The last time these two behemoths of European football met, it ended in a draw at the Camp Nou. Sergio Ramos cancelled out Luis Suarez’s opener with a characteristic late goal (89th minute). This time, a more exciting El Clasico awaits as Real Madrid will push to strengthen their grip on the title while they sit top of the pyramid and need to ensure they don’t let go of the momentum with Barcelona staying close on their heels. Madrid lead the Spanish league by three points with a game yet to be played to catch up with the rest of the pack.
Over the years, there have been some defining moments in the fixture which began all the way back in the early 1900s and has become one of the most watched and highly competitive sporting rivalry across the globe.
Here are the five most memorable moments from El Clasico:
1. Standing ovation for Ronaldinho from the Bernabeu
The November 2005 La Liga match between the two Spanish giants is one of the most memorable moments of an El Clasico. Fights and rivalry put aside, the home fans stood up to applaud what was a master class by Ronaldinho. Football fans were in awe across the world after the Brazilian ran through the Real defence to score a brace. “As far as I know, only (Diego) Maradona got that in Madrid. I was twice as happy to know my hero in football was the last to have that honour at the Bernabeu,” said Ronaldinho in an interview later.
2. 2011 Copa Del Rey final
The 2011 Copa del Rey final was a special and memorable match for Real Madrid. The exciting game was entertaining and gripping till the last moment when Cristiano Ronaldo came to the Whites’ rescue in the extra time with his header to help Real Madrid beat Barcelona 1-0. They lifted the domestic Cup for the 18th time.
3. Pig head thrown at Luis Figo
Although this Clasico did not go down as one of the most entertaining ones, it does come under the category of most bizarre ones for one simple moment – a pig head. The game is infamous for how Barcelona fans treated their former player Luis Figo who had moved to the Spanish club in the summer after being a darling of the Barcelona press and players alike. In his first appearance at Camp Nou since the switch, besides coins, mobile phones, bottles and bicycle chain was a pig’s head. Right near the corner flag which remains one of the most defining images of the intensity of this battle.
4. Lionel Messi hat-trick in 2014
It was a neck-to-neck seven-goal thriller that ended in Barcelona winning by a 4-3 margin. Real left space for Barcelona, who took advantage of it, with Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick. Benzema found the net twice, with Ronaldo adding to their scoreline at the 55th minute. However they were not good enough for Barcelona with Iniesta’s opening goal at the 7th minute, followed by Messi’s hattrick.
5. Ronaldo’s “Calma” celebrations
“Calma Calma!” Match saver Ronaldo surged past Barcelona’s defense, giving a sigh of relief to Real fans the world over. It was this match that his ‘Calma Calma’ celebration became famous. The visitors already had a four point lead and were set to take the league title in 2012.
The win strengthened their grip to the trophy.