There is no bigger club soccer match that is more popular in Spain, Europe the World, and gets only beaten by the Champions League final for the highest rated club match of each season. Here are some of the numbers behind this year’s Barcelona – Real Madrid clash, El Clasico.

This will be the 161st time these two giants meet in the league. Overall record – Real Madrid 68 wins, Barcelona 62, 30 games ended in a draw. It’s been over three years since the last time there was no winner in the match – March 10, 2007 – A classic 3-3 draw at the Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi, only 19 years old, scored a hat trick for Barcelona.

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That was the first hat trick in the El Clasico since Ivan Zamorano scored three in Real Madrid’s 5-0 win over Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on January 7, 1995. Real Madrid won the title that year after four consecutive Barcelona titles during the Cruyff era. A year earlier, January 8, it was Romario who scored a hat trick for Barcelona in their 5-0 win at the Camp Nou.

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The greatest scorer in the history of the clash is Alfredo di Stefano, with 14 goals in league matches between the two. Di Stefano was a big part of the rivalry intensifying during the 1950’s – He played for Colombian signed Millonarios at the time, and has drawn the interest of both clubs. Due to his unclear status – whether he was owned by River Plate or Millonarios, a FIFA representative declared that Barca and Real shall share the rights on Di Stefano and play him in alternate seasons. Eventually, probably due to Franco and the Franco-imposed Barcelona team president, Di Stefano went to Real, for good, winning eight league titles and five consecutive European Cups.

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Real Madrid’s biggest win in the league against the rivals is from way way back in 1935 – an 8-2 victory with four goals by Ildefonso Sanudo Garcia and a hat trick from Jaime Lazcano. Barcelona’s biggest win came 15 years later, a 7-2 victory at the Camp Nou with Cesar Rodriguez Alvarez among the scorers. Cesar is Barca’s all time leading scorer and their top scorer in the Clasico with 12 goals in their league clashes.

The win that stands out the most in recent years and some would say in Barcelona’s history is their 6-2 thrashing of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, a game that pretty much ended the 2008-2009 title race and probably scarred every Real fan for life. In the heat of the moment it was described as Barcelona’s finest performance in their 108 year history, and Joan Laporta said the win meant more and was bigger than their triumph in the Champions League final a month later.

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Speaking of which, Barcelona are currently on a four game winning streak against Real Madrid, sweeping the rivalry during the last two seasons, by coincidence also claiming the league title the last two seasons. Last time Real had such a streak was back in the 1960’s, winning six consecutive matches between September 1962 and February 1965. In recent years, Real did have a 5 match unbeaten streak against Barcelona, starting with their 1-1 draw at Barcelona on April 2006, managing this with 10 men. Their final win of that streak was their famous 4-1 win over Barcelona, with the Barcelona players forced to welcome Real’s players as they went on the pitch after securing the 2007-2008 league title.

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The two other focus points will be the Mega star clash and the head coaches. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two best players on the planet. Who’s better? I guess the trend in the last two season goes with Messi. Messi has scored 7 goals against Real Madrid in his career, while Ronaldo will play in only his third match against Barcelona wearing the white shirt. He still hasn’t seen his team score against Valdez. However, Ronaldo is red hot going into the game, with 14 league goals in 12 matches and 18 in all competitions. Messi is right behind him in the league with 13 goals and better in all competitions with 23, only recently scoring his 100th league goal for Barcelona, and has scored at least one goal in each of his last nine club matches.

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And the head coaches? They don’t like each other. Mourinho showed everybody last year how to beat the perfect Barcelona machine, with a decisive 3-1 win over them at the San Siro and literally built up a fortress at the Camp Nou, coming away with a lot of criticism for the way his team played but with the desired result on his way to a Champions League title. Mourinho was in the cross-hairs against this week with the Ramos-Alonso red card controversy, which wall probably garner him an extra special welcome at the Camp Nou.

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