Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Five of the best El Clasicos from the last decade

Last season, Real Madrid won La Liga while Barcelona had to settle for the Copa del Rey. Tonight sees the first El Clasico of the season as the two match-up in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Nou Camp.

With bragging rights at stake, we take a look back at some of best El Clasicos from the last ten years.

Champions League semi-final, 2002: Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 on aggregate

The first leg of the tie saw Real Madrid claim their first win at the Nou Camp for almost 19 years. After a first half dominated by Barcelona, the home side were unable to find a breakthrough and were made to pay when Raul put Zinedine Zidane through to chip Barca keeper, Roberto Bonano. As the Catalans pushed for an equaliser, substitute Steve McManaman found a killer second away goal in stoppage time. Interestingly, back-up goalkeepers on that day were 19-year-old Pepe Reina for Barca and 20-year-old Iker Casillas for Madrid.

For the second leg, Real Madrid welcomed back Luis Figo from suspension but Barcelona were still without the injured Rivaldo for the game at the Bernabeu. Raul ended the tie as a contest just before half time and although Barca would find an equaliser on the night, it meant nothing as Madrid comfortably progressed the final at Hampden Park. Cue Zidane and all that...

La Liga, 10 March 2007: Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid

This league tie came only days after both of the Spanish giants were dumped out of the Champions League so both sides had something to prove. Real Madrid went ahead three times while Barcelona had Oleguer sent off just before time. Lionel Messi equalised three times, his last coming in the 90th minute - unsurprisingly he was named man-of-the-match. Ruud van Nistelrooy, who scored twice on the night would go on win the Pichichi Trophy (the Spanish Golden Boot) with a total of 25 goals as Madrid pipped Barcelona to La Liga title as they had the better head-to-head record against their rivals.

La Liga, 24 November 2002: Barcelona 0-0 Real Madrid

The match finished 0-0 but will always be remembered for Luis Figo's return to the Nou Camp. After completing a £37 million move to from Barcelona to their deadliest rivals Real Madrid, the Portuguese legend was welcomed with smoke bombs, whistles and a tirade of abuse whilst a barrage of bottles, cans lighters and even golf balls met him every time he attempted to take a corner or a throw. The image no-one will forget though is the severed pig's head which was thrown at Figo as he was preparing to take a corner. The match had to be suspended to allow the angry crowd to cool off.

Copa del Rey quarter-final, 2012: Barcelona beat Real Madrid 4-3 on aggregate

A month on from a poor performance against Barcelona in the league, Cristiano Ronaldo gave Real Madrid the lead in the quarter final of the Spanish cup but Barca overcame this deficit after an equaliser from captain Carles Puyol and a winner from full-back Eric Abidal.

The second leg was a frantic affair. Barcelona went two-nil up with two goals in three first-half minutes before Real Madrid drew level after scoring twice in four second-half minutes. A single goal in the last 20 minutes would have put Madrid through but Barca held on and went on to make the final where Pep Guardiola celebrated his last game in charge as his side beat Athletic Bilbao three-nil to lift the cup.

Spanish Super Cup, 2011: Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-4 on aggregate

Last season's Spanish Super Cup was won by Barcelona after the first leg finished two-a-piece with Mesut Ozil and Xabi Alonso netting for hosts Real Madrid and David Villa and Lionel Messi for Barca. Messi was the match-winner in the second leg as his goal two minutes from time secured a 3-2 win on the night, 5-4 on aggregate.

Barcelona's Villa and Madrid's Marcelo and Ozil were sent off well into injury-time in a match which will simply be remembered for the unpleasant violence on the touchline after the final whistle. After Jose Mourinho blatantly poked the Barcelona assistant at the time, Tito Vilanova in the eye, Vilanova reacted by slapping the former Chelsea boss - the two come face-to-face tonight. Should be interesting...

Who do you think will claim the first mental-blow of the season? Vilanova's Barca or Mourinho's Madrid?

image: © markus unger

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