El Clasico is one of the most iconic and ferocious matchups in soccer celebrating the intense rivalry between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid two teams, which have historically dominated the La Liga. But El Clasico is more than just an intense Red Sox vs. Yankees like matchup; it’s another battle in the never-ending war of Catalonia vs. Spain. Even the garb of either team, be it the Barcelona away kits, which are almost the Catalan Flag or the Real Madrid logo (the Royal Crown) send a strong message that these teams hold significant historical and political significance.
Catalonia was its own, independent state until the early 1700s, with its own language and culture. After which it was taken over by King Philip V and, along with other regions in the Iberian Peninsula, would be mixed into what eventually became Spain. As time passed Spanish was forced upon what was Catalonia for use in legal and professional documents, and while Catalonia has, over time, tried to take measures to separate itself from Spain there were too many forces that ultimately stopped them from doing so. This is especially apparent at the end of the civil war during the rule of Spanish dictator Franco ruled over Spain when any rebellion against Spain was completely disallowed. This is also the moment that the rivalry between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid became more than just a rivalry, but a political symbol of resistance against Spain.
There are many fierce sports rivalries in the world, but none quite as politically charged as the Real Madrid vs. Barcelona rivalry. Though many fans outside of Spain support one team or another because they enjoy being a part of this great rivalry, many Spanish fans have strong cultural ties to either Barcelona or Madrid. It is truly is the best matchup in the world.