Easily the most important fixed appointment in the sporting calendar of the city of Barcelona, the Catalan derby of LaLiga brings together the FC Barcelona and the RCD Espanyol in a game that boasts a great local pride while showing the Catalan capital to world.
The rivalry between the two clubs dates back to the beginnings of organized soccer in the city, three decades before the foundation of LaLiga.
There have also been Catalan derbies (also known locally as the derbi barcelonés) through the years in the Copa del Rey, in the Spanish Super Cup, in the Copa Catalunya and in the now defunct Fairs Cup. While the 25 times winners of the LaLiga, Barcelona, has often come out on top, the Espanyol is always eager to upset its historically most successful neighbors.
The two clubs had similar origins but eventually differed from the turn of the 20th century. Barcelona was founded by Swiss student Hans Gamper in November 1899, with many of the founding members from the city's cosmopolitan ex-pat community. The Espanyol was established in the following October, with the local engineering student, Angel Rodriguez Ruiz, as president and the group consisting mainly of migrant workers from other Spanish regions such as I & # 39; Andalusia, Extremadura, Galicia and even Madrid.
The first Catalan derby soon took place, on December 23, 1900, a goalless draw played at the now extinct Camp de l Casanovas stadium. The rivalry was consolidated from the moment LaLiga began in 1929. Both clubs were founding members and Barça's 5-4 during this first season remains the highest Catalan derby ever.
The game has been played at LaLiga every year since, with the exception of the four seasons, Espanyol has spent in the second level. Barça's biggest victory came early, a 5-0 win in 1933/34, while the older Espanyol fans will still remember their team's 6-0 successes during the 1950/51 LaLiga campaign. .
A special moment for the city came in 1957 when Barça and Espanyol met in their only Copa del Rey final to date. Barça won 1-0 at the Estadio de Montjuic, the stadium that later became the home ground of the Espanyol from 1997 to 2009. The teams also met in the 2006/07 Spanish Supercopa, when Barça he was LaLiga champion and Espanyol Copa del Rey, with the Camp Nou team victoriously running out the overall 4-0.
The director of Ex-Barça Xavi Hernandez is the player with the most Catalan derby (32), while his former team-mate and current captain Lionel Messi has the most goals in LaLiga with 18, including two triplets and a four goals. "Poker" in 2011/12. The Espanyol's top scorer against neighbors is Rafael Marañón, with nine between 1974 and 1983, while the famous Raud Tamudo's 2007 draw for robbing Tamudazo – which cost Barcelona the Liga title – assured his place in the team's history.
Many players have represented both sides of the city division, returning directly to the legendary goalkeeper of the years, Ricardo Zamora, born in the city and now honored by the award for best LaLiga goalkeeper in every season. Others to wear both "Blaugrana" and "Blanquiazul" over the years include Ladislao Kubala, Jordi Cruyff and Ivan de la Peña.
This season's derby has added spices. Periquitos striker Sergio Garcia joined the La Masia del Barça academy, while Barça coach Ernesto Valverde has the merit of playing and coaching both companies. In addition, the Catalan chief Espanyol, Rubi, was in the technical staff of Camp Nou during the 2013/14 season.
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