F.C. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

August 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Musings, Soccer, Spain 4,020 views

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Real Madrid - F.C. Barcelona Animated CubeIf you live in Spain, there is one question upon which you absolutely must have an opinion: Are you a Barcelona or Real Madrid fan? You can be a fan of your local team – Go Racing Santander! – but you still have to pick a side between the two rival fíºtbol supergiants.

Most Spaniards have some emotional connection to one of the two cities, or sometimes team loyalty is passed down from generation to generation, but for a foreigner like me, I’ve got nothing to go on, so I’ve had to think about which side to choose. By just about every measure, I come firmly down on the side of…

The Sponsors

F.C. Barcelona has never had a corporate logo on their jerseys. In 2006, they made an agreement with UNICEF, but rather than the sponsor pay the club to wear their name, the club donates €1.5 million per year to UNICEF.

Real Madrid’s primary sponsor is bwin, the world’s largest publicly traded gambling company who is responsible for those horrible pop-under internet ads for PartyPoker.com.

F.C. Barcelona 1 – 0 Real Madrid

The Stars

Cristiano RonaldoF.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid have the two best soccer players in the world, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, respectively. Ronaldo is pretty; he comes out onto the field with styling gel in his hair. He reminds me of all those good looking jocks that got all the girls and were so mean to me in high school. From interviews and reading general news sources, it seems like his ego matches his physique. He’s a sex symbol and he knows it. I just plain don’t like him.

Lionel MessiLionel Messi, on the other hand, can best be described as well to the ugly side of ordinary. He’s handsome like a cubist painting, his hairstyle matches his last name, and his attention to style and looks is even lower than mine.

While I don’t know that much about Messi’s personality, I have seen a few interviews, and he just generally seems like a much better person that CR7. Oh yeah, Ronaldo has a moniker, his two initials and his jersey number. Did I mention that Ronaldo was named after Ronald Reagan?

F.C. Barcelona 2 – 0 Real Madrid

The Long Hairs

I have the same feelings about the two long haired stars of both teams. Carles Puyol, for Barcelona, is one ugly long-haired freak, whereas Madrid’s Sergio Ramos has a much more symmetrical face. There’s just something about Ramos’ gestures and attitude that I find unsettling. And don’t get me started on that stupid headband he wears! Why anyone would choose to play any sports with long hair not completely immobilized in a pony tail is beyond me. The truth is that I’m not all that fond of Puyol, either, after he insisted on carrying his regional Catalonian flag around the field after winning the World Cup for Spain instead of the Spanish flag, so I won’t award any points for this particular topic.

The Fonts

Real Madrid's Jersey Font

F.C. Barcelona's Jersey Font

Garay's Real Madrid JerseyEvery time I see Real Madrid play, the overly rounded nature of the font on their backs annoys me. It’s not completely illegible, but nor is it very easy to read. Both commit the same crime with the upper-case N being just a tall lowercase n, but I think you’ll agree that the font on the bottom is much cleaner and attractive.

The fact that the Real Madrid letters R and A are so nearly identical wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except that they have a player named Ezequiel Garay, who looks like he has “GAAAY” written on his back…which isn’t bad for suggesting homosexuality so much as for juxtaposition of identical-looking letters.

F.C. Barcelona 3 – 0 Real Madrid


I could go on about what a jerk Real Madrid’s coach, José Mourinho, seems to be, like how he put his thumb in someone’s eye last week, but I won’t. The truth is that it’s impossible to talk to a Spaniard about this topic without them being strongly biased one way or the other. All the features of ingroup/outgroup human tribal psychology are present in this debate.

Fans of Barcelona claim that the refs never call fouls on Real Madrid, and tout confirmation-bias-laden conspiracy theories about how, “Isn’t it curious that the television broadcast never shows slow motion replays when a Real Madrid player gets away with a foul?” The Real Madrid fans are equally livid about the preferential treatment they think Barcelona receives.

I must, however, concede one good point to a Real Madrid supporter friend of mine who I once heard say, “Whenever Messi does a fancy maneuver with the ball, everyone says, ‘Wow, what an amazing player!’, but when Ronaldo does one, everyone says, ‘What a bloody showoff!'” I can see how that would be annoying, but it’s all part of the image he’s created for himself. The animosity between the fans is sharp! There are several people with whom I refuse to watch soccer matches anymore because they get so vitriolic.


So, to conclude, I root for F.C. Barcelona whenever they are playing against Real Madrid. Believe me, I am acutely aware of just how superficial my reasons are. They are meant to be. It’s just a bunch of millionaires kicking a ball around in the grass.

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Foosball

  • Paul

    Good reasons all, especially their reverse sponsorship deal with UNICEF. I had wondered about that. It was an annoyance to think the team I liked the best was accepting money from starving children. However, you haven’t touched on my reasons for liking them. They epitomize the “beautiful game”. Periodically I count the number of times they pass the ball – often 30 or more. Their spacing and ball work are a mix of poetry and ballet. It is fun to watch Ronaldo launch a rocket from 30 meters out, but it is much more fun to watch Barca score with 3 passes inside the box within 2 seconds.

    • Anonymous

      I particularly liked the juxtaposition of the Nike “Swoosh” and the UNICEF logo.  The whole “not accepting money from starving children” thing is relative.

  • Lee

    I live in Madrid but support Barí§a. Real Madrid’s creepy fascist Ultras make me puke.

    • Anonymous

      Els Boixos Nois no se quedan atrás, ¿no? 

  • Jose

    It’s the same in Uruguay with Nacional and Peñarol, and I think it’s the same in every country with two ‘supergiants’ as you call them. It’s the most clear case where people first pick a side (when they are too young) and then take every reason out there to justify their choice. Many people know they’re doing this but they don’t care.
    As a side note, don’t Atlético de Madrid fans side with Barcelona?

  • Maflix2

    Hello, I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but never commented. I’d
    like to congratulate you because of it, it is quite entretaining to
    read your opinion about Spain and our customs.

    I think I’m one of those rare Spaniards that don’t support any of both
    teams, and hates when that question arrives. However, usually I bias to
    one side depending on the contest, and now I think I prefer Barí§a to
    Madrid because some of your reasons and others.

    Nevertheless I’d like to correct you in the first reason “The Sponsors”.
    This year Barcelona has Qatar Foundation as sponsor wrote instead of
    Unicef. Gossips are saying that Unicef was a transition strategy to use
    the fans to something wrote in their jersey. I believe this gossips
    because it is know how much the clubs earn by these sponsors and
    Barcelona known their need sooner or later the money. Moreover, fans
    were really proud before to do not have anything wrote in their jersey.

    • Thank you for your comment, Maflix2!

      I suspected that the sponsor reason might be more complex than I thought. Thank you for enlightening me. It doesn’t surprise me that that reason would turn out to be as superficial as the others. Oh well.

    • The day after you left this comment, I went to a local town market and it was flooded with Barí§a jerseys with the new Qatar Foundation logo on them.

      However the Qatar Foundation seems to be a nonprofit charity, so there is still a pretty strong moral contrast with bwin.

  • CoMa

    Hi Erik
    in your pros and cons you forgot the coaches:
    Pep vs Mourinho.
    This could be one point for Madrid in matters of the biggest loser or the biggest mouth.

  • The bf’s family is all Madridista, so I kinda don’t have a choice. (I honestly wouldn’t give a f*** if it were up to me.) However, I kinda hate the whole rhetoric of “all Madrid fans are fascists/racists/etc.” so I get pissed off when people dislike them for that reason. Also, I think CR9 is a jerk. Probably. I do love me some Iker, though.

    • I admit to being a big Iker fan, too. All the best people have those four letters in their name. 😉

  •  Today i learn about foot ball Games i don’t know about foot ball i am cricket player and played last 15 years my age is 27 year can any one advice me can i play foot ball in this age.

  • Nicole

    Great post, Erik! While I must stick with my blancos through thick and thin, I can see why you’ve chosen to support Barca – I’m constantely reminded of how great the team is everyday by my husband who’s a life-long Barca fan.

    • Cookylopez

      real sucks

  • Cookylopez

    cookylopez likes cr7 dick