With the El Clasico taking place tonight (in the Copa Del Rey) and on Saturday evening, we take a look at how both clubs make the podium for the numbers of academy graduates playing in Europe’s top five leagues.
Real Madrid and Barcelona may add another chapter to world football’s greatest rivalry this weekend, but the presence of these two giants won’t only be felt in Madrid on Saturday night.
The El Clasico rivals boast two of the very best academies in European football, with the Catalan side’s La Masia and the capital city club’s La Fábrica both famous for their non-stop production lines. They’ve produced past LaLiga Santander legends such as Xavi, Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Raúl and Guti, plus current stars such as Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Lucas Vázquez.
In La Liga match-day 24, pack chase leaders Barcelona in a weekend of friendly reunions and head to head battles.
Barcelona will have their eyes on a big three points against visitors R. Valladolid on Saturday night, coming into the game on the back two successive draws in LaLiga Santander.
The game at the Camp Nou will also be extra special for Ronaldo Nazario, now president of Valladolid, who won La Liga’s pichichi top scorer award during his stint at Barcelona in 1996/97.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, are going for a sixth consecutive LaLiga victory at home when they face Girona on Sunday lunchtime with key players including Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema bang in form. Santi Solari’s side moved second in the table following last weekend’s 3-1 derby victory at Atletico de Madrid, while an out-of-form Girona have fallen to just one point above the drop zone.
1. Sevilla won the first-ever organised football match in Spain
For many years it was believed that the club was formed in 1905 but the discovery of a copy of the Dundee Courier in the British Library in 2012 traced the club back to 1890. The newspaper revealed that the club’s first president was in fact Edward Farquharson Johnston, then the British vice-consul in the city and owner of a shipping company which sold Andalusian oranges in the UK.
In that same year, the club challenged neighbours Huelva Recreation Club (today known as Recreativo Huelva) to a match at a horse-racing track near the city limits on the 8th March. Amid driving rain more typical of northern Europe, Sevilla won 2-0 with goals from Ritson and Yugles in front of a crowd of 150 spectators… and Spanish football was born.