Tonight's El Clasico clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou promises to be spellbinding. In the reverse fixture on November 21, 2015, it was Barcelona Barcelona who triumphed 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabau.
Across the world, millions of football fans will watch with keen interest Completesportsnigeria.com's IZUCHUKWU OKOSI presents 20 interesting facts and statistics ahead of this Spanish classic tonight.
264 EL CLASICOS, AND STILL COUNTING
1. There has been 263 meetings (231 competitive and 33 exhibition games) between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Tonight's El Clasico makes it the 264th clash. The first El Clasico was played on May 13, 1902
AFRICAN STARS IN PAST EL CLASICO WARS
2. Emmanuel Amunike
Former Super Eagles winger and 1994 African Footballer Emmanuel Amuneke played in three El clasico matches and would have played more but injuries hampered his stay with the Catalan club.
3. Samuel Eto'O
Four-time African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto'O played a game in Madrid’s colour before joining RCD Mallorca where he established himself as a cult hero in his 4- year stay at the club.
The Antalayaspor of Turkey striker became the club's all time top scorer before moving to Barcelona for £18.14m in 2004.
Eto'O played a total of eight games and scored four goals past his former teammate Iker Casillas.
4. Yaya Toure
Often rotated between central defence and midfielder, the Ivorian midfielder played a total of five El clasico games before leaving the club for Manchester City.
5. Emmanuel Adebayor
Emmanuel Adebayor Joined Real Madrid on loan from Manchester City and played a total of four El clasico games.
6. Mahamadou Diarra
Mahamadou is one of the 2 Malians who have played a part in the El clasico. He played a total of 4 El clasico games in Madrid’s colour.
7. Geremi Njitap
Geremi enjoyed his stay at Madrid he won two Champions League titles and was part of four El clasico games.
8. Gbenga Okunowo
The Nigerian defender who joined FC Barcelona at the age of 18 in the 1998–99 season played 1 El Clasico game before leaving club in 2002.
9. Seydou Keita
One of the most decorated African players who made his name at the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup hosted by Nigeria played a record nine El clasico games in Barcelona colours.
10. Michael Essien
Another player who joined Real Madrid on loan this time from Chelsea, he also played in four El clasico games.
11. Alex Song
Song joined Barcelona from Arsenal had lot of expections but couldn’t force Sergio Busquets out of the starting line up. Often rotated in the central back and midfield like Yaya Toure before him. He was able to play in three El clasico games.
THE DI STEFANO FACTOR
12.The oldest rivalry in football began to grow back in the 1950's during one of the most controversial moments of El Clasico history. The rivalry reached its highest peak during that era with Alfredo di Stefano's transfer from Millionarios to both Real Madrid and Barcelona, which was all part of a misunderstanding no thanks to the Colombian club where Di Stefano was playing at the time.
It was an unprecedented move when Di Stefano ended up signing for both clubs, but in the end, former Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabeu convinced him to choose his side over Barcelona. The rest is history.
STREAKS & STATS
13. Longest Undefeated Run in La Liga's modern era: Barcelona with 7 matches (6 wins) from Dec 13 2008- Dec 10 2011.
14. Biggest win in league play: Real Madrid 8-2 on Feb 3, 1935.
15. Biggest recent win: Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid on Nov 29, 2010.
16. Average goals scored in a league Clasico: 1.58
17. Last 7 El Clasico Results:
November 21, 2015: Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona
March 22, 2015: Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid
March 23, 2014: Real Madrid 3-4 Barcelona
October 26, 2013: Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid
March 02, 2013: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
October 07, 2012: Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid
April 21, 2012: Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
18. A total of 21 players have donned kits for both teams in El Clasico matches, including players like Samuel Eto'O, Michael Laudrup, Luis Enrique (Barcelona's current manager), Bernd Schuster, Ronaldo Luis Nazario (also known as Brazilian Ronaldo), and most notoriously, Luis Figo.
LUIS FIGO: THE MOST 'INFAMOUS TRAITOR'
19. Portuguese winger, Luis Figo suffered a hideous incident after completing his transfer – another unprecedented event at the time – from Barcelona to Real Madrid for a record 56 million Euro, which subsequently turned him into public enemy number-one in the streets of Barcelona; specially at the Camp Nou.
In his first appearance for Real Madrid on rival grounds, the crowd jeered him and threw a hog's head on the pitch as they shouted 'mercenary'and other insults when he approached the stands. To this day, Figo is known as the most infamous 'traitor' to Barcelona.
EL CLASICO'S MSN Vs BCC
20. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid parade dreaded strike force, each comprising world famous goal poachers. And an interesting abbreviations have be adopted and popularised for each of the rival team's strike force. MSN goes for Barca's trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar, while BBC is for Real Madrid's Benzema, Bale and CR7 (Cristiano Ronaldo7).