ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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El Clasico: The Battle of Contrasts

The eternal rivalry between football clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid is gripping.

Of all the football games that are watched the world over, none elicits the intensity, passion and appreciation of technical and tactical skills as much as a match between the two seemingly similar but completely different clubs, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Termed the El Clasico (The Classic), the usually half-yearly battle between these supporter-owned but somewhat differently promoted and managed clubs, is that of one between contrasts, both for football and non-football reasons.

Barcelona – affectionately called “Barca” – represents not just a football club (Mes que un Club) but a symbol of Catalan left-wing nationalism, a history of anti-Francoism and a manner of Spanish federal autonomy. Real Madrid is regarded as the symbol of the imperial Spain of the past, the “winningest” club of the 20th century, and a cynosure of the Spanish conservative’s eye. Both these symbolisms are flawed and reductionist; after all, Real Madrid, during the period of Spain’s civil war, was presided over by a socialist who instituted the socio ownership policy for the club, and there were periods in Barcelona’s history when the presidency aligned itself with Franco’s rule.

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