MADRID Soccer fans will have a unique chance to see Real Madrid and Barcelona -- two of the world's best teams and the two richest clubs -- lock horns four times in 18 days starting with Saturday's La Liga match at the Bernabeu.
The arch Spanish rivals also meet in the final of the King's Cup on April 20 and home and away in the European Champions League on April 27 (Bernabeu) and May 3 (Nou Camp).
Following is a selection of five key games between Real and Barca, known as the "clasicos", going back more than a century:
May 13, 1902 - Real 1 Barca 3
Barca drew first blood in what was to become one of the most intense club rivalries in world football. The Catalans triumphed over the Castilians in a game marking the coronation of King Alfonso XIII at Madrid's Estadio Hipodromo. Swiss Joan Gamper, who founded FC Barcelona three years earlier, netted one of Barca's goals.
June 21, 1936 - Real 2 Barca 1
Less than a month before Spain was plunged into a brutal civil war, Real edged the first meeting between the pair in a Spanish cup final. With the country bitterly divided, Barca president Josep Sunyol was assassinated by Francoist forces two months later and many Barca players chose not to return from a tour to Mexico the following year.
November 23, 1960 - Barca 2 Real 1
With Alfredo di Stefano leading the charge, Real triumphed in the first five European Cups between 1956 and 1960 but it was Barca who became the first team to claim their scalp in the competition a year later. The pair drew their last-16 first leg at the Bernabeu 2-2 before Barca won the second leg at their Nou Camp arena 2-1.
January 20, 1994 - Barca 5 Real 0
Dutch great Johan Cruyff led Barca to their first European Cup triumph in 1992 and they emphasised their dominance over Real during the early 1990s with a crushing 5-0 league drubbing of the Madrid club at the Nou Camp, Brazil striker Romario netting a hat-trick. Catalan joy was relatively shortlived as Real beat them 5-0 at the Bernabeu the following season thanks to an Ivan Zamorano treble.
May 2, 2009 - Real 2 Barca 6
As a player, Cruyff inspired Barca to what is still their biggest win at the Bernabeu, a 5-0 success in February 1974. But it was Barca's 6-2 victory there in their treble-winning season in 2008/09 that really sticks in the throat of the modern generation of Real fans and confirmed coach Pep Guardiola was a force to be reckoned with. Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi scored twice, with central defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique adding a goal each. Puyol celebrated his goal by tearing off and passionately kissing his captain's armband in the colours of the Catalan flag to drive the point home.
(Sources: www.centurymatch.com / www.fcbarcelona.com / www.realmadrid.com)
(Compiled by Iain Rogers; Editing by John O'Brien; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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