A clásico as crucial as it is unusual at the Camp Nou: behind closed doors due to the pandemic, a FC Barcelona in crisis and a Real Madrid under pressure are facing each other for the first time without an audience on Saturday in La Liga (16:00), with the obligation to win in order not to sink.
For the most watched club match in the world with 650 million viewers expected according to the Spanish League (LaLiga), the largest stadium in Europe and its 99,000 seats will be empty: due to the pandemic of Covid-19, the poster between Barça and Real will have no witnesses in the stands, a first in the history of this rivalry more than a century.
“Any soccer match loses its importance if it is played without an audience,” Javier Tebas, the head of the Spanish Football League (LaLiga), admitted in an interview with AFP. “But the clasico remains the clasico. It is the most important soccer match between clubs in the world,” he said.
In a country often polarized on this match, even the bars and the usual places where fans gather around the stadium will be closed. Fans from all over the world will have to follow the exploits of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema and others on television.
As the epidemic is regaining ground in Spain, where there have been more than three million cases, “the situation is serious,” summarized the head of the Spanish government Pedro Sanchez.
A heavy atmosphere
It is in this heavy atmosphere that the two mastodons of Spanish soccer will confront each other on Saturday afternoon.
And no certainty accompanies the two teams: FC Barcelona remains mired in one of the “most serious crises of its recent existence” according to the Spanish media, with management still in the hot seat, while Real de Zinédine Zidane, crowned Spanish champion with authority in July, has lost some of its superb.
Last weekend, Barça took a knee to Getafe (1-0 defeat), which brought criticism to Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé, Barça’s two French strikers deemed too ineffective. However, the Catalan club managed to get back on their feet immediately by beating Hungarian club Ferencvaros 5-1 in the first day of the Champions League on Tuesday
FC Barcelona – Real Madrid: The Clasico in 10 statistics
This Saturday (16:00), the two most successful clubs in the Spanish championship will face each other in the most eagerly awaited confrontation of the year. Zoom on the most striking statistics of this clash with worldwide media resonance.
- Number of Clasicos played: 180
Of the 180 encounters between the two clubs since the 1928-1929 season, Real Madrid have won 72 times and FC Barcelona 73 times for 35 draws between the two teams in La Liga.
- Top scorer of the Clasico: Lionel Messi – 26
With 26 pawns scored against the long-time rival, Lionel Messi is by far the top scorer in the history of the Clasicos, ahead of Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano and Cristiano Ronaldo (18 goals).
- The player who played the most in the Clasico: Sergio Ramos – 44
With 44 confrontations played against his long-time rival, the captain of Real Madrid, still active, narrowly outstripped Lionel Messi and Manolo Sanchis (43) and Francisco Gento and Xavi Hernandez (42).
- The most prolific Clasico: 10 goals Lionel Messi
To find such an avalanche of goals, we have to go back to the 1942-1943 season where the two teams had separated on the impressive score of 5-5.
- The fastest goal: Karim Benzema – 21 seconds
On Saturday, December 10, 2011, Karim Benzema scored the fastest goal of all the confrontations between the two clubs, only 21 seconds after the kick-off in Santiago-Bernabéu. A goal that will not prevent Real from losing 3-1.
- The fastest goal for a substitute : Mariano Diaz – 50 seconds
On March 2, the Real Madrid striker scored a goal on his first touchdown after coming on at the 91st minute. The previous record was set in 2008, Higuain scored 58 seconds after coming on.
- Most red cards: Sergio Ramos – 5
You certainly had suspicions between Sergio Ramos or Pepe concerning this record, but it is the current captain of the White House who holds the record of red cards during the Clasico with 5 returns to the locker room counted.
- Total goals scored in the Clasicos in La Liga: 576
If the stat does not seem striking at first glance, it is even more so when you consider that each of the two teams scored exactly the same number of goals as their rival in the La Liga confrontations between the two clubs (288).
- Barça’s biggest home win: 7-2
FC Barcelona, which receives at the Camp Nou its best enemy this Saturday, must go back to the year 1950 to find its greatest success against Real Madrid (7-2).
- Real’s biggest away win: 5-3
As for Real, he had to go back to 1960 to find traces of his greatest victory at the Camp Nou against Barça. The Merengue had won by a score of 5-1.