I’m insanely in love with the beautiful game called football. In fact, football is more than just a game to me, it’s an art that has to be appreciated just like any of the other fine arts. The strength, discipline, strategy, intelligence, skills and all the other variables that overlap in making football as charming as it is are to fans just like ingredients of the best meals are to your stomach!
As is the case with quality food, not all football games live up to fans expectations. Some lack the necessary ingredients and taste really bad! However, there is this one single game that guarantees fans a world-class show in the art of football. A game that keeps the world of football on alert days before it starts and days after it finishes; El Clasico.
This classic game opposes two of the world’s strongest teams; Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The rivalry between these two teams goes back in time to the beginning of the 20th century. However, this rivalry isn’t just a sporting rivalry, it’s a manifestation of the historical, political and social problems that have always marked the Castilian-Catalan relationships.
Real Madrid is representative of the Spanish Monarchy, hence the name “REAL” meaning “Royal”, whereas FC Barcelona is a team that stands for the Catalans’ aspirations for a nation independent from the Spanish crown. Therefore, the club is the Catalans’ way of saying that their land is not a part of Spain. In other words, one can say that El Clásico is today’s pacific alternative to armed revolutions where the Catalan revolts faced the ruling monarch’s army in the seventieth century, which explains the great importance of this game to all of Spain.
As a matter of fact, there are many derbies in the world of football worldwide than I can count. However, none of them matches the ferocious competition in Madrid and Barça games. Each team tries to outdo the other on all levels. They both spend millions of Euros on their youth academies in the hope of producing local world-class players, but as this is not always achievable, they start another “crazy” race, which is the race of contracting the world’s most expensive and most skillful players.
These two teams’ thirst for titles and for outdoing each other has been playing a vital role in keeping them on the top of world’s football. Hence, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have signed players from all over the world. Some of these players have become each club’s icons like the case of Johan Cruyff with Barcelona, and Alfredo Di Stefano with Real Madrid. However, there is a list of some players who have been labelled “traitors” because they switched teams. The most controversial case is that of the Portuguese Luis Figo who signed for Real Madrid in 2000. Upon his return to Barcelona for a game against his old team. Barça fans threw all kinds of objects at him including a pig’s head! Meanwhile, other fans burnt photographs of him wearing Real Madrid’s jersey.
Truth to be told, I, as a football fan, and as a Real Madrid fan in particular, don’t really care about the complicated history that makes this game so special to Spaniards. I care more about the beauty of the play on the ground, the magic that the players spread each time they touch the ball. The dribbling, the speed, the passing, the skills and the tactics employed by the coaches are what makes the show irresistible to me. The sensations this game is capable of giving are beyond description.
I pray for my team to win before every game. I close my eyes whenever the opponent team gets a close free-kick or a penalty. I get sad, might even cry, when we lose and I get euphoric when we win. These are sensations that nothing else can ignite in me.
Both teams have great players, probably the best players in the world at the present time. When footballers of the caliber of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta from Barcelona, and C. Ronaldo, Özil and X. Alonso from Real Madrid are on the same pitch, one can only lay back and wait for magic to happen on the green theater.
I know that many people don’t understand football fans, but football fans understand each other. 🙂
Here is a Youtube video to some sensational Real Madrid and Barcelona moments: El Clásico