FOOTBALL - The 223rd edition of the Clásico of Spanish football is scheduled for tonight as Real Madrid host FC Barcelona in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal encounter. Our liaison in Madrid, @2010MisterChip has dug deep into his archives and has found the following stats on this match.
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have met in 222 official matches, resulting in 88 victories for Real Madrid, 87 for FC Barcelona and 47 draws. In fixtures in which Real Madrid have acted as hosts, the balance is decidedly in favour of Real: 61 victories and 25 defeats, and 24 draws.
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have negotiated 30 Copa del Rey matches of which Real have won 10, FC Barcelona 14 and a further six have been drawn. Goal differential is 60-58 in favour of Barça, the leading goalscorer being Santiago Bernabéu on seven goals. Before last season, these sides had not met in the cup in successive seasons. This is already the third consecutive season in which they meet.
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will eliminate each other from the cup for the third straight season. The last club other than FC Barcelona to eliminate Real Madrid was Alcorcón, the last club other than Real Madrid to knock out Barça was Sevilla FC (both in the 2009/2010 season).
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have met in 24 two-legged elimination rounds, 11 in the Copa del Rey, four times in Europe, six times in the Supercopa and three in the now defunct Copa de la Liga. Madrid hold a slight edge in these, knocking their adversaries out in 13 of them. In the cup, however, Barça hold a 6-5 edge.
In the 24 two-legged elimination rounds between these sides the team playing the return leg at home has progressed on 16 of 24 occasions (67%).
Since the 2008/2009 season, FC Barcelona have contested 34 two-legged elimination fixtures (13 in the Champions League, 17 in the Copa del Rey and four in the Supercopa), successfully negotiating all but four: against Sevilla FC in the 2009/2010 Copa del Rey, against Internazionale in the 2009/2010 Champions League, against Chelsea in the 2011/2012 Champions League and against Real Madrid in the 2012 Supercopa. Thus, Real can become the only team to knock out FC Barcelona twice since the advent of the glory days that started with the arrival of Pep Guardiola.
If Antonio Adánor Diego López starts in goal for Real Madrid, it will be the first Clásico in more than 26 years to feature two reserve goalkeepers as starters. This last occurred in a 18 May 1986 Copa de la Liga, when Agustín and Amador deputized for the incumbents Ochotorena and Urruticoechea.
The last Clásico without Iker Casillas took place on 1 May 2002, in the Champions League semifinals, when César kept goal for Madrid. Since then, Casillas has featured in 30 successive Clásicos, which is five shy of the record of 35 straight appearances by Paco Gento from 1954 to 1966.
Cristiano Ronaldo will play his 600th official senior match today, a total he has racked up for the following sides: 31 for Sporting CP (5 goals), 292 for Manchester United (118 goals), 100 for Portugal (37 goals) and 176 for Real Madrid (179 goals). FC Barcelona are the opponents he has faced most often (20 times including tonight).
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored at least once in his last six Clásicos, a streak achieved by no other of the 830 players that have featured in this clash of Spanish superpowers. With the absence of Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo could captain Real Madrid for the second time in his career, after doing so in the league match against Real Sociedad on 6 January 2013.
Lionel Messi has scored at least once in his last 16 official starts for FC Barcelona (for a total of 27 goals). He has not been kept at bay since 3 November 2012, when FC Barcelona beat Celta de Vigo. One more goal will give him 18 for his Clásico career, which would equal the record for this match by Alfredo di Stéfano.
Lionel Messi has already scored 44 official goals this season. Apart from himself and Cristiano Ronaldo, only three players in the history of Spanish top flight football have scored more in an entire season - Telmo Zarra (48 goals in 1950/1951), Ferenc Puskás (47 goals in 1959/1960) and Ronaldo (de Lima) (47 goals in 1996/1997).
Statistics courtesy of @2010MisterChip