Barcelona and Real Madrid have forged one of football’s fiercest rivalries over the past 117 years and fans were forced to wait for the latest instalment after El Clasico was postponed in October due to civil unrest in Catalonia.
The wait is finally over, El Clasico is here and as history suggests, there will be fireworks in this highly combustive fixture.
Let’s hope Thursday morning’s (AEDT) instalment lives up to these five Clasico crackers.
Barcelona 0-0 Real Madrid – November 2002
A player leaving Barcelona for Real Madrid? Pigs might fly, literally...
Luis Figo committed football’s cardinal sin – leaving Barcelona for Real Madrid in 2001 and the Blaugrana faithful weren’t ready to forgive when Figo returned to the Camp Nou for El Clasico in 2002.
As predicted, fans hurled abuse, and a few beer cans at Figo. Nobody was expecting a pigs head to tumble onto the Camp Nou pitch as the Portuguese star prepared to take a corner.
The match ended in a 0-0 draw, but the infamous hog's head made this a Clasico few would forget.
Real Madrid 4-1 Barcelona – May 2008
Skip past this one Barcelona fans.
Real Madrid had the league title sewn up heading into the final El Clasico of the 2007-2008 season, and Barcelona begrudgingly set up a guard of honour for its fierce foe.
Barcelona great Xavi dubbed it ‘ the most humiliating moment of his life’ and it was compounded by Los Blancos going on to win the match 4-1.
Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid – November 2010
Jose Mourinho was brought in by unforgiving Real Madrid president Florentino Perez in a bid to end Barcelona’s dominance in LaLiga under Pep Guardiola.
The Special One’s first El Clasico couldn’t have failed more spectacularly, as David Villa struck twice in the five-goal rout at Camp Nou.
No wonder things got so heated when they met in El Clasico nine months later.
Barcelona 3-2 Real Madrid - August 2011
With November’s 5-0 humiliation still burning in the minds of Real Madrid players, tensions were high heading into their Spanish Super Cup final in 2011.
The spite-filled two-legged tie culminated with an all-in brawl in the dying stages of the second leg, when Marcelo was sent off for a reckless late challenge on Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas.
The melee spilled into the dugout, where Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was spotted poking the eye of Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova.
Mourinho was asked to apologise, but the former Chelsea boss declined, instead calling his adversary ‘Pito’ Vilanova – the Spanish slang for penis.
Both coaches received touchline bans (which were eventually rescinded) for the altercation.
Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid, March 2007
It was the match when a little-known teenager named Lionel Messi announced himself to the world.
With Barcelona 2-0, up stepped the 19 year-old scoring twice to bring his side back to parity. Sergio Ramos thought he had snatched a late winner for Los Blancos, but again it was Messi who rounded out his hat-trick in one of the best solo performances in El Clasico history.
The diminutive Argentine has gone on to score more goals in El Clasico (26) than any other player and will be looking to add to his tally when he leads out Barcelona on Thursday morning (AEDT).