|Italy vs Spain||England vs Iceland||Poland vs Portugal||Wales vs Belgium|
|R of 16 - Jun 27 12pm||R of 16 - Jun 27 3pm||Quarterfinal 1 - Jun 30 3pm||Quarterfinal 2 - Jul 1 3pm|
|USA 0-4 Argentina
Semifinal 1 - Jun 21 9pm
|Colombia 0-2 Chile
Semifinal 2 - Jun 22 8pm
|USA 0-1 Colombia
3rd place match - Jun 25 8pm
|Argentina 0-0P Chile
Final - Jun 26 8pm
Over the years, encounters between Barcelona and Real Madrid have attracted the attention of millions and billions around the world. With the regular introduction of new football superstars in El Clasico through the course of time, the temperature around this fixture is yet to cool down.
Although great personalities such as Ricardo Kaka and Zlatan Ibrahimovic might not be visible on the field at the Camp Nou on November 29 this year, fans do not have too much to worry about. Surely, the presence of new players including David Villa for Barcelona and Mesut Oezil for Real Madrid should serve as perfect replacements for the public.
This adds to the inferno of El Clasico, and individually, players from both clubs will be required to make extra efforts to obtain a satisfying collective result after the final whistle. Of course, this also applies to the reigning Player of the Year Lionel Messi.
Messi has remained impressive for Barcelona lately, being involved in most of the Catalans’ success this season. He was also the savior of Los Albicelestes in Argentina’s recent 1-0 win over Brazil a few days ago. He now faces a tough task against Real Madrid in La Liga, but allowing for his numerous achievements against the Castellans in the past, fear is not Messi’s obstacle ahead of El Clasico.
As a victory against Jose Mourinho’s army would give Barcelona the upper hand in this season’s La Liga’s title race, it could also lift La Pulga’s name higher in history, depending on the importance of his contributions in the match. At this point, the greatest individual attainment that Messi could get is an entry in the list of El Clasico’s top 10 all-time goal scorers. Before taking a look at the possibility behind this fact, we briefly examine the top players having already engraved their names as heroes of The Classic.
Most at times, fans interested in the Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry tend to think too little of the hugeness of El Clasico, limiting the contest’s action to La Liga only. El Clasico is however the name given to any football match between the two Spanish giants in any football competition.
Eventually, bearing in mind the high frequency of meetings between both sides in all competitions formerly, it makes sense to believe that it is through the contest’s largeness that legends of the past were able to increase their tally in The Classic marvelously. Below are the top 10 El Clasico scorers of all time:
Alfredo Di Stéfano – 18 goals
The Argentine-Spanish football legend and former Real Madrid key player is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Overall in the history of El Clasico, he bagged 14 goals in La Liga, 2 goals in the Cup, and 2 goals in Europe. Alfredo Di Stéfano is the all-time top scorer of El Clasico with 18 goals.
Raúl González Blanco – 14 goals
The Spanish striker comes in second place in the list of all-time El Clasico top scorers with 14 goals. In his career, Raul scored 11 goals in La Liga, while he snatched 3 goals in the Super Cup against FC Barcelona.
César Rodríguez Álvarez, Francisco Gento, Ferenc Puskás – 14 goals
These 3 men share the 3rd place in the rankings with 14 goals each. Barcelona’s greatest goal scorer in La Liga César was quite influential for the Catalans in the league against Real Madrid with 12 goals. He also extended his goal tally in El Clasico with 2 further goals in the Cup.
Former Real Madrid star Francisco Gento also scored the same amount goals in the Cup, but at the expense of the Blaugrana. 10 other goals in La Liga and 2 more goals in Europe were enough to set his name high among the best heroes of El Clasico; yet, his position in the standings is shared with Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás, who netted 9 goals in La Liga, 2 goals in the Cup, and 3 goals in Europe.
Santillana – 12 goals
Santillana is widely looked upon as one of the best strikers in the history of Spanish soccer. During his 17 years at Real Madrid, he beat Barcelona’s defense 9 times in the league, twice in the Cup, and once in the League Cup. He thus earns the 6th place in the rankings.
Hugo Sánchez Márquez, Juan Gómez González – 10 goals
Hugol, as the former Mexican forward was popularly nicknamed in the past, was another great Real Madrid weapon against FC Barcelona, with 8 goals in La Liga and 2 goals depicting his useful involvement in El Clasico. Juan, a different Real helper, also clinched a total of 10 El Clasico goals in his career. The former striker who died in a road accident at the age of 37 placed his name on the scoring sheet on 8 occasions in the league, and twice in the League Cup.
Estanislao Basora, Josep Samitier – 9 goals
Finally, the list of top 10 El Clasico scorers ends with 2 Spanish players who both played for Barcelona. Basora joined the Catalans in 1946 and performed under the club’s jersey till 1958. He got 8 league goals and 1 Cup goal against Real Madrid, in all.
Josep - whose career had already ended by the time Basora became popular in Barcelona - did not reach such a high number of leagues goals in El Clasico. Nevertheless, his 5 goals in the Cup were sufficient for him to be tied along with Basora in 9th position in the rankings.
Lionel Messi lies in 16th position along with Ronaldo, Pahiño, Pirri, Josep Escolà, and Sabino Barinaga. Upon hearing such a fact, it looks like Messi still has a long way to go so as to enter the list of El Clasico’s top 10 all-time scorers; but in truth, with already 7 goals against Real Madrid, it appears the 23-year-old has great chances of reaching new heights on November 29.
Messi first got on the scoring sheet in El Clasico on 10 March 2007, when he scored a memorable hat-trick for Barcelona to secure a 3-3 draw at the Camp Nou in La Liga. He then scored again at home against an incomplete Real Madrid side the following year on December 13, as Barca humbled their rivals 2-0.
It was a goal fest on May 2 2009 at the Bernabeu Stadium when La Pulga stole a double in his club’s 6-2 victory. Finally this year, in what was the 160th meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga, Messi shone again; this time, through a stunning opener away from home.
For another time, the two big giants will face each other at the Camp Nou. Will Messi be able to play his part faultlessly while also accomplishing his personal task by scoring a necessary double, at least?
The Argentine No.10 player already has 10 goals in 9 games in the Primera Division, having scored doubles against Zaragoza, Sevilla, and Villarreal and goals against other sides. With this in mind, it simply seems right to predict that Messi will once again take advantage of Real Madrid’s lack of completion on the pitch to extend his goal tally in El Clasico, but who knows what will happen next?