With an estimated global audience of more than 650 million viewers, it is the most watched championship game in the world. A meeting between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid like this Wednesday, December 18 goes beyond the simple game of football. Especially when the Catalan political context invites itself into this great sporting event.
Targeted by independence demonstrations, the meeting, originally scheduled for October 26 in Barcelona, had to be postponed for "exceptional reasons" according to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), due to incessant mobilizations and violent clashes in Catalonia. Two months later, the clasico remains threatened, with several rallies expected around the boiling Camp Nou and its almost 100,000 places, and the fear of a possible cancellation of the meeting.
"A simple football match", for Zidane
"It's a simple football match," tried Madrid's trainer Zinedine Zidane on Tuesday. "There is a lot going on around, but in the end what people want to see is a good football game."
Same call for calm for his Barcelona counterpart Ernesto Valverde: "People will be able to watch the match freely. That's all we ask: that there is respect for everyone", he said. he throws.
"It will be played, the clasico will be played", assured Thursday the president of FC Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu. A leitmotif repeated by the sports, political and police authorities, who have multiplied the meetings in recent days.
🙌 IT'S #ELCLASICO DAY 🙌 @ FCBarcelona 🆚 @realmadriden
👉 Matchday 10
🏟 Camp Nou
⏰ 8:00 p.m. CET
# ⃣ #RMLiga pic.twitter.com/xAJCr61LGC
A bunkered Camp Nou
For the occasion, the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona will be transformed into a real fortress. Patrols, extensive searches, a safety cordon ... Every precaution is taken to ensure that this poster for first place in the Spanish championship takes place without a hitch.
To counter the "massive concentration" called for by the independence platform of the democratic Tsunami, the security forces have provided for more than 3,000 security agents, including 1,000 police officers.
Police will guarantee "the match, fan access and security inside and outside the stadium," local officials said in a press conference on Friday.
From this Wednesday morning, agents will patrol around the enclosure, so that the teams, the referees and the supporters can enter without problem and attend this match judged to be "high risks" by the police.
Further checks and searches will be carried out at various entrances, and a cord will be put in place to prevent demonstrators from reaching the stadium doors.
A football challenge
These tensions would almost make them forget the sporting issues around the meeting: the two teams are at the top of the Spanish championship tied with 35 points each. The result of the meeting will therefore give a definite advantage to the eventual winner.
The match will be doubled by a duel in the duel since the two best current scorers of the Spanish championship (12 achievements), the Argentinian Lionel Messi, crowned with a sixth Ballon d'Or on December 2, and the center forward French Karim Benzema, will be on the ground.
Feverish on the field, in the stands and outside the stadium, this Clasico between the two Spanish giants and rivals will have repercussions that go beyond the simple framework of football.
Newsletter Don't miss anything from international newsDon't miss anything from international news