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18.12.2007 12:06

Veterans and debutants in the clásico

Berta Brau

Six Barça players could be playing against Real Madrid for the first time on Saturday, but will be able to count on good advice from seasoned veterans like Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernández, the two players that have appeared in the most classics.

Nothing quite compares with a clash between Barça and Madrid. Both players and fans always get sucked in by amazing atmosphere of rivalry, euphoria, spectacle and goals.

Puyol the most veteran

Puyol has played no fewer than 15 league games against Madrid, having played his first way back in the 1999/2000 season, in game that ended in a draw (2-2). He has only missed one game since, the return match at the Bernabéu in 2000/01, which also ended 2-2.

14 clásicos for Xavi

alegria_2_real_madrid_-_fcb_25-4-04.jpgXavi has played just one game less, starting with the first 45 minutes against Real Madrid in 1999/2000 at the Bernabéu, which Barça lost 3-0. Like Puyol, Xavi has missed just one game, through injury, corresponding to the 2005/06 season.

Xavi is one of the few players to have scored past Casillas, and he did it twice, His first goal against Madrid was scored in 2001/02 at the Camp Nou in a 1-1 draw. He repeated the feat in 2003/04, this time at the Bernabéu, scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 away win.

Valdés, Iniesta and Ronaldinho

Victor Valdés has never missed a clásico since becoming a first team regular, making a total of eight appearances. His first Barça v Madrid was in 2003/04 and hasn’t missed a game since.
Ronaldinho and Iniesta have faced the Meringues six times, as have Deco, Oleguer and Rafa Márquez.

Six Barça debutants

fcb-recre0708_x16x.jpgHenry, Touré, Abidal, Milito, Bojan and Giovani are the six Barça players that have never played in a clásico, although the first four have all met Real Madrid while playing for their former clubs: Milito played Madrid in the league when he was at Zaragoza; Henry did so in the Champions League with Arsenal; Touré, also met them in Europe when he was at Olympiakos, as did Abidal with Lyon.

But neither Bojan nor Giovani have ever faced the Madrid first team, although they have often faced different Madrid youth teams in the past.
Veterans and debutants in the clásico
Ronaldinho has scored the most goals against Real Madrid, a total of five between 2004/05 and 2005/06.
Eto'o has scored 3 times in the 5 games he has played, while Leo Messi achieved the same tally in just one game, last season at the Camp Nou. Xavi, with two, is the only other player to have scored against Madrid for Barça.

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