As I was researching what to include in the top 10 greatest El Clasico’s, I realized that there are way too many worthy games to put on this list. I’m sure I have left off some your favorites so I’m sorry in advance. I wanted to mix in history, great individual performances and great games to create a well rounded list so enjoy.
1) Alfredo Di Stefano’s First El Clasico – October 25, 1953 – Real Madrid 5-0 Barcelona
This requires a little backstory. During a players strike in Argentina, both Barcelona and Real Madrid were looking to sign Alfredo Di Stefano. Because of some confusion following the strike, both teams claimed they had signed Di Stefano. Di Stefano was, and still is, one of the greatest soccer players ever so this was an important decision in the future of both teams. It was agreed, at first, that Di Stefano would alternate teams every other year. After a few games, Barcelona’s president “voluntarily” decided to let Real keep Di Stefano and the rest was history. In his first game, Di Stefano scored the first and last goals to give Real a 5-0 victory. Real would go on to win the first five European Cups starting in 1956.
2) Johan Cruyff’s Hat Trick – February 17, 1974 – Real Madrid 0-5 Barcelona
The man who personified “Total Football,” Johan Cruyff also made a rather big statement in his first El Clasico. He decided to match Di Stefano and score a hat trick as they turned that same 5-0 score around on Real Madrid. While he didn’t have as decorated of a Barcelona player career as Di Stefano did playing for Real, Cruyff instituted “Total Football” on Barcelona when he was manager. Much of Barcelona’s success since the 90’s can be attributed to Cruyff giving the team an entire makeover into “Total Football.”
(You can click on the video to go to YouTube and links to the goals are there if you don’t feel like watching the entire game)
3) 1916 Copa del Rey Semifinal – March 26 to April 15, 1916 – Real Madrid Advanced
This game is hard to believe because it took four games to complete. Before having aggregates and PK shootouts to determine a winner, Barcelona and Real Madrid just played and played and played in the Copa del Rey. Game 1 ended 2-1 Barcelona and Game 2 ended 4-1 Real. Because each team won a game each, a tiebreaker game was played. Since that game ended 6-6 after extra time, they played a 4th game two days later and Real finally won 4-2. While Real Madrid failed to win the Copa del Rey that year, they surely got to the final in the most unique way possible.
4) Ronaldinho’s Standing Ovation at the Bernabeu – November 19, 2005 – Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona
Imagine this Saturday, Lionel Messi scores a hat trick at the Bernabeu and receives a standing ovation from the Real Madrid crowd. Yeah, I’m not holding my breath either. It has happened to Ronaldinho though. He scored two fantastic goals starting at midfield and Real fans had to appreciate what they were seeing.
5) Messi’s First El Clasico Hat Trick – March 10, 2007 – Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid
I am only about three months younger than Lionel Messi. We both played youth soccer and that’s about where the similarities end. When we were 19, I was in my first year of college trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Messi on the other hand, scored a hat trick during El Clasico. Still a teenager, Messi was already a legend. To see what he has become and what he used to do, you realize every game that you’re looking at a special player.
6) 1960 European Cup Semifinals – April 21 and 27, 1960 – Real Madrid Advanced 6-2 on Aggregate
At this point, Real Madrid won the first four European Cups. Real met Barcelona in the semifinal and this was Barcelona’s time to end Real’s stranglehold on Europe. Barcelona couldn’t do it and Real walked all over Barcelona. Both games ended 3-1 and Real was on its way to a 5th title and shut out everyone else.
7) The Dream Team – January 8, 1994 – Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid
This was the Johan Cruyff team that started the decades of current success for Barcelona. This team won the European Cup in 1992 and won four straight La Liga titles starting in 1991. This game was no contest. It was pretty much over before they walked on the field and Barcelona overpowered Real.
8) Embarrassment at Camp Nou – November 29, 2010 – Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid
In 2010, Barcelona and Real Madrid were widely regarded as two of the best teams in the world. On this day, one of those teams lived up to that. Barcelona took Real to the cleaners in every way. They got the win for one thing, but Barcelona also had 67% possession, and over 350 more passes than Real. Barcelona just had too much fun that day.
9) The Barcelona Treble – May 2, 2009 – Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona
Barcelona capped off a remarkable treble winning season by demolishing Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. The game had its share of goals and great performances, but it’s much more remembered for the season Barcelona had as a whole.
10) The Last Pasillo – May 7, 2008 – Real Madrid 4-1 Barcelona
The “pasillo” is when a team clinches the league title and the other team honors the champion by giving a guard of honor before the game. It’s a sign of respect and form of congratulations for winning La Liga. Real Madrid had won the La Liga title that year and didn’t let off the gas. They went on through and beat Barcelona 4-1.