El Clasico is one of, if not the most hard-fought clashes in world football. Yet, it is not just the sporting angle that has contributed to the fixture’s brand value and fame over the years.
The fundamental political difference between Barcelona and Real Madrid makes the game of football special, for it represents a fight that goes far beyond football.
While the tensions between the rivals off the field has been subdued in recent years, there has been a recent surge this year.
Both Spanish giants were said to have forgotten their differences to collaborate on the Super League last year, but the Negreira scandal has reignited the tension.
The Catalans refused to organise the traditional pre-Clasico management dinner event on Saturday, and El Mundo via Mundo Deportivo provides another interesting update on the situation.
According to the Spanish outlet, Florentino Perez will not attend the match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday. The Merengues’ president expects a very hostile environment for himself and his team and prefers to not take risks.
Perez’s decision to stand openly against Barcelona and his willingness to testify in court has not gone down well in the Barcelona offices. Needless to say, there is a feeling of betrayal in the Catalan capital.
Sunday will thus be the first time the Real Madrid administrator is absent from the Camp Nou to watch the Clasico in his 20 years as the president. With off-the-field tensions at a high, it remains to be seen if it has repercussions on the field.
Barcelona have got the better of Real Madrid in their last two meetings across all competitions, including once earlier this month. Playing their first Clasico at home after over a year, there will be a real drive to take three points and virtually seal the La Liga title.