Friday, November 26, 2010

El Clasico 101

Let's Fight!
Okay this isnt a match preview written in glowing terms about the hallowed status of Real Madrid or Barcelona. If you intended to read such a thing, you can do so here (Real Madrid)..or here (Barcelona). Be advised that they are viewpoints written by fans of the respective clubs, and as such may be biased. If you do want a neutral viewpoint, you can also try this. However if you can take sarcasm and criticism you are the right place.

El Clasico 101 is the basic El Clasico guide for dummies. This guide will tell you what El Clasico means, and everything you need to know so that you can watch the match on Monday night having armed yourself with some worthless titbits from this post which will serve you no more than scandalize some fan of either club. So let us begin...

Real Madrid (noun) - is the name of Spain's biggest and most successful football club. They are also famous for owning their own private plane, amongst other things, and they hold the distinct record of top three record breaking transfers in the world of football (1st - Cristiano Ronaldo, 2nd - Kaka, 3rd - Zinedine Zidane). They're also the world's most hated football club and lately are coached by a manager who specializes in using 100% of his brains during football matches and talking out of his ass off the pitch.

FC Barcelona (noun) - is the name of Catalunya's biggest and most successful football club. They do not like themselves to be identified as Spanish, but unfortunately, Catalonia is a an autonomous region which is still part of Spain, which means they've forever had to carry the indistinction of being Spain's second largest and second most successful club. This complex leads them to have tremendous self-importance, which is why they're the self-proclaimed "People's club" whose fanbase includes distinguished personalities like the Pope himself.

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu (noun) - is the name of Real Madrid's football ground. It is an 80,000 seater stadium which has been declared by UEFA as one of the prime football venues. The fans in the stadium are known to be downright fickle and are famous for waving white hankies at their own players and coaching staff. They've also gotten used to FC Barcelona trouncing their team at this ground and understandably so, they've lowered their standards, so much so that they even cheer on 1-0 wins these days. The fans are known as Madridistas.

Camp Nou (noun) - is the name of FC Barcelona's football ground. It is a 98,000 seater stadium, which again contributes to FC Barcelona's self-importance when curiously they use this aspect as a yard stick for judging which club is bigger. The fans here have been witness to Spain's first treble. They are famous for cheering their own team on and for classless acts like throwing pig heads at opposite team players. The fans are also known as Cules (or ass people) because in early days when the fans used to watch the games, a person standing outside the stadium could see a collection of rows of asses stacked over each other.

El Clasico (noun) - A football match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, two of the biggest egomaniacal clubs of the Spanish La Liga, the big 2 so to say, who use their money and status as a non-profit organization (with government backing) to great ill-effect. The ill effects being that the two clubs grow stronger every year while the other teams in the Liga are left way behind in terms of financial strength of the pitch and talent on it. A stream of never ending media bullshit in Spain by the Spanish dailies like Marca, Sport, El Mundo Deportivo, AS, about the two big clubs in Spain means that everyone's second club is either Real Madrid or Barcelona. This is what makes the match big in Spain; the political backdrop of the regions from where both clubs hail, coupled with the strength of both clubs make this spectacle a global one.

Another Prick In The Wall also thinks that its worth mentioning something about the political backdrop in Spain at this point in the post. You see, Real Madrid are not the most hated only for their success, but also because they're the "establishment" club, i.e. a club run by the ruling establishment. In the days before democracy, when Spain was under the king's rule, they were one of the first clubs to have the King's patronage and sparks flew. Being found in Madrid was such a crime and I bet those who found the club wouldnt be able to bear the indignity and shame that it would have brought them by now. You see, my dear dummies, the club was founded by people from Barcelona and this is a fact you do not see advertised by either clubs for obvious reasons. After the king (or kings) rolled over in their graves, Franco arrived. Being in Madrid, Real Madrid automatically became Francisco Madrid in the eyes of all those autonomies whom he oppressed at the time. The club's success at the time of Franco's tenure meant that many colorful stories of legend were born, some saying that Franco and his henchmen would wait in the dugout with guns and threaten Barcelona players to lose. If Franco was asked about it today, I'm very confident that he'd reply, "I was busy censoring, torturing, oppressing and slaughtering the nation to be bothered by fixing matches". Real Madrid's success served as a vessel for propoganda, but to think that the Franco regime was actively involved in fixing matches is preposterous. Anyway, it's these legends that give the match a colorful tone. To this day, a Barcelona victory against Real Madrid is seen as a victory of the freedom fighters (note the self-importance) against the establishment. Some people even go the extent of pointing out Real Madrid's lack of success post the Franco regime, conveniently ignoring the important fact that Real have won the same number of European trophies as that of Barca and more leagues than Barca since then.

But enough of the Real band trumpeting; lets get back to the present. The present era sees FC Barcelona in probably the best time in their history. They have a youth academy which is the envy of the world, they have a starting 11, 7 of whom lifted the World Cup this year and they have the world's best player in Lionel Messi. Real on the other hand, have been hammmered by Barcelona in the last four outings, have spent close to 300 million eurs on new signings over 2 seasons (300 million euros is a price for which you can purchase entire football clubs!), have hired probably the world's best manager and are looking to finally lay their ghosts to rest by defeating Barca in the upcoming match.


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