Real Madrid vs Barcelona: The Top 10 Most Controversial Moments in El Clásico History

Real Madrid vs Barcelona: The Top 10 Most Controversial Moments in El Clásico History

El-Clásico, the excellent match held between two of the teams with the most rivalry, giving their all to come out as the best on the ground while being watched by more than 600 million people on coverage. Such intense rivalry between two of the best teams in history can bring out aggression while giving their best every single second to attain a magnificent victory. That aggression has created some of the most controversial moments in the history of El-Clásico. Real Madrid vs Barcelona, let’s discuss some of the most contentious moments between them.

El Clásico's Top 10 Controversial Moments

Controversies develop when aggression and competition increase. The most dominant match in the history of football, Real Madrid vs Barcelona, had the players furious when the passion for winning took over their control. Such aggression can lead to bringing out the unfavorable side of the players. 

1. The 1943 El Clásico and the 11-1 Scoreline

The match held on 13th June 1943 unfolded a huge controversy. The team Real Madrid was arriving in Barcelona for the match during Franco’s dictatorship when complaints started piling up that the Real Madrid team had faced a lot of difficulties while arriving. This led Barcelona to face serious accusations of favoritism. Rumors were circulated on the fact that a Barcelona military officer, Jose Plaza, had been instructed as a referee to favor Barcelona. As the match began, Real Madrid was seen struggling while Barcelona took the lead and didn’t struggle to goal back to back. As a result, Barcelona defeated Real Madrid by a remarkable 11-1 victory. Which resulted in Real Madrid supporters alleging that the match was fixed, pointing to several suspicious circumstances and the appeared unjust scoreline.

2. Figo’s Polarizing Move and Its Aftermath

In 2000, a highly respected player of Barcelona, Luis Figo, who also won The Ballon d’Or the following year, left the team or, as the fans interpreted that he betrayed Barcelona and joined the rival team, Real Madrid. The following controversial action by Figo hurt the fans deeply and broke their trust. 

The betrayal didn’t only hurt the faithful Barcelona supporters but also made them furious, especially when, in 2002, Luis Figo came into the ground with a confident face and did not refuse to take corners. Figo’s brave attitude wasn’t liked by the fans, and thus he was mocked and booed. To take it too far, the fans did not refrain from even throwing a pig head at him when he took the corner. This particular event made history in El-Clásico.

3.Racial Slur Darkens El Clásico's History

Like every heated match of Real Madrid vs Barcelona, the 2010-2011 Champions League final was also one of the most heated ones. A brief interaction between Sergio Busquets and Marcelo was caught on coverage. Upon further speculation, it was declared that Busquet directed a racial slur toward Marcelo, disrespecting his ethnicity. The matter gained negative hype almost immediately, resulting in heavy outrage.

4. Jose Mourinho’s Eye Poke Gesture

In 2011, Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid coach, made a controversial gesture towards Barcelona’s assistant coach Tito Vilanova appearing to poke him in the eye. The gesture quickly caught the attention and made the audience furious, followed by them showing disapproval towards his actions. The incident resulted in Mourinho facing disciplinary actions and being banned from playing two-further matches which were later reduced to one.

5. Sergio Ramos drops Lionel Messi and Carles Puyol

The squad Ramos plays for benefits from his winning attitude. Histrionics and a desire to do anything to win come along with it, though. 

During Barcelona's 5-0 thrashing of Real Madrid in 2010, Ramos had had enough of Lionel Messi and went ahead and hacked him down in the 90th minute of the game. The Barcelona players grumbled to him about what he had done. 

Ramos shoved his hands into his Spain teammates' faces during the ensuing altercation. He pushed Puyol to the floor and dismissed anyone who tried to reason with him or tried to calm him down. 

It was believed that the event might disrupt the cohesiveness of both teams' Spanish-speaking contingents. The Barcelona team of Xavi and Puyol mocked the situation and said that such things happen during intense combat. Ramos received a warning for his behavior. Ramos has received 19 red cards throughout his La Liga career, making this one of them. He set the tone for Real's combative demeanor during the Clasicos because he served as the team's captain.

6. A Pepe Tackle to Lionel Messi

Tensions were skyrocketing, fans were tensed, and the ground was filled with competition and challenges while both teams were fighting for dominance. All of this wasn’t enough that the intense clash between Pepe, a Real Madrid player, and Lionel Messi, the idol figure of Barcelona took place.  

The clash seemed to unfold due to an aggressive tackle by Pepe against Messi near the touchline, hence resulting in the Barcelona player hitting the ground in pain. Pepe, who is known for his aggressive style of play, was confronted by Messi, both being the center of attention on the ground. Players from both sides of the teams rushed to support their following players, fans got aggressive towards the opposition team, and referees struggled to get control, what a heated moment. This controversial moment resulted in many assumptions and accusations by the team as well as the fans stating either that Lionel Messi was targeted by Pepe or that Pepe just attempted to win the ball.

7. Rijkaard's Meeting with Referee (2006)

In the 2005-2006 season, during a controversial match of Real Madrid vs Barcelona, while it was half-time, the Barcelona coach was caught on camera going into the referee’s dressing room. This incident resulted in quite a lot of accusations contemplating that the coach went in to convince the referee to act in favor of Barcelona. Later on, Frisk revealed that Rijkaard had only entered the dressing room to complain about the aggression of Real Madrid players towards Barcelona players. However, this meeting is still considered a controversial meeting in the history of El-Clásico.

8. The Feud Between Zidane and Luis Enrique

During a heated match between Real Madrid Vs Barcelona, Zidane and Luis Enrique were seen engaging in a verbal fight, while Zidane continuously disrespected the Barcelona player. The verbal exchange soon was followed by a physical confrontation between the two players. As a result, both players were shown red cards by the referee for their involvement in the quarrel. This controversial incident became the center of attention for the fans, media, and the football authorities.

9. The Intense Verbal Clash Between Guardiola and Mourinho

During the second leg of the Supercopa de España on August 17, 2011, tension between the rival coaches grew. As the match became more heated both coaches started verbal exchange. In the middle of the confrontation, Barcelona coach Guardiola directed profane language toward Jose Mourinho, resulting in a profound controversial matter that almost immediately became the center of attention.

10. The Controversial Transfer of Di Stéfano in El Clásico

Alfredo Di Stéfano, one of the greatest footballers of his generation caught the attention of both the clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Both the clubs were eager to secure his services, leading to a contentious transfer saga. Barcelona had reached an agreement with the Millonarios to sign Di Stéfano. However, Real Madrid also managed to approach the player and managed to make a deal with Millonarios and River Plate, the original owners of Di Stéfano's rights. The indulgence of both clubs made the situation controversial that it got necessary to take it into account. Upon further speculation and meeting, it was declared that Di Stéfano would be playing for Real Madrid. His presence helped in improving the performance of the team in the further years.

Final Note

No matter how big the controversies were, the charm and hype of these matches were never overshadowed. Fans from all around the world await to see these two sides play and display some fantastic scenes on the football ground. The world’s biggest names in the game are seen battling for glory.


Nicholas Cane is a football freak and a sports blogger. Most of his blogs cover national and international sports leagues like NFL, World Cup, and Premier League. Also, his articles are a great way to know about popular athletes all over the world.