The classics: 10 years of the perfect storm

From April 16 to May 3, 2011 Real Madrid and Barça met in four games. The rivalry degenerated to limits never seen before. The personal atmosphere was poisoned

The fucking master, Pepe’s red, the stomp, the ‘why’, the pique in the locker room, the dairy, the reproaches and the enmity. It all happened in less than three weeks. They were wearing the Barcelona and Real Madrid shirts. They seemed two urban tribes, two ways of understanding the game, of standing in the field and looking into each other’s eyes.

With the binoculars two close rivals, Guardiola and Mourinho, the touch and the fury. Every inch of grass became personal. Each statement before a microphone stirred the menu of the day. It happened in 2011, from April 16 to May 3. It is ten years since a collection of eternal episodes.

That diabolical calendar, designed by a colonel of the morbid, brought Real Madrid and Barça together four times in 18 days. They were expecting a League game, a Cup final and a Champions semi-final, the perfect script for the seismographs to explode. Friends passed enemies, syllables carried dynamite and a ball ran through the middle that smelled of napalm.

The context and Piqué’s hand

It wasn’t just soccer games. In those four appointments, in those 18 days, there were as many incidents as in five years. The whole tablet turned out to be unbreathable. In the grass all possible sections of the present day were litigated: sports, internal and international affairs, violence, justice, corruption and even racism.

The context placed the clubs in opposite positions. Guardiola’s Barça threatened to install a tyranny in European football. He had polished Cruyff’s bet and added him to Messi, who already ‘maradoneaba’. In 2011 with that philosophy he had already won a Champions League and the famous sextet of 2009.

Madrid sought in Mourinho the general who could stop the giant. His last Champions dated from 2002 and the squad was a luxurious showcase with Cristiano, Özil, Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Kaká, Di María etc. The melee promised, especially when in November in a league match at the Camp Nou Barça crushed the rival 5-0, a feat celebrated with Piqué and his little hand.

If VAR had existed, the matches would have lasted a hundred days. The postwar period, if there was one, was not easy. The atmosphere was poisoned in the selection to a year of the Eurocopa of Ukraine and Poland. Before entering that dining room, you have to count everything in order of appearance as in the cast of the movies.


Barça visited the Bernabéu in a privileged position with an eight-point advantage on the rival. For what would later happen the game was almost the farewell to a cruise ship. The two coaches pulled from their academy. Mourinho opted for Pepe as pivot with Xabi Alonso and Khedira. The game was drawn: possession for the azulgrana (74%) and white against with more shots on goal than the leader.

The game, stuck and without flowers, was broken in the 51st minute with the red from Muñiz Fernández to Albiol for a penalty to Villa. Messi transformed. Barça fell asleep and the entry of Özil woke up Madrid, who equalized after a penalty from Alves to Marcelo that Cristiano did not forgive. La Liga painted culé and the chinitas began.

Mourinho, at a press conference, was “tired of always playing against Barça with one less. It’s an impossible mission. “Xavi accused the rival of playing” with long balls. “Casillas and Sergio Ramos accused I got to say in the tunnel “Spanish, We have won your League and now we are going to win the King’s Cup. “The central defender denied that, but Iker and Ramos supported it.


Mestalla was the siege of Stalingrad. Cup final and final and start of many bills. Mourinho once again bet on Pepe as a pivot, the fingerprint of that troop. Madrid, more furious than ever, takes over the game in the first half, so much so that Pepe heads to the post of Pinto, the cup keeper, before the break.

The seams pop with every play. The first big brawl originates from Arbeloa stomping Villa with the ball on another fence. Undiano is surrounded by four, six or ten players in each controversial action. A single judge is not enough for those black and white soccer hooligans of the 60s and 70s.

We are the only team that has wanted to play football

Xavi Hernández (Barcelona player)

The steam from the dressing room suits Barça well, which returns to the game and commands in the second half in which Casillas avoids goals from Iniesta and Messi. Undiano well cancels a goal for offside by Pedro. The extension is a fact in a scenario of international conflict.

In the first part of extra time, a shipment from Di María reaches Cristiano’s head on the roof of the stadium. It is the only goal of the game. Pepe celebrates the target with a sleeves cut. Di María is sent off with two minutes remaining. Madrid conquers the Copa del Rey 18 years later.

Sergio Ramos says that Mourinho “is the captain of the ship and we are going to death with him.” Xavi points out that Barça was “the only team that wanted to play football.” The two trainers keep the spike wristbands for a few days. Madrid is presented in a crowded Cibeles at dawn and Ramos drops the Cup from the bus.


The tornado reached the Bernabéu as a semi-final in the Champions League. Before the trip to Madrid, Guardiola, in an unforeseen twist of plan, talks about the refereeing of the Cup final: “By two centimeters and with the assistant’s excellent eyesight, we couldn’t win the Cup. If a Portuguese referee whistles the Madrid coach will be happy. “The broth was already boiling.

Guardiola’s “fucking master”

One day before the game, press conferences are held. In the morning, Mourinho began striking: “We are entering a new era, a coach who criticizes the referee’s success.” In the afternoon, Guardiola stops filigree: “In this room he is the fucking boss, the fucking boss.” He also points out that some media support Madrid and qualify them as a “dairy farm.” The coach claims that they come from “such a small country.” The Barça players cheer their coach when he enters the dining room for dinner.

In this room he’s the fucking boss, the fucking master

Pep Guardiola (Barcelona coach)

On the Vietnamese turf, the players hardly even look at each other when they greet each other. A Portuguese does not whistle, the German Stark arbitrates, considered the worst referee in the Bundesliga by German players. Mourinho insists with Pepe as pivot. Madrid poses a 0-0 match. The Barça dominates without clear occasions.

The brawls take place before a referee in a cast. In particular, each action of Arbeloa (for his stomping on Villa in Mestalla), who is pursued by the Catalans. At half-time Keita and the white defender clash before reaching the tunnel. In the mess, Pinto, who grabs Chendo, the white delegate, is expelled.

The volcano of the second part was opening. In the 51st minute, Pepe gets on the plate before a clearance by Dani Alves. The side rolls on the ground, so much so that the action seems savage. Stark shows Pepe a direct red card to the amazement of the local players. The images leave the arbitration decision in a bad place.

Mourinho applauds with irony and is expelled. He sits in the stands at the edge of the lawn. It is the moment of the Barça. Two goals from Messi, the second after a spectacular maneuver, they left the tie with Barça paint. There is no room for another spark in the environment or yes.

The Portuguese coach makes a plea against UEFA and the referees that remains for history: “If I tell the referee or UEFA how I feel, it ends my career today. Why? Why Ovrebo, why Busacca, why De Bleeckere, why Stark? Why, why? … I don’t know if it’s the UNICEF advertising. They have to reach the final period. Why? They all see it. Sometimes this world makes me a bit disgusted. If we score a goal there they will kill us again. We have no chance. Why? Why are you expelling Pepe? ”

Why Ovrebo? Why Busacca? Why De Bleeckere? Why Stark? Guardiola has won a Champions League that I would be ashamed to win

José Mourinho (Real Madrid coach)

In his words he shot Guardiola’s record. “He has won a Champions League that I would be ashamed to win, He won it with the Stamford Bridge scandal and he will win it with the Bernabéu scandal. I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to win a white Champions League without scandals from behind. “Guardiola did not speak of the referee nor did he respond to Mourinho.

Madrid protested to UEFA over some images in which Busquets allegedly offended Marcelo in a racist way. The organism ignored that claim and Barça published a video of support for the team with tickets in the absence of Madrid players on their own.


Just a week later, without enough time to digest before so much lava, the second leg arrived. UEFA appointed Belgian De Bleeckere, one of those indicated by Mourinho. With the Portuguese in silence, in the previous Karanka took the floor before the Press. “Some who use racist insults will play, others will not,” said Mourinho’s aide.

In feverish weather, the Camp Nou was hosting the last round of the fray. Mourinho stayed at the hotel to witness the match in the absence of agreement to find an accommodation in the stadium. Barça controlled the game without problems in the first half. At the start of the second half, De Bleeckere annulled a legal goal to Higuaín which was 0-1. White anger was useless. Pedro scored 1-0 and Marcelo equalized later. Barça took a ticket to Wembley.

The kitchen in the white locker room was inflamed. Casillas raised his voice: “The referees have shot us, They have robbed us here and there. “Cristiano indicated that the match was” Mission Impossible IV. We will have to let them play alone. “Karanka ironized:” They let us finish with eleven. Mou was right. ”

The referees have shot us, they have robbed us here and there

Iker Casillas

On the Barça side, Guardiola savored a victory “over a super strong team, the richest, the one that has the capacity to pay coaches’ termination clauses. “Alves pointed out that” Madrid does not know how to lose. They are obsessed with Barça “.

The ‘postwar’

Peace was not decreed, but the calendar separated them until August, in the Super Cup with Mourinho’s finger in Tito Vilanova’s eye after a tangana in the band. The cracks reached the selection, in which the two groups mounted a social distance in coexistence. Casillas spoke with Xavi after Puyol’s mediation and the matter settled down. Spain won the Euro of 2012.

A decade later, some protagonists spoke of those earthquakes. In ‘Hanging the wings’, the documentary about Casillas’ life in Movistar, Mourinho explains that his objective was to create a “war mentality” in his players to stop the Barça game. Casillas admits that it happened “a sorry picture. We were not prepared to live games like this. “Iniesta acknowledges that in those games” rationality was lost a bit, the north.

The coldness has replaced the unbridled passion of those. Ten years have passed in a heartbeat. The classics are timeless.

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