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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Barcelona v Real Madrid: Five facts you may not know about el clasico

Sunday's encounter will be the 238th meeting between the two sides

Luis Suarez and his Barcelona teammates head into el clasico aiming to defeat rivals Real Madrid without injured captain Lionel Messi. AFP
Luis Suarez and his Barcelona teammates head into el clasico aiming to defeat rivals Real Madrid without injured captain Lionel Messi. AFP

On Sunday, Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet for the first time this season as the reigning Spanish champions welcome their European counterparts to the Camp Nou.

In one of the most historic rivalries in football, the upcoming clasico will be the 238th meeting between Barca and Madrid. The Catalan giants enter the tie top of the Primera Liga table and with a four-point lead over seventh-placed Madrid.

Ahead of the match, here are five facts about el clasico that you may not already know:

1) The first four meetings were between FC Barcelona and ‘Madrid CF.’ It wasn’t until 1920 that the Real prefix was given to the capital city club by King Alfonso XIII; ‘Real’ translates as “Royal” in English.

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2) Real Madrid boast the record for the largest-ever margin of victory in this fixture, after picking up an 11-1 win in a Copa del Rey clash in 1943. The tension surrounding that game was so high that it is considered by many as one of the catalysts for the animosity between the two teams.

3) Not since a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou in 2002 has there been a clasico without at least a goal. Since then there have been 152 goals across 46 fixtures, so hopes are high for goals on Sunday.

4) They’ve not only battled on the pitch but have also regularly competed for players in the transfer market. There are recent cases such as Neymar, Andre Gomes and Dani Ceballos, but the most famous transfer battle was for Alfredo Di Stefano. Real Madrid came out on top and the rest – including five European Cups – is history.

5) Not many players represent both clubs during their career, but current Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui is one of the few to have done so. Although he never took part in a clasico during his career as a goalkeeper, he was at Real Madrid from 1988-91 and Barcelona between 1994-97. Other high-profile players to turn out for both clubs include Luis Figo, Bernd Schuster, Ronaldo, Javier Saviola, Michael Laudrup Samuel Eto'o, and Luis Enrique - the former Barcelona manager who succeeded Lopetegui as Spain head coach.