Who Plays The Sunday Night Football Game This Week FC Barcelona’s Arch-Rival – The History of Real Madrid

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FC Barcelona’s Arch-Rival – The History of Real Madrid

Real Madrid – FIFA ‘Team of the Century’; 31 league titles; 9 European Cups; several UEFA cups and world club championship titles.

Also, bizarrely, it is a club that has cultivated a habit of replacing successful managers in recent years. Jupp Heynckes left four weeks after winning the Champions League, Fabio Capello and Bernd Schuster won the title before one was essentially sacked for being too defensive and the other for being too reckless. The award, however, for what it’s worth, goes to Vicente Del Bosque, the current manager of the national team, who was fired the day after winning the league in the hotel room where his players were having a celebratory dinner!

Real Madrid was founded in 1897 when a number of students and lecturers at Institucion Libre de Ensenanza started playing friendly matches on Sunday morning. From these humble beginnings, Madrid Football Club was born in 1902 – receiving its royal patronage and club name in 1920 from King Alfonso XIII. The club became a founding member of the Spanish League in 1929 – when Barca won the inaugural title and El Clasico, as the game between the two clubs is known in Spain – started in earnest.

From the beginning, the rivalry was intense, but it developed significantly in the years after the Civil War. There are, of course, many stories about the way in which the Franco government promoted the interests of Real Madrid in order to develop its and Spain’s international prestige. Also, the way Barcelona tried to maintain its Catalan identity at a time when the language and flag were banned is well told. Barça has become ‘More than a club’ and a phrase Asi gana el Madrid – that’s how Madrid wins – has become part of Spanish sports knowledge.

There are, however, two of these stories that perhaps shed the most light on the situation in those difficult times.

In 1942, Barcelona won the Spanish Cup – now known as the Cope del Rey, but later renamed the Copa del Generalisimo. The following season they faced Real in the semi-finals over two legs and won the first leg convincingly, three goals to nil, despite their star player, Escola, being sidelined. The second leg, however, was a rather different affair – completing a stunning 11-1 run for Madrid. Not only was the head of State Security famous for visiting the Barca dressing room before the match to tell some players that their right to remain in Spain was being reviewed, but players were sent off in the first few minutes. sure the rest of the team got the right message!

Another classic example of how Barcelona feel they suffered during the Franco years concerns perhaps the most famous player to ever wear a Real Madrid shirt – Alfredo Di Stefano, who remains an icon in the Madrid hierarchy. In 1953, the Argentine centre-forward, described by Bobby Charlton as the most intelligent player he had ever seen, was signed by Barcelona from his Colombian club Milonarios. After di Stefano appeared in a few friendlies, and after an involved and hidden series of ‘negotiations’, the Spanish FA declared the transfer void and the player was triumphantly unveiled by Madrid. Two weeks later, he made his debut in a 5-0 win over Barcelona at the Bernabeu – scoring four goals and beginning his journey to legendary status.

Even the transfer of Luis Figo in 2000 pales into insignificance compared to the machinations involved in the di Stefano move.

With such a fierce and ongoing rivalry between these two giant clubs, this puts the events of Barcelona’s 3-0 away win in 2000 into even more dramatic perspective; that night when Madrid fans rose to their feet and applauded Ronaldinho after perhaps his best performance in club colours.

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