BREAKING NEWS

Barcelona vs Madrid ends 0:0 for first time in 17 years amid clashes

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Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi will compete in yet another El Clasico
Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi will compete in yet another El Clasico   -  
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AP
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El Clasico, the biggest match in the Spanish football calendar, has ended 0:0 in the highly anticipated game between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

It is the first time in 17 years El Clasico has ended goalless and was marked by disturbances both during and after the game, including clashes with police.

The game also had to be stopped for a short time when pro-Catalon protesters threw beach balls onto the pitch.

The match was postponed back in October amid security concerns and took place overshadowed by political protests.

While in football terms the stakes couldn’t have been higher, with the fierce rivals neck and neck at the top of the La Liga table, El Clasico took place in the Catalan capital amid ongoing political protests.

The game was supposed to be played on October 26 but was called off following a wave of sometimes violent protests in Barcelona, a result of the jail sentences handed down to nine Catalan separatist leaders that month.

While the city is much calmer two months later, there have been calls from an activist group for tonight’s match at the Nou Camp to be used as a stage for protests in front of a global audience.

Democratic Tsunami has urged supporters to gather near the stadium ahead of tonight’s kick-off, which is scheduled for 8 pm CET.

The group has insisted any protest must be non-violent, and it said the world will see the message “Spain, sit and talk”.

A 3,000-strong force of public and private security officers was on hand to ensure the game is not disrupted.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu told reporters: “Whoever wants to protest peacefully can do so, the Camp Nou is a space for freedom of expression. The game will not be postponed again, it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure it goes ahead.”

In recent years Barcelona have come out on top in El Clasico matches in the league, and the champions are chasing a fifth league title in just six seasons.

Real Madrid last won the league in the 2016-17 season.

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