Barcelona vs Real Madrid: who has most wins in El Clásico?
Barcelona host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday, in the opening Clásico of the season - and the first with fans in the stands since early 2020.
Real Madrid go into the 247th Clásico, the first with fans in the stadium in over a year and a half, on a winning streak against Barcelona and with the all-time head-to-head upper hand over their arch rivals.
Real Madrid lead race to 100 Clásico wins
Madrid’s 2-1 win in their most recent meeting, at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano in April this year, took them to 98 victories overall in El Clásico, two more than Barça.
Barça had led 96-95 after a 1-0 triumph at the Bernabéu in March 2019 - the first time since 1931 that they had boasted more Clásico victories than Los Blancos.
However, a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou later that year has been followed by three straight victories for Real Madrid, who are now firmly in pole position to be the first of the two clubs to register a century of wins in the fixture.
There have been 52 draws in El Clásico.
Fans back in stands for Barcelona vs Real Madrid
After two straight behind-closed-doors Clásicos because of the covid-19 pandemic, Barça host Madrid in LaLiga on Sunday (10:15am ET, 7:15am PT) with a capacity crowd of up to 99,354 fans allowed to attend, following the lifting of stadium restrictions in Spain earlier in October.
The last time supporters were able to witness El Clásico in person was in March 2020, when just over 78,000 watched Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu, Vinícius Júnior and Mariano Díaz scoring the goals for Los Merengues.
A Messi-less Clásico
For Barça, it is also a first Clásico since the departure of superstar forward Lionel Messi, whose 26 career goals against Real Madrid make him the fixture’s all-time highest scorer (get the lowdown on Messi’s record against Madrid).
Without Messi, Barça have endured a difficult start to the season, their record of just five wins out of 10 in all competitions leaving them down in eighth in LaLiga and facing a battle to qualify for the Champions League last 16.
Barcelona can leapfrog Real Madrid with victory
The Blaugrana have won their last two games, though, with victories over Valencia in LaLiga and Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League cooling some of the heat on under-fire head coach Ronald Koeman. It is the first time they have managed successive wins this season.
Defeat to Real Madrid, who go into this weekend’s round of matches third in LaLiga, would ratchet up the pressure on Koeman once more - but a victory for Barça would take them ahead of Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
That’s because Madrid are just two points in front of the Catalans after their good start to the LaLiga season was halted by a draw with Villarreal and a defeat to Espanyol in their last two top-flight games.
Madrid also suffered a shock Champions League loss to Moldovans Sheriff Tiraspol in between those results, before ending their three-game winless run with a 5-0 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk in Europe’s top club competition in midweek.