With La Liga due to restart in a week’s time, and one of the tightest title races in recent years about to recommence; Real Madrid and Barcelona must be itching to get going.
Barcelona have a slim lead of just two points over their long time rivals, and with both El Clásico’s for the season done and dusted, it will now come down to who can hold their nerve against the teams below them in the remaining 11 fixtures.
But El Clásico remains the highlight of Spanish football and perhaps the European game as a whole. So with that in mind, we’ve had a look back at the very best we’ve witnessed in the last ten or so years. Fasten your seatbelts.
Jose Mourinho’s spell at Real Madrid didn’t produce too many El Clásico victories but this is one glaring exception and it all but secured his first and only La Liga title with the club.
Sami Khedira put Los Blancos one up but his goal was cancelled out by Alexis Sánchez almost immediately. And then in true Ronaldo fashion, Cristiano Ronaldo smashed home the winner and told the Camp Nou to be quiet.
Hardly a close encounter this, but never the less a fiesty, entertaining match that had everything. It was Mourinho’s first season at the Bernabeu and Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona made sure it was not a success.
David Villa hit two and goals from Xavi, Pedro and Jeffren silenced the travelling Madrid fans. Sergio Ramos summed up the mood of the away side by mowing down Lionel Messi and collecting a red card for his troubles.
“Jordi Alba, LIONEL MESSIIIIII!!!! Oh my goodness, Lionel Messi has done it again he’s superhuman!” is probably all you need to hear about this league fixture in 2013.
Casemiro put Madrid ahead before Messi and Rakitić put Barca on top. Ramos was sent off for fouling Messi, again, and then against the run of play, James Rodríguez secured what Madrid thought was a point stealing equaliser. The Argentinian magician had other ideas though and hit the miraculous winner deep into injury time.
Mourinho’s first trophy at the Bernabeu as Real edged out their rivals in a tense Copa del Rey final in 2011. It was a close encounter, with both sides spurning chances to score in both halves before Ronaldo came up trumps for Los Blancos.
The Portuguese forward lept so high, he utterly dwarfed Barca’s defence and in the 113th minute, the game and the cup was Madrid’s. That was until Ramos dropped it off the bus during the trophy parade.
Oh boy, I bet Gareth Bale wishes he could turn back time now. The Welshman may well be on his way out of the Bernabeu very soon, but at least he has this magical moment to define his stay in the Spanish capital.
Has anyone seen Marc Bartra – who actually scored in the match – since the Copa del Rey final of 2014? Because he got so very lost trying to chase Bale, who displayed one the greatest turns of pace seen this century, to fly down the left and bury the winner.
One of the tastiest Mourinho vs. Guardiola fixtures on this list. The rivalry and mind games were rife and a place in the Champions League final was at stake when the sides met in Madrid in 2011.
Mourinho tried some left-field defensive tactics to thwart Barcelona but it backfired when Pepe was sent off and the Blaugrana took full advantage. Messi hit the two crucial away goals including a phenomenal dance through the Real defensive line for the second. Barca would go on to win the trophy a month later.
The greatest El Clásico ever? I mean, this match from 2014 had virtually everything. Iniesta fired Barcelona ahead after seven minutes before Benzema hit two to give Madrid a deserved lead.
Messi equalised before Ronaldo put Los Blancos ahead for the second time. Then Ramos did the inevitable and got himself sent off and Messi hit two successive penalties to secure himself a hat-trick and Barcelona; a historic and electrifying victory.