Barcelona vs Real Madrid: The History of Football’s Most Popular Rivalry

La Liga is a fierce league – deemed one of the best in the world, with only the best of the best playing in the squads. Playing for the top teams in the league have been the dreams for many young football players – particularly giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. 

At the beginning of any season, you can bet that the Spanish La Liga betting odds will be in favour of these two as front runners. With good reason too, between the two clubs they’ve claimed 59 championship titles, (Barcelona with 26 and Real Madrid with 33) which left just 28 other titles up for grabs since La Liga began (La Liga didn’t take place in the years 1936-1939 due to the Spanish Civil War).


The two teams have been in constant competition with one another for over a century and although the term ‘El Clásico’ wasn’t adopted until the 21st century, the history of it starts a long time ago and goes way beyond claiming titles.

The region of Catalonia has faced a lot of political heat against the Madrid government, and with Barcelona in the heart of Catalonia, you can imagine both teams quickly absorbed some of the political issues surrounding them both. During the Spanish civil war the presidents of both clubs faced punishments as Josep Sunyol from Barcelona was murdered and Rafael Sánchez-Guerra was imprisoned – this only added to the flame of the rivalry they both shared.

The first match with the two teams facing each other was before La Liga was even established, in 1902 after Madrid FC had been founded by two Catalans living in the capital. The game was in the semi-final of what was officially known as the Concurso Madrid (Madrid Competition) but now is known as the Copa de la Coronación as it was organised to celebrate the coronation of the Spanish King, Alfonso XIII. FC Barcelona won the game 3-1 and thus began the century-long battle for superiority.

The first time the two were in La Liga was its inaugural year of 1929. The two teams had already faced each other in many friendlies and Copa Del Rey games. At the end of the first La Liga season, Barcelona were crowned the winners with Real Madrid as runners up – talk about adding fuel to a fire! Every year from then on it has been a continuous contest to see who can top the table and with every El Clásico that passes by, more and more viewers tune in.

The last time the two teams met was in April for La Liga; Barcelona beat Real Madrid 1-0 with a goal from Ivan Ratitic in the 26th minute. In total the two teams have met 242 times in competition games, with Real Madrid winning 96 and Barcelona winning 96 – talk about a close match! It is because of the similarities in their success that we know every El Clásico is a must-watch event.

Not every El Clásico has been a close call though, there have been some moments where one team has walked all over the other. The biggest win in La Liga was in 1935 when Real Madrid beat Barcelona 8-2, but in more recent years the margins have been kept to just five goals, the most recent in 2010. Now the fixtures of the 2019/20 season in La Liga have been released, you can start booking your social events around the next El Clásicos.

On October 27th 2019 the two teams will meet at Camp Nou, then again on March 1st 2020 at Santiago Bernabeu. Make sure you’re there to witness the next step in La Liga history.