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El Clasico: Barcelona v Real Madrid, Football's Greatest Rivalry

Author : Richard Fitzpatrick

UK - Bloomsbury
Poland - Bukowy Las
Turkey - Ithaki
Hungary - Gabo Kiado


The Barça-Madrid rivalry has long been a proxy war in a divided land. The clubs' shared history trails blood from the civil war and its legacy, and includes murdered club presidents, player kidnappings and acts of hooliganism. It also involves football's two biggest clubs. Its teams today are stocked with the men who won Spain the World Cup and the planet's two greatest players - Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

El Clasico traces the history of the rivalry to modern times. The passions it arouses are as intense as ever. On one side is the wonder of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, a team many consider to be the finest ever. On the other side is Real Madrid, spurred on by its charismatic manager, José Mourinho, a manager who has never failed. Desperate to unseat Barça, his diabolical off-pitch antics have inflamed relations between the two sides and turned the regal Real Madrid, in the words of one interviewee, into 'a Mexican gang like Pancho Villa's Army'.

Drawing on over sixty interviews with the game's biggest stars, notorious hate figures, managers, agents, referees, fans, historians, sociologists, filmmakers, novelists, photographers and TV presenters, El Clasico puts the story in its rich, historical context. It mixes vivid, first-hand accounts of the rivalry's most explosive moments with background cultural analysis, helping to explain why it is football's greatest feud.