When it comes to rivals in football, there is no better rival than clubs that share a city. The Spanish capital Madrid is a perfect example of this, as its two leading clubs, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, have been going toe-to-toe for over a century now.
The El Derbi Madrileno is considered by many in Spain as the second-biggest derby in the country’s football calendar, with only El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid considered bigger. Here is more on the historic rivalry between Madrid’s two giants:
Some early history of the pair
The rivalry began at the start of the 20th century, with their first meeting taking place in 1906, as Madrid FC, as Real Madrid was first known, recorded a 2-1 win at the Campeonato Regional Centro.
Madrid FC was a club that liked to absorb smaller clubs and take their pick of the club’s star players. They would also cherry-pick players from other Spanish clubs. Arguably, not much has changed in that respect.
However, their neighbours, Athletic Club Madrid, were immune from this harvest. They had the financial backing of their ‘parent’ club Athletic Club Bilbao, one of the early powerhouses of Spanish football.
The Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939 forged a stronger rivalry, as did the Franco regime, as Athletic Club Madrid, became Atletico Aviacion following their merger with the country’s military air force team and won their first title in 1940. However, later in history, Real Madrid had also been regarded as a team that the regime favoured.
Who has won more silverware?
This is an easy one to answer, as Real Madrid has been one of the dominating forces of the Spanish game for much of its existence. Los Blancos are the most successful team in the history of football in Spain, having claimed a record 35 Primera Division titles and the Copa del Rey on 15 occasions
In European competition, Real Madrid has also won the Champions League a record 14 times, the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) twice, and the European Super Cup on five occasions.
Atletico Madrid’s trophy count is solid, if not compared to their neighbour’s trophy haul. Los Colchoneros have claimed the Spanish title on ten occasions and won the Copa del Rey ten times.
On the European stage, Atletico has won the Europa League on three occasions in 2010, 2012 and 2018. They also won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1962 and the European Super Cup on three occasions in 2010, 2012 and 2018.
Who has had the better of the Madrid derby?
|Spanish Super Cup
|UEFA Champions League
|UEFA Super Cup
When it comes to meetings between the two teams, as you can see from the above table, Real Madrid has dominated the fixture, claiming 115 wins compared to Atletico Madrid’s 57 derby victories.
Unsurprisingly, Real Madrid players have also dominated the derby’s individual stats. Defender Sergio Ramos holds the record for most derby appearances, having played in the fixture on 43 occasions. When it comes to the top goalscorer in the Madrid derby, none other than Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo tops the scoring charts with 25 goals, including four hat-tricks.
The largest victory in the Madrid derby stands at 5-0, achieved by Real Madrid twice in seasons 1958/59 and 1983/84, and by Atletico in season 1948/49, with all three results coming in the Primera Division.
The highest-scoring game between the two teams came in 2019, in a friendly game, if these derbies are ever friendly, as Atletico Madrid recorded an incredible 7-3 victory in the International Champions Cup in New Jersey. Incredibly, Atletico was 5-0 up at half-time.
The rivalry is as intense as ever
The rivalry between these two great Spanish clubs is as intense as ever, despite Real Madrid being one of the elites of European football. Atletico Madrid, under Diego Simeone, has fought well above their weight in the Primera Division and on the European stage.
The clubs may have a big financial divide. Still, Atletico Madrid has become a challenger who has the ability to give their big rivals the occasion bloody nose, which is likely to always remain the same.