Real Madrid v Barcelona: Saturday's El Clasico in numbers

By Andy WestSpanish football writer
Real Madrid v Barcelona: El Clasico in numbers
La Liga El Clasico: Real Madrid v Barcelona
Venue: Bernabeu Stadium Date: Saturday, 25 October Kick-off: 17:00 BST Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website from 16:00 BST

Real Madrid against Barcelona is never just an ordinary game of football, and the dazzling array of plots and subplots means this weekend's meeting at the Bernabeu is surrounded by more anticipation than ever.

Luis Suarez returning from his suspension for biting an opponent to make his competitive Barca debut; Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the brink of goalscoring records and Barca keeper Claudio Bravo closing in on a clean-sheet record are some of the storylines to follow on Saturday.

With so many fascinating aspects to one of the greatest occasions in the sporting calendar, we take an in-depth numerical look at El Clasico.

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos is shown the red card by referee Iturralde Gonzalez
In November 2010, Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 5-0, with Sergio Ramos sent off in stoppage time

229 - A long history of rivalry

Saturday's Clasico will be the 229th competitive meeting between the teams in all competitions, with Real holding an overall 91-89 lead, while 48 games have been drawn.

However, Barca have enjoyed considerably the better of recent league encounters, winning eight of the 12 La Liga fixtures between the sides since Pep Guardiola was appointed manager in 2008, including a home and away double last season.

Real Madrid v Barcelona: El Clasico in numbers

The biggest margin of victory ever enjoyed by either team was an 11-1 cup win for Real in 1943, but that game is largely overlooked by historians due to Barca's players allegedly being intimidated before the game by henchmen from General Franco's pro-Madrid regime.

More recently, Barca's 5-0 thrashing of Real at the Nou Camp in November 2010 - Jose Mourinho's first Clasico in charge of Los Blancos - is widely regarded as the finest performance delivered by the Catalan club during Guardiola's glorious era.

£639m - A mega-money match-up

With mega-money signings such as Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, Neymar and a certain Suarez on show, the latest edition of El Clasico will be the most expensive game of football ever played - and that is even without injured £85m man Gareth Bale.

The total cost of the likely starting line-ups and substitutes comes to an eye-watering estimated £639m, with Real's squad (not including Bale or Fabio Coentrao) costing £83m more than their opponents to assemble.

However, many of Barca's players are products of their famed La Masia youth academy and therefore came free of transfer fees to the Catalan club.

It is fair to assume that Messi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and co would attract a more-than-reasonable sum in the transfer market, taking the overall value of the players on show at the Bernabeu this weekend close to the £1bn mark.

Cost of Real Madrid team = £361m
Iker Casillas (came through youth team); Dani Carvajal (£5m); Pepe (£24m); Sergio Ramos (£21m); Marcelo (£6m); Luka Modric (£33m); Toni Kroos (£20m); Isco (£24m); James Rodriguez (£63m); Karim Benzema (£27m); Cristiano Ronaldo (£80m). Subs: Keylor Navas (£8m); Alvaro Arbeloa (£3m); Nacho (youth team); Raphael Varane (£8m); Asier Illarramendi (£27m); Sami Khedira (£12m); Javier Hernandez (on loan).
Cost of Barcelona team = £278m
Claudio Bravo (£10m); Dani Alves (£27m); Javier Mascherano (£20m); Jeremy Mathieu (£16m); Jordi Alba (£12m); Sergio Busquets (came through youth team); Ivan Rakitic (£16m); Andres Iniesta (youth team); Luis Suarez (£75m); Lionel Messi (youth team); Neymar (£75m). Subs: Marc-Andre ter Stegen (£10m); Adriano (£12m); Gerard Pique (£5m); Xavi (youth team); Rafinha (youth team); Munir (youth team); Pedro (youth team)

500m - Watching all around the world

The global television audience for Saturday's game will be colossal, with estimates placing the number of worldwide viewers between 400 and 500 million.

Although it is a source of considerable irritation for British fans who will be unable to watch the first 15 minutes because of broadcasting regulations, La Liga's authorities have done their best to boost the audience by scheduling kick-off for 6pm local time (17:00 BST).

At that time, the game is early enough to allow the vast number of fans in Asia to watch before going to bed, and late enough to ensure that supporters can also watch over lunch in South America, where there is a more than active interest in the game considering the involvement of the biggest stars from Argentina (Messi), Brazil (Neymar), Colombia (Rodriguez) and Uruguay (Suarez).

Tellingly, the game is also scheduled perfectly for Saturday evening peak time viewing in the Middle East - surely not a coincidence when you consider the airlines who serve as main sponsors for the participating clubs are based in the United Arab Emirates (Real) and Qatar (Barca).

251 - La Liga record in sight

Ronaldo v Messi - their El Clasico stats

Lionel Messi's left-footed strike in Saturday's 3-0 victory over Eibar took him to the milestone of 250 career goals in La Liga, leaving the Barcelona man just one behind the record held by 1940s Athletic Bilbao star Telmo Zarra.

The tantalising prospect of Messi breaking the all-time Spanish goalscoring record against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu has not, as you would expect, gone unnoticed in Spain.

League president Javier Tebas has even refused to rule out the possibility of holding an official presentation to the Argentine star if he scores the two or more goals needed to set a new record, stating: "I've seen the Bernabeu give a standing ovation to Barca players Diego Maradona and Ronaldinho, so why not Messi?"

Not many Real Madrid fans share that sentiment, however, with one supporter who was interviewed on Spanish television delivering the understatement of the year by observing: "I think there would be a few whistles."

22 - Ronaldo in a league of his own

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring against Club Athletic
Ronaldo has scored three hat-tricks already this season and now has a grand total of 22 in La Liga

Even by his own outrageously high standards, Real's Ronaldo has enjoyed a purple patch in the opening two months of the season, with a La Liga goals-per-game sequence of 1-1-3-4-1-3-2.

With 15 strikes to his name, Ronaldo has registered more goals in the opening eight rounds of the season than any other player in La Liga history, a feat all the more remarkable for the fact that he missed one of those games - a 4-2 defeat against Real Sociedad.

Perhaps the craziest statistic to provide some perspective to the Portugal star's hot streak is that he has scored more league goals this season than 81 of the 98 teams in Europe's five major leagues, including Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Arsenal.

And Ronaldo's three hat-tricks this term have taken his career La Liga tally of trebles to 22, putting him joint level at the top of the pile with Zarra and Alfredo Di Stefano.

Ronaldo breaking the all-time hat-trick record and Messi setting a new all-time goalscoring record in the same game? With these two extraordinary players, anything is possible.

720 - Keeping it clean

Barca goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, it is fair to say, has made a decent impression since signing from Real Sociedad in the summer.

The Chile international has not conceded a single goal in 720 minutes of La Liga action, setting a new Spanish football record for consecutive clean sheets at the start of a season.

With another clean sheet at the Bernabeu on Saturday, Bravo would move into third place in the all-time La Liga list for minutes played without conceding, although he would still have a long way to go to overtake the record of 1,275 minutes achieved by Atletico keeper Abel Resino in 1990-91.

Eight - a host of new faces

Real Madrid's Toni Kroos
Toni Kroos is used to playing in Der Klassiker for Bayern Munich, but how will he perform in El Clasico?

Both clubs were active in the transfer market this summer and at least seven players (plus one coach) are set to appear in the hothouse atmosphere of El Clasico for the very first time.

The most high-profile debutant, naturally, is Suarez, but there will also be important roles all over the pitch for team-mates and fellow summer signings Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Ivan Rakitic, while homegrown youngsters Munir El Haddadi, Sandro and Rafinha could appear from the bench.

For Real, World Cup winner Toni Kroos and Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez will be looking to maintain their strong starts to life in Spain, while Manchester United loanee Javier Hernandez will probably replace Karim Benzema for the final 15 or 20 minutes.

There's also a coaching Clasico debut for Barca boss Luis Enrique - who just happens to be a former Real Madrid player. On a normal day that would be a major story in itself, but on this occasion the number of issues and talking points surrounding the game means his Bernabeu return will be little more than a footnote.

500 - Can you hear them?

Barcelona fans
Will Barca's 500 fanatical fans be celebrating at the Bernabeu on Saturday night?

Barcelona will face a decidedly hostile atmosphere inside the Bernabeu, with only 500 of their supporters tucked away in a corner high inside the grand old stadium.

The small allocation made available to the visitors is nothing unusual because Spanish football simply does not have a culture of fans travelling to away games.

Even for local derbies, it is rare to have an away following of more than a few hundred, with the fact that Real were cheered on by about 1,500 fans at Levante last weekend being so unusual that the club even published a story about it on their official website.

The official capacity of the Bernabeu is 81,044, making it the second largest club football venue in Europe after the Nou Camp, and it will be packed to the rafters on Saturday night with tickets exceptionally hard to come by.

About 65,000 of the attendees will be season-ticket holders, while the first batch of seats made available to members sold out in less than 20 minutes and tickets have been exchanging hands for up to £1,000 on the black market.

Seven - Title race over already?

After all the hype, it is (perhaps) possible to mount an argument that results override everything else and the three points at stake are more important than all the peripheral fanfare.

And in this respect, too, the game has major significance to the Spanish title race, with Barca coming into the match four points clear of the hosts and therefore knowing they can open up a seven-point gap with a win.

Considering how few points both teams will probably drop over the course of the campaign, that would be a significant margin and leave Real as big outsiders - even in October. On top of everything else, the title may well be up for grabs.

BBC Sport's football expert Mark Lawrenson:
"Ronaldo and Messi are, if anything, better than last season. It is so hard to call but I would go for Real to edge it this time. It will be full of absolutely everything - quality, intensity and lots of incident. It is becoming an unmissable event."

Top Stories