Ask a cross-section of people what the biggest club match in European football is and we’d wager that the one match that would come out on top would be Barcelona against Real Madrid.
El Clasico has seen some of the world’s best take to the pitch at Camp Nou and the Bernabeu when the Spanish behemoths have engaged in battle.
Their head-to-heads over the years have so often been bad tempered affairs, with 41 yellow and two red cards in the last five league meetings, but we can also appreciate some quality footballing moments.
Here are our pick of five of the best El Clasico moments from modern times (featuring some very enthusiastic commentators)…
Real Madrid 5-0 Barcelona – January 7 1995
Before Messrs Neymar and Messi were tearing it up, there was another South American putting his stamp on Spanish football going by the name of Ivan Zamorano.
The Chilean bagged 101 league goals for Real in a four-year spell, including three in this rout against Johan Cruyff’s men.
The game also had the added drama that just a few months before the then-Barca manager had sold Michael Laudrup after falling out with the Dane.
He was shipped out to their arch rivals, and in his first season at his new club, you just knew there would be one side he would get on the scoresheet against.
Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid – March 10 2007
Lionel Messi made his Barcelona debut in 2004, but he had to wait for two-and-a-half years before he would get on the scoresheet in this fixture.
He certainly made up for lost time, netting a hat-trick to really announce himself on the world stage.
The Argentine’s treble helped Barca come from behind on three occasions to secure a point in front of their own fans after a brace from Ruud van Nistelrooy and a second half strike from Sergio Ramos had handed Madrid the advantage.
Few could have predicted back then what Messi would have gone on to become, although this performance would have been a major hint.
Real Madrid 4-1 Barcelona – May 7 2008
There can be few better feelings in football than your arch rivals giving you a guard of honour as you walk out onto the pitch as champions, but to then go on to humiliate in the game that follows might just top it.
Four different players got on the scoresheet as Madrid netted two either side of half-time, as Raul, Arjen Robben, Gonzalo Higuain and Ruud van Nistelrooy all got in on the act.
While the victory was sweet it would be nearly five years until Real would secure three points against Barca at the Bernabeu again.
Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona – May 2 2009
Coming into this match Real Madrid had won 17 of their last 18 matches, so would have quite rightly been high on confidence.
What they hadn’t taken into account though, was the impact that Pep Guardiola would have during his first season in charge of Barcelona.
The Catalan outfit simply embarrassed Madrid in front of their own fans, with Thierry Henry, Carles Puyol, Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique contributing goals in a rip-roaring encounter.
The visitors would use the match as the final push towards their first ever treble, winning La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League within a month.
Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid – November 29 2010
This was just sheer domination from Pep Guardiola’s men. They pinned Jose Mourinho’s men back for much of the match, and looked deadly going forward, as the Special One endured a torrid maiden Clasico.
Even when Los Blancos did have a spell in possession it wasn’t long before a combination of Xavi and Pedro stripped the ball from their grasp. Seconds later and David Villa was adding a fourth.
Villa got himself a brace of cool finishes as Barca ran rampant to give Jose a welcome he’d remember for a long time.
You can watch full match highlights here.
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