Barcelona can take a “huge step” towards the LaLiga title in this weekend’s Clasico clash with Real Madrid, according to captain Andres Iniesta.
With Barca holding an 11-point lead over Madrid – who have a game in hand – the champions cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to retain hope of defending their title.
Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona head to the capital in fine form, having demolished Deportivo La Coruna last time out, while Madrid may be affected from their exertions at the Club World Cup.
Whatever happens in Saturday’s meeting it promises to be another memorable match – let’s look back at five of the best Clasico meetings it has to live up to…
Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona, May 2009
Losing a Clasico is bad enough, but losing one at home and in such humiliating fashion is something else.
In May 2009, Real Madrid were on a run of 17 wins in 18 matches and got off to a positive start, with Gonzalo Higuain scoring in the 14th minute, before Barcelona took over and blitzed their hosts.
Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi each scored a brace each, while defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique netted one apiece.
That win proved to be the final nail in the coffin of Madrid’s title challenge, as Barca went on to claim LaLiga, Champions League and Copa del Rey success in Pep Guardiola’s first season at the helm.
Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona, April 2017
The last time Barca visited the Bernabeu in LaLiga, Messi stole the show as he inspired a 3-2 win for Luis Enrique’s men.
The Argentinian cancelled out Casmiro’s opener, before Ivan Rakitic put Barca ahead with 17 minutes to go.
Sergio Ramos’ red card for scything Messi down should have ended their hopes, only for James Rodriguez to seemingly salvage Madrid a point five minutes from time.
But Messi brilliantly struck right at the end with his 500th Barcelona goal, before taking off his shirt and holding it out with his name facing the Madrid support in a now iconic celebration.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 26, 2017
Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona, November 2005
Real Madrid fans have seen some truly wonderful players grace the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu, but how many Barca players have had such an impact they have been applauded by the home supporters? Not many, that is for certain.
However, Ronaldinho had that honour in November 2005. The Brazilian superstar produced a remarkable display as Barca tore Madrid apart in an emphatic 3-0 win.
Ronaldinho scored twice, but it was his second that really left that in attendance marvelling, as he jinked past Ramos and Ivan Helguera before producing a rasping finish at the end of a 50-yard run. It will be long remembered as a vintage Clasico goal.
Real Madrid 4-1 Barcelona, May 2008
With Real Madrid already wrapping up the title before Barca’s visit in May 2008, tradition dictated that the Catalan club gave their hosts a guard of honour.
And so, there they stood either side of the Madrid team as they walked on to the pitch, something Carles Puyol later voiced his understandable displeasure at.
Things were to get even more humiliating, as the home side went on to claim a crushing 4-1 win thanks to goals from Raul, Arjen Robben, Higuain and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
“The final stab in the supporters’ back”, read the headline in Catalan newspaper Sport. Barca have ruled out a repeat this weekend despite Madrid’s Club World Cup triumph.
Barcelona will not give Real Madrid a guard of honour ahead of El Clasico.
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