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Primera División

El Clasico: A fixture for award winners from around the world

13:27 GMT 01/03/2020
Lionel Messi, Ballon d'Or
The game features some of the best players in the world with the individual prizes to prove it.

The only prize on the Barcelona and Real Madrid players’ minds when El Clasico kicks off this Sunday evening will be the three crucial La Liga Santander points on offer. But the players involved have won almost all there is to win at an individual level and rank among the most decorated in football history.

  • Modric Ballon d'Or

    The Ballon d’Or and The Best

    There’s no doubt about the ultimate individual honours for footballers. The Ballon d’Or given out by France Football and The Best award, run by FIFA since 2017, are the most prestigious prizes given out to the best player of each year. Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is the current holder of both The Best award and the Ballon d’Or; his 2019 win was a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or, taking him one clear of El Clasico legend Cristiano Ronaldo who has five. Luka Modric, who’ll likely line up opposite Messi, was the previous Ballon d’Or winner in 2018.

  • Lionel Messi wins sixth European Golden Shoe

    The Golden Shoe and the ‘Pichichi’

    As well as consistently having the best overall players of the last decade, La Liga Santander has also consistently boasted the top scorers. The ‘Pichichi’ award given out to the top Spanish scorer of each season has almost become synonymous with the Golden Shoe for the top scorer in Europe. In the past decade, Messi has won the Golden Shoe six times and Luis Suárez has done so twice. Suarez has been ruled out with a long-term injury but Messi’s efficiency in front of goal will go a long way towards deciding this game, as with almost any game.

  • Antoine Griezmann Barcelona

    World Cup awards

    As well as having several world champions involved in this fixture, including at least one from each of the past three World Cups, El Clasico also features several of the individual award winners from the global international tournament.

    Two of the three best players at the 2018 World Cup – Luka Modric (Golden Ball) and Antoine Griezmann (Bronze Ball) – are set to play important roles come Sunday. Silver Ball winner Eden Hazard picked up a serious ankle injury last weekend in Real Madrid’s shock 1-0 defeat to Levante UD and has been ruled out. But his compatriot 2018 World Cup Golden Glove, Thibaut Courtois, will likely play a starring role on the night.

    Going back one World Cup to 2014, the awards were also dominated by current El Clasico stars. Messi won the Golden Ball while the Golden Boot for the top scorer went to Real Madrid’s James Rodríguez.

    Barcelona and Real Madrid players have also dominated the prizegiving ceremonies at the annual Club World Cups in recent years. Gareth Bale and Modric won the Club World Cup Golden Ball in 2018 and 2017 respectively, while Luis Suarez, Sergio Ramos and Messi have all won the award at least once in the past too.

  • FIFPro World XI

    FIFPro XI

    Each year’s all-star XI voted for by players has regularly been dominated by El Clasico players. Several Barcelona and Real Madrid players have been voted into this team multiple times, namely Messi (13), Ramos (10), Marcelo (6), Modric (5), Pique (4), Toni Kroos (3) and Hazard (2), while Frenkie de Jong and Luis Suarez have each made the cut once.


  • Gareth Bale Real Madrid 2019-20

    Players of the Year from across the continent

    In addition to having the record winner of La Liga’s Player of the Year award in Messi, Barcelona and Real Madrid have signed some of the best players from other leagues across the continent.

    Bale, Suarez and Hazard won the Premier League Player of the Season award in three consecutive seasons (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 respectively), and now all ply their trade in La Liga. Hazard was also the Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 2010/11 and 2011/12, while his teammate Benzema won that honour in 2007/08.

  • Ivan Rakitic Barcelona

    The La Liga Santander Players of the Month

    It won’t come as any surprise that several of the players who’ll be involved in El Clasico have won plenty of La Liga Santander Player of the Month awards, but it might raise some eyebrows to learn just how dominant certain players have been.

    Griezmann and Messi have both won a record six monthly gongs, while Suarez (3), Karim Benzema (1), Ivan Rakitic (1) and Thibaut Courtois (1) have also been rewarded for at least one incredible month since the prize was launched in 2013.

    And that’s not to name all the other awards sitting in the trophy cabinets of these world-class players. In short, El Clasico is a fixture for the very best in world football.