Madrid and Barcelona both represent the biggest footballing rivalry in Spain and in world club football. They compete in almost every aspect both on and off the pitch and sometimes, the competition has not been friendly.
From trying to and succeeding in poaching each other’s players, to sabotaging potential transfers, or signing deals with competitor brands, both clubs have done everything to keep the fires of their age long rivalry burning. Both clubs have even been rumoured to have influenced awards in favour of their teams and their players.
They, however, maintain a mutual respect for each other and have also come together to effect change in Spanish football and to call for changes in UEFA’s day to day running of football. The current presidents of both clubs, Joan Laporta of Barcelona and Florentino Perez of Real Madrid especially have a deep respect for each other.
Both presidents are very much aware that decisions made by their clubs could affect the other and in order to keep their status as two of the world’s biggest footballing institutions, are always in talks with each other.
These talks between Laporta and Perez have led to the more recent European Super League which, despite the kickback from clubs, fans, pundits, UEFA and FIFA, they continue to discuss. Both clubs are also currently at the forefront of a management battle with LaLiga’s bosses as concerns the running of the league.
Their latest talks, according to Marca, have now seen both clubs come to an agreement to respect the contracts of each other’s players.
Agreement only about current Barcelona and Madrid players, reports say
Laporta and Perez have a gentleman’s agreement on the issue and both clubs now understand that. Rumours claim that Madrid’s reported pursuit of Ronald Araujo, who Barcelona are trying to get to put pen-to-paper on a new contract, led to the talks being held.
However, both clubs are free to go after each other’s former players or players who did not sign extensions and let their old contracts run out. The talks between both presidents also didn’t cover going after the same players in a transfer window, which is one of the ways both clubs exert dominance over the other in order to boost their rivalry.
There has been a verbal agreement Perez and Laporta to not interfere with players on the other side who are still under contract. Players who are out of contract are another story, of course, and are fair game if one of the pair decides to pursue them.
Both clubs have almost always been interested in the same players, and the current player of interest between both clubs is Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland. Barca president Laporta is reported to be willing to do anything to sign Haaland and both clubs are also willing to do everything to prevent the other from joining their rivals even if it means Haaland choosing another of his suitors.
Benzema suffers injury in draw with Elche; had home attacked during the game
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema left the club’s LaLiga match against Elche in the 58th minute with a discomfort and will miss the Copa del Rey’s quarter final match against Athletic Club Bilbao as a result.
News outlet ABC has reported it as a hamstring injury which should take less time to heal, but reports also that the striker will do all he can to be ready for the crucial UEFA Champions League round of 16 fixture against Paris Saint-Germain in February.
As a result, Benzema will miss Madrid’s next three matches – the quarter final match against Athletic Club Bilbao and two LaLiga games against Villarreal and Granada.
The injury was not the worst of it for Benzema on Sunday night, as he found out after leaving the pitch in the 58th minute that his home was broken into by burglars.
Spanish outlet 20 minutos reports that the burglars broke into Benzema’s home when it was empty and carted away some of his belongings. This is the second time Benzema’s home has been robbed while he was on duty for Madrid; the first time being in 2019 when he was playing against Barcelona in an El Clasico match.