War Of Words Between Real Madrid & Barcelona Over Franco Era Favouristim

Some things don’t change.

The historic rivalry between Spanish footballing joints FC Barcelona and Real Madrid extends far beyond the football pitch and in the last week have risen to levels of tension not seen in a long time.

Last week FC Barcelona club president, accused Real Madrid of  a “gigantic” smear campaign and “unprecedented cynicism” during a  two-hour press conference, which was called to quell media reports of payments of more than €7m allegedly made to the former vice-president of the referee’s committee, José María Enríquez Negreira, over an 18-year period, he went on the attack, declaring he would “defend the institution until my last drop of blood”.

Real Madrid had earlier posted a video that soon went viral on social media linking the Catalan outfit to the fascist Franco dictatorship.

Speaking at the press conference, Laporta said that: “We have had an harmonious institutional relationship with all clubs, including Madrid. The ‘clasico’ is the greatest spectacle in the world and there is always an intense rivalry. But to me, the institutional relationship has been harmed because of them [Real Madrid].”

Incensed Barça president said that it was Madrid who were the “regime club,” and said that for 70 years, the referees’ technical committee has been presided over by former members, players, or directors of Real Madrid. “They have always been favoured by referees,” the president said, dubbing their involvement in the case as an “exercise in cynicism without precedent.”

The Madrid video includes some selected facts from the Franco era including FC Barcelona awarding Francisco Franco various honours down the years and that the club had been  ‘saved’ from bankruptcy three times by the General.

To add water to the fire, Madrid´s regional premier, Isabel Diaz Ayuso described the video as “magnificent.”

FC Barcelona withdrew all Franco honours in 2019.

The Catalan club winning eight leagues and nine cups during the dictatorship.

Madrid won 14 league titles and six cups, to add to their six European Cups won in the 1950s and 1960s – a string of success that has gone on to become the bedrock of their very identity.

It took Real Madrid 15 years to win the first of those leagues under Franco, the video adds, in a thinly veiled suggestion that they were withheld from success by the regime as well that  many of Madrid’s best players at the outset of the war had either died, were arrested, or went into exile.


Although a 1943 cup semi-final clásico is a game that might be interpreted in an other way.

Barcelona had won the first leg 3-0, and had one foot in the final but, remarkably, Real Madrid won the second leg 11-1. Barça players and members of the coaching staff later claimed they were threatened by police before the game, and it seems the atmosphere surrounding the game was such that the team felt they were not supposed to truly compete in the match.

FC Barcelona withdrew all Franco honours in 2019.

The historical facts are that the the president of FC Barcelona when the civil war broke out, Josep Sunyol, was subsequently shot without trial by Franco´s  forces after having stayed behind Nationalist lines.

Barça’s website has a complete history of the presidents of the past, and details their involvement with the Franco regime, presenting the history as it is.

Real Madrid’s equivalent page on their website, meanwhile, decidedly omits their communist Republican president, Antonio Ortega, who presided over the club during the years of the civil war.

A Catalan government spokesperson, Patrícia Plaja,  said that the video was a “gross manipulation of history,” and said that the Madrid club should apologize for it.



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