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El Clasico: Barcelona v Real Madrid: Football's Greatest Rivalry Paperback – 2 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408158795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408158791
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.5 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Fitzpatrick's book is invaluable for the context that it gives a match that you might have watched superficially for years (Observer)

Richard Fitzpatrick ... is an objective examiner of the complex political and social reasons this rivalry was born and nurtured, unearthing some surprising facts along the way ... Engrossing (Independent)

Once I picked up El Clásico, I couldn't stop reading. It's unbelievably good . Absolutely fascinating (Mark Lawrenson)

The greatest story in club football is the El Clasico opera. Richard Fitzpatrick delves deep to enhance our understanding of this intense rivalry. Power, politics and most of all the brilliance of the football are all on show in these pages (Paul Hayward, Daily Telegraph)

A fascinating and detailed attempt to get to the heart of one of the most complicated and poisonous rivalries in football (Guardian)

For anyone who wants to understand why Barcelona v Real Madrid means so much more than a straightforward match between an unparalleled array of footballing stars, this book should become essential reading (Guillem Balague, Sky Sports)

Top football writing (Dara Ó Briain)

By taking Barça vs Madrid beyond the boundaries of sport, Fitzpatrick offers an absorbing history of the two cities' political and cultural flashpoints, and how this has matured into one of the most fiery rivalries on earth. Suberbly researched, it's a fascinating read (FourFourTwo)

Fitzpatrick's tales of some the world's best football players will hold you at every page (Irish Examiner)

Carefully positioning himself as an outsider . Fitzpatrick gives voice to a huge range of opinions and personal stories from both sides of the fence. [which] makes El Clàsico such a satisfying read (When Saturday Comes Magazine)

Richard Fitzpatrick's enormously enjoyable take on the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona (Irish Times)

Any fan of the game will start reading for the football, be enticed deeper by the quality of writing and research and enthralled by the depth and scope of El Clásico (The Book Bag)

Book Description

An investigation of the intrigue, politics and culture behind El Clásico - the hard-fought, long-running contest between two of the world's biggest football clubs - explaining the place sport's greatest rivalry has in Spanish life and the world of football.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bamaldinho on 18 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book in about 2 days while on holidays.
I only began to follow La Liga in the last 10 years mainly due to increased TV coverage and in recent years I have been able to go to games in both the Camp Nou and the Bernabéu. I don't really have a great preference for either team but I hugely enjoy the rivalry/drama between the clubs and the high quality of the players. I rarely miss watching a Classico on TV when they are played.

The book El Classico helped me fill in a lot of blanks about why this rivalry is so intense. I now appreciate why there is such dis-harmony/hatred between supporters of the clubs and how it reflects what a divided country modern Spain is. For example local Catalan tax is spent throughout Spain but the taxes of the Basque region are only spent locally!

What I really liked about the book is that offers a very indepth analysis into the personalities involved, especially that of Jose Mourinho. Also there are very interesting interviews with legends like Luis Figo, Hristo Stoichkov, Charly Rexach and current Spanish national team manager Vincente Del Bosque.

If like me you are interested in Spanish football but do not speak Spanish then I do not think you will get these insights anywhere else. Most journalistic coverage of Spanish football that I read is either will Messi score more goals than Ronaldo, which of them earns the higher wages or which team will spend the most money in the transfer window? For those who want to read non tabloid football journalism about Spanish football this is the book to read. The writer uses an easy simple style of writing with plenty humour and he gets the balance right between the history of the rivalry and what it is like for the fans of both clubs today.
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Format: Paperback
Nothing divides opinion quite like football and no-one expresses their joy and disappointment like football fans. For many fans, the most important matches of their entire season are the ones against their local rivals; the derby matches. English football has a number of these, but only the matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain have elevated themselves above mere derby status and earned their own name: ''El Clásico'' - the Classic.

Unlike most derbies, this isn't a clash between two teams from the same city or locality. Indeed, with many Catalans considering themselves Catalan rather than Spanish, it's not even considered a clash between two teams from the same country by some fans. Regardless, with the two clubs being the best in the Spanish league by some margin and, frequently in recent years, amongst the best in European club football, it's a clash that overshadows all else.

Fitzpatrick lifts the lid on a rivalry that has as much to do with politics and it does with football. Spanish politics is centred on Madrid and Spain was ruled by a dictator in General Franco for many years, which Barcelona feels gave Madrid an advantage with both the football authorities and match officials. It is largely this resentment that seems to have pushed Barcelona to greater achievements and has made the rivalry closer and more intense in recent times, especially as the spending power of both clubs has increased and enabled them to buy the world's finest footballers.

For those fans who thought football politics was about little more than boardroom wrangling, ''El Clásico'' is an eye opener. In Spain, football runs along completely different lines to in England.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Townie on 17 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
This comprehensive and very enjoyable read, gives us an objective view of the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid. As the author reveals, the story is so much more than a football match. Over the course of El Clasico he manages to successfully weave a sporting, cultural and historical saga into a great story, and this is a great story. Popular myths are exposed to reveal some very surprising truths. We know that El Clasico is biggest football show in town and thanks to Richard Fitzpatrick we now know why.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Ginnelly on 28 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
I watched last Thursday's first leg of the Spanish Supercup through new eyes; informed,enlightened,intrigued thanks to this book.Fitzpatrick provides insight,pulling no punches, leaving the reader astounded at one moment,in stitches the next.The pages turn themselves. For any football fanatic,this book is a must. El Clasico conveys the world of football's greatest rivalry vividly,one enters another world, and watching Barcelona versus Real Madrid will never be the same again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Present buyer on 18 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
Richard Fitzpatrick delivers an insightful and eye opening account of one of the greatest football rivalries - a ringside seat at a proxy war between a nation state and a nation without a state.
Wonderful interviews bring insights into some of the more acrimonious incidents and transfers (Figo, Di Stéfano).
A real page turner - a must for anyone with even a passing interest in football.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mannix on 18 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
El Clasico is a great read for anyone who is interested in football. Most of the stories we normally read and coverage we see on TV about Spanish football is just surface stuff and bland highlights. But El Clasico get underneath the skin of the most intriguing rivalry in the game worldwide. The author has a nice turn of phrase and subtle humour to go with it. Very enjoyable all round.
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