Soccer rival Gerard Piqué of FC Barcelona and Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid kiss at Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia – a picture painted on Tuesday night.
Soreness is not to be expected on Wednesday evening at the top duel in the Primera División between the champions of Catalonia around world soccer player Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and the Royals by Toni Kroos despite the "peace appeal" of graffiti artist TVBoy. On the contrary: "The hottest Clásico in recent years," headed the Madrid-based professional magazine "Marca".
Why is the 242nd competing Clásico so explosive? Both clubs are head to head in the Primera División with 35 points from 16 games each. Real looks for revenge for the embarrassing 1: 5 debacle last season at Camp Nou.
Especially since early 2019, the Spanish Cup semi-final had drawn against arch rivals and the latest series victory at Clásico was already over three and a half years ago (April 2016).
And the relationship between the two clubs is tighter than ever. Spotted from Piqué after the 3-0 victory in February at the Bernabéu Cup return is unforgettable.
Activists announce demonstrations
"It's slowly becoming a habit. It's almost no fun to win here. 0: 3, 0: 4, 0: 5 …" No wonder the real pros tried the psycho war before the game. "We want to win at Camp Nou," said ex-Leverkusen-born Dani Carvajal.
As if the duel were not so controversial, activists from the Catalan independence movement want to take Clásico as an opportunity to advance their cause for the first time.
With barricades in the immediate vicinity of the stadium and a "blockade" of the real bus, which, according to the organization "Tsunami Democratic", more than 25,000 people have already agreed to participate. More than 4,000 police officers will ensure peace and order.
Due to the protests, both teams will move into the same hotel, Sofía, for the first time. The reason: Nobel hostel is only about 600 meters from the stadium. The classic should actually take place in this first round on October 26.
However, the game was postponed due to the unrest in Catalonia because of the court decisions against nine separatist leaders. The kick off is at 8pm. The demonstrations are scheduled to start at 16:00.
Kroos in front of Clásico in top form
Not only for the separatists, but also for Kroos, Clásico arrives at the right time. The 29-year-old is experiencing "one of his best times" since moving from Munich to Madrid in the summer of 2014, noted the specialist newspaper "AS".
In 1-1 at Valencia, 105 of his 108 passes had reached the right man on Sunday. Season entry. The midfielder has also scored three goals. Two more than last season. Tony's scoring record from the 2017/18 season (five goals) is at risk.
In addition to Kroos, the focus is on the duel between Messi and Karim Benzema. The Argentine (32) and the French (31) top the scoring list with twelve goals each.
In 41 duels against Real, Messi scored more times than anyone else in Clásico's 117-year history: 26 times. "We know they have Messi. But we also have our weapons," said real coach Zinedine Zidane.
According to Spanish media reports, more than 650 million people in around 180 countries will watch Clásico live on TV. Ter Stegen understands: "You are especially looking forward to such matches. These are duels that make people happy," said the keeper in an interview with "Spox" and "DAZN". When he was 15 or 16, he said to himself, "If I had to decide at some point, I would probably go to Barça."
The newspaper "La Vanguardia" summed it up: "It's more than a game. It's a sociological phenomenon, an economic festival and a duel of identities that paralyze an entire country."