There is often a fierce rivalry between the two strongest teams in a national league, and this is particularly the case in La Liga, where the game between Real Madrid and Barcelona is known as 'The Classic' (El Clasico). From the start of national competitions the clubs were seen as representatives of two rival regions in Spain: Catalonia and Castile, as well as of the two cities. The rivalry reflects what many regard as the political and cultural tensions felt between Catalans and the Castilians, seen by one author as a re-enactment of the Spanish Civil War.
During the dictatorships of Primo de Rivera and especially of Francisco Franco (1939-1975), all regional cultures were suppressed. All of the languages spoken in Spanish territory, except Spanish (Castilian) itself, were officially banned. Symbolising the Catalan people's desire for freedom, Barcelona became 'More than a club' for the Catalans. According to Manuel Vazquez Montalban, the best way for the Catalans to demonstrate their identity was by joining Barcelona. It was less risky than joining a clandestine anti-Franco movement, and allowed them to express their dissidence.
On the other hand, Real Madrid was widely seen as the embodiment of the sovereign oppressive centralism and the fascist regime at management level and beyond (Santiago Bernabeu, the former club president for whom the Merengues stadium is named, fought with los nacionales). However, during the Spanish Civil War, members of both clubs such as Josep Sunyol and Rafael Sanchez Guerra suffered at the hands of Franco supporters.
During the 1950s the rivalry was exacerbated further when there was a controversy surrounding the transfer of Alfredo di Stefano, who finally played for Real Madrid and was key to their subsequent success. The 1960s saw the rivalry reach the European stage when they met twice at the knock-out rounds of the European Cup. In 2002, the European encounter between the clubs was dubbed the "Match of The Century" by Spanish media, and was watched by more than 500 million people.
The club's nearest neighbour is Atletico Madrid, a rivalry being shared between fans of both football teams. Although Atletico was originally founded by three Basque students in 1903, it was joined in 1904 by dissident members of Madrid FC. Further tensions came because initially Real supporters came from the middle class while the Atletico supporters were drawn from the working class. Today these distinctions are largely blurred. They met for the first time on 21 February 1929 in matchday three of the first League Championship at the former Chamartin. It was the first official derby of the new tournament, and Real won 2-1. The rivalry first gained international attention in 1959 during the European Cup when the two clubs met in the semi-final. Real won the first leg 2-1 at the Bernabeu while Atletico won 1-0 at the Metropolitano. The tie went to a replay and The Whites won 2-1. Atletico, however, gained some revenge when, led by former Real Madrid coach Jose Villalonga, it defeated The Whites in two successive Copa del Generalisimo finals in 1960 and 1961.
|Date & Time||Match||Results|
|19 Aug 2012|
|Real Madrid vs Valencia||1:1|
|26 Aug 2012|
|Getafe vs Real Madrid||2:1|
|02 Sep 2012|
|Real Madrid vs Granada||3:0|
|15 Sep 2012|
|Sevilla vs Real Madrid||1:0|
|23 Sep 2012|
|Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid||Postponed|
|24 Sep 2012|
|Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid||0:2|
|30 Sep 2012|
|Real Madrid vs Deportivo||5:1|
|07 Oct 2012|
|Barcelona vs Real Madrid||2:2|
|20 Oct 2012|
|Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo||2:0|
|28 Oct 2012|
|Mallorca vs Real Madrid||0:5|
|03 Nov 2012|
|Real Madrid vs Zaragoza||4:0|