One of the highlights of every football season, regardless of how both clubs are doing. When Barcelona and Real Madrid clash, it always means something and world stands still. Bigger than just Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, some of the numbers in this rivalry help explain what’s so great about it and what is at stake.
This will be the 228th official match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, meeting competitively for the first time in 1916 in the Copa Del Rey. Their first league encounter took place on February 17, 1929. Real Madrid won that match 2-1 with a brace from Rafael Morera Lopez. Real Madrid lead the head to heat with 91 wins to the 88 Barcelona have. The encounter has ended in a draw 48 times.
This is by far the most popular club match in the world, drawing over 400 million viewers around the world when the two teams met last March in the league, with Barcelona winning 4-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu, completing a league double over Real Madrid for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. The last time Real Madrid won both matches against Barcelona was in the 2007-2008 season.
It’s not quite clear if Xavi will be starting for Barcelona, but it’s more than likely that he will make an appearance. If and when he does, it’ll be his 41st Clasico appearance, the most among active players. The all-time leader is Manuel Sanchis of Real Madrid, who retired in 2001. He is followed by Francisco Gento with 42 appearances. Iker Casillas is Real’s active leader with 34 Clasico appearances.
Lionel Messi is the all-time leader in goals scored in this matchup, in the league and overall, with 14 league goals (tied at the top with Di Stefano), five in the Super Cup and two more in the Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo is 7th on the all-time list with 13 goals against Barcelona, five of them in La Liga. Ronaldo had just one goal in two league matches against them last season, while Messi finished with three, scoring a hat trick in the second encounter, two from the penalty spot.
That’s the longest undefeated run in league Clasicos between the two teams, achieved by Barcelona from December 2008 to December 2011, winning six of seven matches against Real Madrid and drawing one thanks to a controversial penalty in the final minutes during a visit to the Santiago Bernabeu. Barcelona are currently on a two-game winning streak in the league, although Real Madrid had the upper hand when the two teams met in the Copa Del Rey Final, winning 2-1.
From February 15, 1959 to September 19, 1969, Real Madrid scored in 22 consecutive matches against Barcelona. Barcelona’s longest streak is 17 matches, and they’re currently on a 16-match streak of scoring at least once. Real Madrid are on a 15-match scoring streak when facing Barcelona, which pretty much assures us we’re going to see at least two goals.