The importance of this fixture has increased ten folds over the last decade.
Atletico de Madrid against FC Barcelona at the Wanda Metropolitano is set to continue a tradition of exciting spectacles which more often than not have a big impact on the season’s LaLiga title race.
We’ve looked back over the last decade at the most entertaining Atletico v Barça clashes, remembering the personalities and events which have marked one of LaLiga’s most dramatic fixtures.
Barça 1-1 Atleti, May 17th 2014 – Godin’s header wins the title for Atletico
One of the most dramatic LaLiga title races in history brought Atletico to the Camp Nou on the final day. A draw would be enough for Diego Simeone’s men to be champions in this ‘winner takes all’ encounter, while Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s side needed a win to grab top spot at the finish.
Atletico started in the worst possible way, watching Diego Costa and Arda Turan succumb to injuries within the first 15 minutes and then Alexis Sanchez whacking in an unstoppable volley from a tight angle to put Barça 1-0 up.
Nothing could stop the fiercely determined visitors however, and Godin headed in Gabi’s corner early in the second half. The whole stadium applauded on the final whistle, acknowledging Atletico’s first LaLiga trophy in 18 years.
Atleti 1-2 Barça, February 26th 2012 – Messi’s amazing free-kick was the deciding factor
Lionel Messi had an early goal ruled out for handball before Dani Alves opened the scoring from close range for Pep Guardiola’s side just after the half-hour mark. Atletico hit back though with a technically excellent volley from Radamel Falcao, and things remained in the balance until the final moments.
There seemed little immediate danger when Barça got a free kick way out near the left-hand sideline with ten minutes remaining, but Messi flighted an inch-perfect free kick up and over then rojiblanco goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to once again break the hearts of the Calderon faithful.
Atleti 4-3 Barça, March 1st 2009 – Aguero’s last-minute winner seals historic win
One of the greatest nights at the old Vicente Calderon stadium saw Thierry Henry and Messi put Barça 2-0 up, before Diego Forlan halved the deficit from long range and Sergio Agüero equalised early in the second half.
Eidur Gudjohnsen then teed up Henry for his second of the game, only for Forlan to make it 3-3 from the penalty spot. With the home crowd roaring, and just one minute remaining, Agüero burst through Carles Puyol’s tackle and finished nervelessly into the bottom corner to seal a historic comeback victory.
Barça 2-0 Atleti, April 6th 2019 – Suarez finds the breakthrough
The most recent meeting between the teams at the Camp Nou last April saw second-placed Atletico really needing to win to close the gap on LaLiga leaders Barça but receive a blow when centre-forward Diego Costa was red carded midway through the first half.
The 10 men redoubled their efforts and the game remained in the balance until, with just five minutes remaining, Barça number nine Luis Suarez fired a superb opener to the net from 20 yards out. Blaugrana talisman Lionel Messi soon added his 24th goal in 23 LaLiga games against Atletico to wrap up a 2-0 win, which moved Barça 11 points clear in the LaLiga table, effectively handing them the title.
Barça 2-1 Atleti, January 30th 2016 – Atleti’s nine men almost nick a point
January 2016’s meeting at the Camp Nou was also key in that year’s title race, and also super eventful. A fired-up Atletico deservedly went ahead on just 10 minutes through Koke’s excellent finish. Barça gradually worked their way into the game, however, and Messi expertly equalised before Suarez put the blaugrana side ahead as Luis Enrique’s side turned the screw.
Rojiblanco left-back Filipe Luis was sent off for a challenge on Messi just before the break, with Diego Godin picking up a second yellow early in the second half. Even with nine players, Diego Simeone’s men kept battling and goalkeeper Jan Oblak even went forward late on to try – unsuccessfully – to nick an unlikely equaliser.
Atleti 1-2 Barça, September 12th 2015 – Messi celebrates the birth of his son in style
There was a surprise pre-game when Lionel Messi was named as a substitute after the birth of his second son Mateo the previous evening. After Suarez had hit the crossbar from a tight angle, Atletico veteran Fernando Torres shocked the Camp Nou with an opportunistic strike, only for Neymar to arrow in a long-range free kick to equalise.
It was then – as so often in this fixture – all about Messi, who came off the bench and deftly finished past Oblak for 2-1 with time almost up, dedicating his goal to his day-old son.