El Clásico as Spanish History

Written By Austin Esecson, Remy Lupica, and Neel Muthana in 2009

Edited and Updated by Austin Ness, Vishnu Kadiyala, Natasha Catrakilis, Julianna Miller, and Basil Seif in 2013


For both its sustained tension and historical significance, few football rivalries can compare to Spain’s El Clásico, between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The stories of Alfredo di Stéfano, General Franco, Santiago Bernabéu, and Luis Figo are legendary, stoking a rivalry of regions that encompasses an entire nation and captivates the world. These actors in a great sporting drama speak to the heart of Spanish culture, politics, and society, and each deserves an in-depth look at the true meaning of El Clásico.

Click on the links below for the story of Spanish football’s greatest spectacle.

How to cite this article: “El Clásico as Spanish History,” Written by Austin Esecson, Remy Lupica, and Neel Muthana (2009), Edited and Updated by Austin Ness, Vishnu Kadiyala, Natasha Catrakilis, Julianna Miller, and Basil Seif (2013), Soccer Politics Pages, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/research-projects/spain/ (accessed on (date)).

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “El Clásico as Spanish History”

  1.   Learning from FC Barcelona — Thoughton 05 Apr 2012 at 7:17 am 1

    […] against the club from the autonomously minded Catalan region represented by FC Barcelona. There are tons of resources on the internet to find more of the history but try to understand that if Ohio State v […]

  2.   Vishnu Kadiyalaon 05 Oct 2013 at 12:01 pm 2

    I would like to work on this topic because I am interested in in how soccer has played a large role in spanish regional politics. The role of soccer in the nationalism of the catalans and the basques is fascinating

  3.   Natasha Catrakilison 06 Oct 2013 at 8:09 pm 3

    I think this page is extremely fascinating. In fact, I had been considering writing a blog post about this myself after having spent some recent time in Barcelona. The way that a sport has embedded itself within a nationalistic divide is unusual and a phenomenon that I would love to further explore and understand.

  4.   Julianna Milleron 06 Oct 2013 at 8:57 pm 4

    From my experiences traveling and visiting family in Spain, I would always find the nationalistic divides throughout the country to be fascinating. My brother and I backpacked throughout Spain two summers ago, which allowed me to clearly see the divides between the regions. We started up in the Basque region and continued to the region of Galicia. Many of the people we would meet along the way would often identify themselves by their specific region rather than just “Spanish”. It was interesting to also see, firsthand, how “El Clasico” rivalry, not only played an integral role in the country’s divided politics, but their culture and society as well. The rivalry, similar to each regions’ nationalistic pride, is rooted deep within Spanish culture. I would love to work more with this topic and learn more about this fiery rivalry.

  5.   Austin Nesson 07 Oct 2013 at 9:09 pm 5

    I would really like to work on this page, as I have been extremely interested in the dichotomy between these two teams ever since I studied in Madrid a year ago. This is the fiercest rivalry in sports in the world, and the histories of these two clubs are closely intertwined with the history of Spain and the regions of Catalonia and Castilla.

  6.   Basil Seifon 08 Oct 2013 at 1:12 am 6

    I would love to work on this page. I am absolutely fascinated with the history and ongoing intensity of this historic rivalry. I also think it is fascinating the way that this rivalry has very consistently affected and shaped some of the other greatest rivalries in sports. I would really love to delve into how El Clasico affects not only Spain and Spanish football, but also everyone in the world. Regardless of what team you support, every football fan in the world has a bone to pick in this fight, in some way or another.

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