April 24, 2012. A Saturday morning in my house, but a Saturday evening 5,700 miles away in Spain. The league standings for the season was as tight as ever, both teams were setting records in unbeaten streaks; the stage was set for the biggest rivalry of the soccer world.
A victory by Real Madrid would propel them to the top of the table and give them the momentum they need to win the Spanish title, the first title they would win since 2008. A victory by Barcelona would do the same for Catalonian club, who were looking to not only maintain their 54 game unbeaten streak at home but to also win the Spanish title for the fourth time in four years.
This was one of the most memorable and emotional games for me; I was highly anticipating this game and was ready to watch with my brand new replica Real Madrid jersey that I had received for Christmas. I couldn’t be more excited for the match; could it be that we could finally rip the league title away from Barcelona?
The match started off with a bang. After 17 minutes of play, midfielder Sami Khedira buried a loose ball after a corner kick and put Madrid up 1-0.
The game kept up its intensity as both teams would maintain constant pressure for the rest of first half. Despite the 1-0 scoreline, the game seemed too tight to call.
Then came the 70th minute. After a series of desperate clearances by Real Madrid’s defenders, in a spectacle that seemed as if the ball was playing pinball, Alexis Sanchez found himself in front of an open goal and put the ball away to even the scoreline.
A heartbreaker: I couldn’t believe it.
I was at a loss for words, how could it be that after a season of spectacular play that we keep Barcelona in the match in the game and therefore the title race?
But my grieving didn’t last for long.
One of the most beautifully strung series of passes of all time, followed by a piercing ball from German midfielder Mesut Ozil to main target man Cristiano Ronaldo, who calmly and cooly slotted the ball past Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes to put Real Madrid in the lead and win the team the game, only four minutes after Barcelona’s equalizer.
His celebration wrapped the game up perfectly, as he motioned for the Barcelona to quiet down.
One of my favorite goals and games of all time, I was jumping with joy when the referee blew the final whistle after 90 minutes of unrelenting attacking by both sides. With that victory, and with only two games remaining in the season, Real Madrid had all but wrapped up their league title. Real Madrid would end up winning the league title with 100 points; a new record for the number of points won in one season in Spain, a record that has not been broken since then.
“El Clasico” translates to “The Classic”, and indeed the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona is a soccer classic, attracting over 400 million viewers worldwide every year. Barcelona and Real Madrid and two of the most respected soccer clubs in Europe, and they often are competing with each other to win Europe’s most prestigious competitions every year.
It can be said that there isn’t enough room for both clubs in Europe.
Both clubs always have the best talent that the world has to offer, from Brazilian star Neymar, Argentine prodigy Lionel Messi, to Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Along with some of the most brilliant coaching minds in the game, El Clasico is a fierce tactical and physical battle every year; the equivalent of Fountain Valley High School’s and Edison’s Bell Game.
The two teams’ rivalry can be traced back historically to the hometown of the Barcelona Football Club; Catalonia. For centuries, the catalans have been under the Subjugation of the Spanish capital (Madrid), and for the same amount of time have resented it. In fact, Catalonia residents have begun an independence movement that has been petitioning the Spanish government for independence for the past decade.
It is only natural that this resentment of Spain and subsequently the Spanish capital be reflected on the world’s biggest theatre.
Last weekend marked the 202nd competitive match between the two clubs, and the scoreline ended in an even scoreline of 1-1, with a heart stopping 90th minute equalizer by Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
El Clasico is often regarded as clash between two titans, as the duel between two of the best teams that humanity has to offer. The games are always highly anticipated, and never fail to produce some of the largest viewership numbers in television history.
To keep up with future El Clasico’s or just keep up with Spanish soccer in general, visit this site.