and Suarez bagged a memorable hat-trick in a match which ended up being Lopetegui’s last in charge.

As for Madrid, Gareth Bale struggled to fill the Ronaldo void, Isco played further forward on the wing, a position unfamiliar to him, and the performance highlighted the issues at the Bernabeu club.

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Drew Goodsell

Drew is a journalism graduate who closely follows American sports, focussing on the NBA and NFL. He also has a keen interest in all things football, paying regular attention to the Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.