FC BARCELONA VERSUS Real Madrid. A rivalry stepped in history, antipathy and sometimes visceral loathing, will unfold in four more chapters in the next three weeks.
We love a good list, so in true High Fidelity style here are the 10 moments from its recent history. That is merely due to video restrictions. There are one or two good ones on the likes of De Stefano and Cryuff if you are so inclined.
Dream Team 5 Madrid 0
Romario, Laudrup, Stoichkov… Barcelona once had a team that were conceivably as good as the modern day version. Here they rout their great rivals 5-0 in a still celebrated game in Catalonia. Johann Cryuff was manager at the time and matched the score line he inflicted as a player on Real in 1974. Try and not drool at Romario’s turn at the start.
The Dane does revenge
It only took a year. Michael Laudrup crossed the divide between Catalonia and Madrid as was the inspiration behind this 5-0 win for Madrid. Ivan Zamarano deserves a mention too. He did get a hat-trick.
Zizou and Steve Mac settle the semi
We all hope that the forthcoming Champions league semi-final isn’t as straightforward as this. Here Real and Zidane swot aside an ordinary Barca. Real were captained by Fernando Heirro, whom I once met in a shopping centre in Manchester. He said hello, I muttered something incoherent. Watch here
When he was good, my god he was incredible. Watch Ronaldinho tear Madrid apart in a 3-0 win for Barcelona at the Bernabeu. The Brazilian earned the ultimate accolade from Madridistas as they rose to salute him after his performance. Watch here
Luis Figo and the pigs head
He was Barca’s greatest player. A man so outrageously talented, Alex Ferguson wanted to swap David Beckham and a truckful of cash to bring him to Man United.
But Luis Figo chose to leave Barca for Madrid. To join the enemy, and didn’t the Camp Nou let him know just how they felt. He is showered with coke bottles, coins and of course the infamous pig’s head. At least he didn’t wake up with it in his bed in the morning. Watch here
The first stone in Barca’s great house
A guard of honour is painful for any team to endure. But to stand and applaud your great foe as champions in their backyard is about as humiliating as it gets. Barca and Real to their credit handle it with dignity.
Real romped home 4-1 to rub salt in the wounds. Barca never forgot the guard and after this low point came the era of Guardiola and a period of dominance in the fixture.
Hello. My name is Messi
We all knew him of course. A prodigy. But this was arguably the game in which Leo Messi announced himself front and centre to the world. A thrilling 3-3 draw at the Camp Nou was finished when little Leo blasted home the equaliser in stoppage time for his hat-trick. He has done alright since.
Jose and Pep. The musical
I caught this show Crackoiva the last time I was in Barcelona and was transfixed despite not having a clue about what is being said. My guess is Jose and Pep are debating the strengths of 4-3-3 and how best to deploy a false nine.
That or it’s their version of West Side Story. Translations welcome.
A tennis score in Madrid
As convincing as it gets. Barca humiliate Real 6-2 in the Bernabeu to all but seal La Liga in an historic season for them in which they won the lot. This features three centre-half goals. A Henry sidefoot, A Messi toe poke and the confirmation of a major shift in El Clasico.
Total football? Try perfect football
The last and most recent. Anyone who watched Barca blitz Real last November will never forget it. A blur of rapid possession, quick feet and sumptuous skill. We were told Real would be prepared. That Jose would find a way to stifle Barca like he had done with Inter. The special one had no answer. Does he have one now? That is the question.
Read Paul Ring’s diary of the life of a Sunday morning footballer>