Five Political El Clasico Clashes

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Real Madrid host Barcelona on Saturday (1200 GMT) in a match more laced with political tension than normal in the aftermath of local elections in Catalonia on Thursday called by the Spanish government to try and dissuade a drive for independence in the region.

 

Here, AFP Sports looks at five other matches where political influence has hung over El Clasico.

Barca’s record defeat

In June of 1943 Barca travelled to Madrid holding a 3-0 first leg lead in the semi-finals of the General’s Cup, a precursor to today’s Copa del Rey.

Barca didn’t just not make the final, they were smashed 11-1 in a record El Clasico defeat that remains to this day.

As the name of the trophy suggests, it was in the early years of General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship after Spain’s brutal civil war (1936-1939).

Years later, Barca players complained of not only being struck by missiles thrown from the crowd by being intimidated by the police and referee.

Di Stefano’s debut

Whilst Barca’s Camp Nou became a haven for Catalan expression that was banned during Franco’s dictatorship (1939-1975), Real Madrid enjoyed a golden age on the pitch including winning the first five European Cups.

Much of that success was down to the signing of star Argentine forward Alfredo di Stefano, who ended up at Madrid after a bureaucratic tug of war between Barca and Real.

Di Stefano had been playing for Colombian side Millonarios but had walked out on River Plate to join them so both clubs had to be compensated, whilst at one point the Spanish federation even decided Di Stefano should be shared by Barca and Madrid on a season-by-season basis.

Barca eventually withdrew from the deal and counted the cost just weeks later as Di Stefano scored twice in a 5-0 thrashing in October 1953 as Real went onto win the league for the first time in 21 years.

The Guruceta scandal

In 1970 Madrid were in the rare situation of needing to win the General’s Cup to qualify for Europe after finishing fourth in La Liga. In the semi-finals they took a 2-0 lead into the second leg against Barca at the Camp Nou.

The Catalans chances of a famous comeback were on course as they led 1-0 on the night until Basque referee Jose Emilio Guruceta Muro awarded a penalty to Madrid for a challenge that didn’t appear to be a foul and occurred well outside the penalty area.

Amancio Amaro converted the spot-kick provoking Barca captain Eladio to confront Guruceta for which he was sent-off.

As the bad blood spilled over towards the end of the match, fans invaded the pitch and with police unable to stem the tide, Guruceta suspended the game five minutes from the end.

Days later Barca were handed the maximum 90,000 peseta ($1,285) fine. However, Guruceta was also banned from refereeing for six months. In the years to come fans would chant “Guruceta” at referees to express their anger at bad decisions.

Freed from Franco

Barca rode a wave of emotion to win the first Clasico following Franco’s death on December 28, 1975.

Carles Rexach, who would go onto be remembered as the man who signed Lionel Messi for Barca, scored the winning goal in the 89th minute for a 2-1 victory that was accompanied by a wash of Catalan flags.

Barca’s own website describes the game as “the most wanted, dreamed of and applauded victory.”

Independence cries in the Camp Nou

In October 2012, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shared four goals as the match ended 2-2, but a spectacle also unfolded off the field that has continued to this day.

A month after 1.5 million people took the streets to support Catalonia’s drive for independence, according to local police forces, chants in favour of independence rang around the Camp Nou in the 17th minute of each half to mark the fall of Catalonia in the Spanish War of Succession in 1714.

That tradition has continued for the past five years and is even more vociferous for every visit by Madrid.

AFP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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