Barcelona and Real Madrid meet for the 185th time in La Liga history this weekend, as they renew their rivalry in the world’s biggest derby: El Clásico. As one of the most famous fixtures in the football calendar, we look at Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Stats stats through time with the help of a delightful array of data viz.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Stats: The History
Real Madrid and Barcelona. Two of the biggest clubs in world football. Their rivalry is considered one of the biggest in sport, let alone football, and they meet for the 185th time in La Liga this Sunday at Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid edge the La Liga head-to-head record between the pair with three more wins than their Catalan rivals (76 vs. 73).
Following their 4-0 victory in March 2022, Barcelona have the chance to win two successive games against Real Madrid in La Liga for the first time since March 2019 under Ernesto Valverde and could secure two wins in a row against their rivals without conceding for the first time since between November 2009 and November 2010 under Pep Guardiola.
Amazingly, despite meeting 184 times in the competition already, both clubs have scored exactly the same number of goals in La Liga Clásico matches (295), with Barcelona’s 4-0 win last season taking them level with Real Madrid for Clásico goals in La Liga and now both are five away from hitting the 300-mark.
No clubs have been more successful in La Liga history since the competition began in 1929 than Barcelona and Real Madrid. In fact, along with Athletic Bilbao, the Clásico rivals are the only clubs to have never been relegated from La Liga, with all three playing in their 92nd campaign in the competition.
Real Madrid (59.9%) and Barcelona (57.8%) are the only two La Liga clubs to have played in more than one season of the competition and hold a win ratio higher than 50%. Both clubs have won far more games in the competition than any other, while Real became the first club to surpass 1,750 wins in the competition back in November 2021.
Unsurprisingly, both Real Madrid (35) and Barcelona (26) have won the most La Liga titles since the competition began in 1929. Collectively, their 61 titles make up 67% of all La Liga title wins by clubs, with the next most coming by Atlético Madrid with 11.
Sixteen of the last 18 La Liga campaigns have been won by either Real Madrid (six) or Barcelona (10), with Atlético Madrid only able to break the hegemony of the Clásico rivals twice in this period (2013-14 and 2020-21).
The last time that Barcelona ended a season with more La Liga titles than their rivals Real Madrid was back in 1960-61 – Real had just won their seventh title, following Barcelona’s eighth the season before. Since levelling Barca with their eighth La Liga title in 1961-62, the Catalan club have never caught Real Madrid’s tally up.
However, since the three-points-for-a-win rule came into force in Spain back in 1995-96, Barcelona have finished with more La Liga points than Real Madrid in 15 separate seasons, with Madrid collecting more in 10 campaigns (they won the same number of points in two seasons – 2006-07 and 2013-14).
Real’s 13-point lead over Barcelona last season was their biggest positive points differential over their rivals in La Liga since 2007-08, when they won the title ahead of runners-up Villarreal and Barcelona finished 18 points behind in third place.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Stats: The Current
Real Madrid and Barcelona currently sit in the top two places in La Liga after eight matches, level on 20 points each. The last time that they came into a La Liga Clásico level on points wasn’t far back at all – we need only go back to their matchday seven meeting in 2020-21 when they both had 13 points.
Of the 28 seasons within the three-points-for-a-win era (since 1995-96), Los Blancos have never before won as many as 22 points from their opening eight matches in a La Liga campaign. Converting to three points for a win, this is their best league start since 1991-92 (also W7 D1 L0), a season which they ended as runners-up to Barcelona by a single point.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have won 22 points or more from their opening eight league games for the eighth time in 28 seasons with the three-points-for-a-win rule in place, and the first time since 2017-18. On the seven previous occasions, they’ve only failed to win the league title once – that was in 2013-14 when they finished second and level on points with Real, three points behind league winners Atlético Madrid.
Barcelona have currently conceded just one goal across their eight matches this season in La Liga – the lowest tally in the 2022-23 competition so far and only bettered by their own record in 2014-15 when they kept a clean sheet in their first eight games on the way to the title.
The ninth game that season? A 3-1 defeat away to Real Madrid.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Stats: The Youth
Barcelona come into El Clásico with the fourth youngest average starting XI age in La Liga this season, at 25 years and 343 days old. Only Valencia (24y 96d), Almería (25y 336d) and Real Sociedad (25y 340d) have been younger, while Xavi’s side have been almost two years younger than that of Real Madrid’s starting XIs on average in 2022-23 so far (27y 217d).
Barca’s squad is perfectly balanced in regards to age, with experienced heads like Gerard Piqué (35), Sergio Busquets (34), Robert Lewandowski (34) and Jordi Alba (33) merged with the teenage regulars of Ansu Fati (19), Pedri (19), Alejandro Balde (18) and Gavi (18).
Just two of their 34 La Liga meetings with Real Madrid since the turn of 2005 have seen them select a starting XI aged under 26 years old on average – both came in 2021 and both ended with a 2-1 defeat. There’s every chance they could be picking another sub-26-year-old starting XI on Sunday, and this time they’ll be hoping for more success against Real.
Barcelona’s new crop of young talent is certainly exciting their fans. Since the start of last season, the only club to hand more league minutes to players aged under 21 years old across the top five European leagues than they have (9,801) are Ligue 1 side Montpellier (10,211).
Barcelona have handed league appearances to 13 different players aged under 21 years old since the start of 2021-22, which is more than any other club across Europe’s major leagues – one more than both Bologna and VfB Stuttgart (12).
Of those 13, Gavi (42 games, 2,906 minutes) has been the most prolifically used while aged under 21, followed by Pedri (1,412 mins), Eric García (1,243 mins) and Nico González (1,109 mins).
Compare these metrics to Real Madrid, who have played just five players when aged under 21 and handed a cumulative total of 2,473 minutes to them – Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo, Miguel Gutiérrez, Peter and Sergio Santos – which is 433 minutes fewer than Barcelona’s use of Gavi, alone.
Comparing the two squads’ usage of players in La Liga since the start of last season, there’s little doubt that Barcelona have utilised their young talent more than Real Madrid – but much of that has been forced by off-field issues last season.
Reigning league champions Real have a wonderful balance to their playing squad, with the exciting Aurélien Tchouaméni a brilliant replacement for the older Casemiro, who left to join Manchester United. Replacing the talents of 37-year-old Luka Modrić and near-35-year-old Karim Benzema will soon prove to be difficult tasks though.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Stats: The Need-to-Knows
Gone is the era of Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo in El Clásico. With both now departed from Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, the eyes divert to two of the other leading forwards in world football this Sunday: Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski.
Across the last 12 seasons (since 2011-12), these two players have scored a combined tally of 512 league goals, with Lewandowski’s 313 goals below only Messi (366) and Ronaldo (345), while Benzema’s 199 goals across this time is the seventh-most.
Benzema has 11 goals in this fixture across all competitions, which ranks as the joint ninth most in El Clásico history, but way off Messi’s ridiculous record tally of 26.
Lewandowski has been able to convert his Bundesliga scoring form at Bayern Munich into success in front of goal at his new club Barcelona.
He’s the current top scorer in La Liga with nine goals. That tally is three more than any other player, while he’s also attempted the most shots (31) and has the highest expected goals figure (7.6) in the Spanish top-flight, ahead of Benzema in second (5.6). With his hat-trick in the Champions League on his competition debut for Barcelona, he became the first player in UCL history to score a hat-trick with three different clubs.
Another veteran in this rivalry, Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets could play in his 44th competitive Clásico match. That would take him just one behind the all-time record, currently shared by Messi and Sergio Ramos, neither who play in La Liga any longer. Busquets will be aiming to beat that record later this season, should Barcelona play Real in a cup competition as well as their planned league meeting in March 2023. Should he feature and Barcelona win, captain Busquets will equal Francisco Gento (21 wins in 42 games) as the player with the most wins in El Clásico history in all competitions (20 in 43 games).
Whilst he’s only coached Barcelona in two Clásico matches – including that 4-0 win over Carlo Ancelotti’s side in La Liga back in March, Xavi Hernández has played in 42 of these derbies.
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