El Clasico: Barça vs. Madrid

Football’s greatest rivalry… the history… and how to get tickets!

By Duncan Rhodes

What happens when football’s two most celebrated sides go head to head… it’s more than just a match!

FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

El Clasico, or ‘The Classic’, is the name given to football’s greatest rivalry and one of the world’s most popular sporting events… FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid.

On the surface the game represents the two greatest footballing teams in Spain – some would say the world – which would make it an arresting enough contest in it’s own right. What sports fan wouldn’t want to see talents like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo go head to head? But underneath the surface there is much more at stake.

FC Barcelona‘s motto has always been Mes que un club, or ‘More Than a Club’ and, in the face of oppression of the Catalan culture, a victory for Barcelona was seen as more than just a sporting victory – it was seen as a battle won in the war of Catalan vs. Spanish nationalism. This political aspect of El Clasico can’t be understated, as during the Franco era (which lasted from 1939 to 1975), the Catalan culture and language were actively repressed by Spain’s centralist dictator who banned the teaching of Catalan in schools and the use of the language in any official or public capacity. In these difficult times for the region, love of FC Barcelona was one of the only ways Catalans could express their regional identity and for them Real Madrid, with their ties to the capital, Spanish monarchy and Franco himself, represented their oppressors and with it Spanish arrogance.

Whilst Catalonia’s position as an Autonomous Region of Spain is much preferable to those darker days, the recent cries for full independence means that the political significance of El Clasico has no doubt lost little of the piquancy of old… it’s always a full-blooded, and often bad-tempered contest, with both Catalan and Spanish pride at stake.

Not only that, but as both Barcelona and Real Madrid typically play at a level above the next best teams in Spain, the team that fares better in the two Clasicos of the season (the home and away fixtures of La Liga, played in Camp Nou and the Bernabeu Stadium) often go on to win the league.

Tickets for FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

Naturally tickets for El Clasico are rarer than gold dust… I mean anyone can grind up a bit of gold into small particles, but show me the man with a spare ticket to Barca vs. Madrid! Your best bet is to study La Liga schedule and buy your tickets through a reputable ticket booking agency ahead of time. If you’re quick you may even be able to buy them via the two team’s official sites:



Where to watch El Clasico in Barcelona

If you can’t snag seats at Camp Nou and you want to watch the game, don’t worry every bar in the city will be showing it. For a list of our favourite sports pubs keep reading.

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