The Top 5 Clásico’s of the last decade

El Clásico more than warrants its name considering its rich history of quality, ferocity and controversy when Barcelona and Real Madrid meet. The fixture has thrown up some incredible games over the past decade involving the greatest players and managers on the planet.

 

  1. Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid, 2010

Jose Mourinho’s first Clásico as manager of Real Madrid ended in humiliation for the two-time Champions League winner as Pep Guardiola’s Barça ran riot at Camp Nou. With the dynamic and controlling midfield trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets, the hosts tortured Los Blancos and passed them to death. Xavi opened the scoring with a cute flick and finish before Pedro flew in at the back post to meet David Villa’s cross. Tempers flared before half time as Cristiano Ronaldo shoved Guardioa on the touchline before Iniesta intervened.

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Ricardo Carvalho’s elbow on Lionel Messi went unpunished but Real Madrid’s poor defending did succumb to further punishment in the second half. Messi’s extraordinary vision was in plain sight as two sumptuous through balls found Villa and the Spaniard’s strikes took the score to 4-0. Madrid were often criticised for their failing academy, with very few players reaching the first team, and that point was underlined when two La Masia products, Bojan and Jeffren, combined to make it 5-0 in stoppage time. Perhaps it isn’t surprising to hear that Sergio Ramos lost his rag in the closing stages, hacking at Messi before shoving Carles Puyol and Xavi in the face after receiving his marching orders.

 

  1. Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid, 2012

After a season in Barcelona’s shadow, Jose Mourinho earned his redemption at Camp Nou while leading his Madrid team past their rivals for the first time in years. In search of their first La Liga title for four seasons, Los Blancos went ahead through Sami Khedira in a first half largely dominated by Mourinho’s men. They seemed to finally be breaking the Barça code. However, the hosts hit back after half time with a flurry of chances of their own.

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Alexis Sanchez eventually forced the ball over the line after pinball in Iker Casillas’s penalty area to draw Barcelona level. With the momentum firmly with the Catalan side, it looked as though Madrid would have to wait for their first league win over the ‘blaugrana’ since 2007. But, the Clásico is one of the most unpredictable matches on the planet and it didn’t divert down the expected path once more. Ronaldo, the villain as far as the home crowd were concerned, delicately clipped the ball past Victor Valdes to secure all three points for Real before signalling to the crowd to ‘calm down’.

 

  1. Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona, 2017

Zinedine Zidane’s European Champions were on the verge of their first La Liga title for five years. A win over Luis Enrique’s Barcelona at the Bernabéu would leave their Catalan counterparts too far behind and effectively end the title race. Casemiro slid in at the back post to put the hosts in front before Marcelo left Messi with a bloody mouth following an accidental elbow to the face. Messi, bandage in mouth, slotted past Keylor Navas to level the scores before half time.

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Ronaldo and Suarez missed golden chances after the break, leaving Ivan Rakitic to swivel and fire into the far corner from the edge of the box to put the current holders in front. Surprisingly, Sergio Ramos saw red for a lunging tackle on Messi but Madrid managed to equalise through the sporadically-used James Rodriguez. As the game looked to be heading towards a draw, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba launched a thrilling counter attack that ended with Messi guiding the ball into the back of the net before celebrating by lifting his shirt up in front of the Bernabéu crowd.

 

  1. Barcelona 3-2 Real Madrid, 2011

Sandwiched in between Mourinho’s humiliation and redemption is this Super Copa tie that’s remembered for everything but its football. Iniesta’s chip over Casillas put Barça in front before Ronaldo equalised. Messi restored Barcelona’s lead just before half time and put them ahead on aggregate (the first leg ended 2-2). Karim Benzema scrambled one past Victor Valdes to level the game up before Messi struck 3 minutes from time to secure the win.

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Despite a topsy-turvy game ending with 5 goals, the ugly scenes at the end are far more recognisable to any football fan. A shameful tackle on Cesc Fabregas from Marcelo sparked a mass brawl beside the benches which culminated in red cards for Marcelo and Mesut Ozil. Cameras caught Mourinho poking Barcelona assistant and future manager Tito Vilanova in the eye and the Madrid boss was subsequently banned.

 

  1. Real Madrid 3-4 Barcelona, 2014

In the only season during the last decade where neither club won La Liga, they played out one of the most exciting club matches in recent times at the Bernabéu. Iniesta found the roof of the net with a powerful drive to give Barça an early lead before Valdes failed to keep Benzema’s header out. The Frenchman netted again minutes later with a quick two-touch finish, volleying past Valdes from close range. Not for the first time, Messi’s performance went up a notch as he hauled his team back into contention with a calm finish to equalise before half time.

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Tensions rose with controversial refereeing decisions taking centre stage. Dani Alves brought down Ronaldo, allowing the Portuguese forward to put the hosts back ahead. Up the other end, Neymar was brought down by Ramos giving Messi his second from the penalty spot. Messi struck from the spot again to pull Barça into the lead late on after Iniesta was sandwiched by Dani Carvajal and Xabi Alonso in the box. The game ended 4-3 and is the second highest scoring Clásico since Barcelona’s 6-2 thrashing of Madrid in 2009.

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