Who has won more ‘major’ trophies: Real Madrid or Barcelona?
As Barcelona line up to host Real Madrid for El Clásico we take a look at which team has the more impressive trophy room.
Barcelona host Real Madrid for the latest edition of El Clásico today, October 28, 2023. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in the beautiful game, but which of the two can claim to be the most successful?
We decided to take a look at who’s won more ‘major’ trophies to decide whether Real Madrid or Barcelona fans can claim to have the more successful club.
What is a major trophy anyway?
I must confess that when I started working on this, I hadn’t anticipated the complexity of trying to decide what exactly constitutes a ‘major’ trophy. Some are incredibly obvious (Champions League/European Cup, LaLiga etc), others less so. The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup is generally considered to be the predecessor to the UEFA Cup but was initially only open to teams from cities that hosted trade fair, which seems too exclusive, so that’s out (sorry, Barça, who won three of them).
Are the Spanish Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup ‘major’ trophies?
I’ve - perhaps controversially - decided that I’m not counting the competitions Real Madrid and Barcelona won earlier last season as a major trophies. The Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup are out (feel free to disagree with me…). Luckily, if you add the three totals from those competitions for the two clubs they come to the same number (22) and don’t affect the overall tally anyway. If you’re interested, Barça lead in the Spanish Super Cup (14-12), Madrid are ahead in the FIFA Club World Cup (5-3) and it’s a tie in the UEFA Super Cup (5-5).
I’ve basically included trophies that the clubs would be/would have been massively bothered about winning at the start of any given season, both back in the day and now. Trophies that ‘feel like’ major trophies.
How many league titles have Real Madrid and Barcelona won?
Real Madrid continue to lead the way, having won 35 league titles to Barcelona’s 27. The Catalans have caught up in the last few decades though, winning seven more leagues than Los Blancos since 1990.
How many European Cups/Champions Leagues have Real Madrid and Barcelona won?
Real Madrid, quite simply, are the masters in this competition. 14 victories, double more than anyone else (Milan are next with seven, in case you were wondering). That, of course, includes five wins in the last nine seasons, including three in a row from 2016 to 2018.
Barcelona had never won the trophy until 1992, by which time Real Madrid had done so on six occasions. La Blaugrana have now won it five times but not since 2014-15.
How many other ‘major’ European trophies have Real Madrid and Barcelona won?
You don’t tend to associate Real Madrid with anything other than the European Cup/Champions League but they won two UEFA Cups in the 1980s.
That’s a trophy that Barcelona have never won – and they’re out of its successor, the Europa League, this season – but Barça did win the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup four times. That was a pretty big deal back in the day, so that’s in.
How many times have Real Madrid and Barcelona won the Copa del Rey?
If you’re thinking that Real Madrid are fairly far ahead at this stage, then you’d be right. But this is where Barcelona close the gap. The Catalans have won the Copa del Rey a record 31 times, with Madrid languishing behind on just 20 (I know what you’re thinking Real Madrid fans, you’d rather win more leagues and Champions Leagues than Copas del Rey…).
Real Madrid and Barcelona’s overall ‘major’ trophy wins
All in all, that means that – drum roll, please – Real Madrid have lifted a total of 71 ‘major’ trophies, compared to Barcelona’s 67.
The constant comparisons between one and the other can get incredibly tedious but are somewhat inevitable when there’s so little to separate Spanish soccer’s two biggest clubs. The next question is whether Los Merengues can extend the gap by one more in Istanbul on 10 June.