• Roy Mizrahi


The rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona is regarded as one of the biggest in the world of sport. The two clubs are among the richest and most successful football clubs in the world. The two clubs are the leaders of the world's most valuable sports teams. The rivalry is way beyond sport, but I will focus on the sport side of this interesting and fun competition and especially the insights from the history of the matches between the two. The "head to head" between the two teams is a never-ending story.

So, which team is better?

15 years ago, I could say in a confident way that Real Madrid is a much better team than FC Barcelona. My strong confident of raising this statement was based on 2 main reasons:

First, in a house dominated by Real Madrid fans, these kinds of comments were more than welcomed. No one to object.

Second, and more important, it was extremely difficult to prove I am wrong. Not because I based my statement on a strong database and results analysis, but because it was too difficult to analyze the database to prove me wrong. Hence, I lived in a peaceful and silent world, where a statement I have made, based on a feeling and influenced by my beliefs, emotions and environment, was the truth.

15 years later, after Real Madrid have been crowned champions of La Liga a couple of weeks ago, I repeated proudly my statement that Real Madrid is a much better team than FC Barcelona!

But the world is changed…

As today I have a smart curious son, who is not willing to take anything for granted, and more important, he is a big fan of FC Barcelona, my statement has been shaken by a short and brief question came from an 8 years old boy – "Based on what?" he asked me with a winning smile on his face...

I tried to defend my statement with the best tool that I found in this moment – my position. I took a big breath and lowered my voice to be as low as the dead sea and said: "Since I am your father and I say so". I couldn't convince even myself. "That doesn’t make it right… you have a work to do to prove it" he said smiling, and went to play Football on his Xbox (you guessed right – FC Barcelona Vs Real Madrid).

I went to do my homework and came back with a table that I was convinced would prove I am right. Yes, my hand is on top again. We sat in front of the computer and I have shown my son my proof with a victory smile on my face. Yes, I made Real Madrid great again... "Look at that" I said with satisfaction:

* The data contains games played in the "La Liga" since its inception

"Good work Daddy" my son gave me an A, or that’s what I thought… "But that doesn’t prove anything"… OK, I decided not to get into a debate with my son as I know he has his own issues now that he realized "his Barca" is not as good as he believes, so I just asked him patiently "how come it doesn’t prove anything, baby?". He was smiling for a minute. "I want to know who scored more, who won more, who is better at home games, what's the highest score… this table is nice but I need more than that to be defeated… besides, daddy… I know that you are old and watched the games from 1929, but I think we should look, or at least be able to look at recent games only… I don't want to start digging this long table. Too many numbers too many letters, it will take me years to go over this table, I got to go daddy, bye".

It hit me – my son is right. He wants to have as many details as possible. He wants to have everything in a friendly view. He wants to be able to play with the data. He wants the data to be reliable. He wants the data to be in a format that will be ready to be used, to be sliced and to be updated. He wants to be able to do everything fast and efficiently. "I got to go daddy…" he said. Like everyone else, he is in a hurry, and have no time to spend on finding the data, converting the data into a friendly format, and only then start working on the insights from the data. He doesn't want long excel tables. He wants the data updated, in a format that enables him to provide insights. My son wants BI!

So, I did. I gave him a BI. I analyzed the games between the two teams (data of games played in the last 90 YEARS!)  and got a few interesting facts (see below). But more than that, I realized once again a few takeaways:

1.      The importance of data.

If you want your organization to succeed, you must base your business management and business decisions on reliable and strong data.

2.      Data as a base for decision making.

We are in a world, where decision making is critical, and must be based on data analyzed in the correct way. Decisions and statements are not taken based on feelings, beliefs, environment, but based on insights raised from real data.

3.      Big Data – a challenge and an opportunity.

We are in a new world - a world of big data. It is a challenge as we have to dig the right insights from the big data that keeps growing. Like every challenge, this is an opportunity as well. Having the right analysis, and the right way to look at your org's data will give you a strong advantage over the competition. Consulting and getting help from experts, will assist your organization to be ahead of the competition and to transform the challenge of big data into a realized opportunity.

4.      Authority and tradition does not make things to be right.

We have to analyze and approve any statement made by anyone (and no matter where he is in the Org hierarchy), as long as these statements are not based on BI.

5.      BI is crucial.

Organizations have to understand that BI is the base for their existence in the current situation.

6.      Insights, Insights, Insights.

Data is very important, but as long as it is not provided in the right way to allow managers to take decisions, it is worthless. Organizations must work with strong experienced people that can combine financial and business knowledge with big data management abilities.

7.      Visualization is powerful.

Visualization as a tool to get to the right decisions is super powerful. The ease of use, easy to read, is not only "nice to have", but it is a requirement to assist the management to be able to take the right decisions fast and efficiently.

8.      Seems like my son is right… again… (at least based on the last 20 years of matches between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona).

If you want to take advantage of your data, to be able to provide insights from your data, to have the right data to enable you to take the right decisions, to have the right analyses and views of the data, to have the latest data on real time, to control your business in a better way and more efficiently, then you want to work with us –

My son and myself spent a quality time in front of the computer to learn more about the game we like so much. We got so many insights from analyzing the data about the two legend sport teams from Spain, just by looking at big data in the right way. I am sharing here a few of the highlights from our analysis.


Have fun!

A few interesting facts:

Starting 1929 (the inception of the Spanish Football League – La Liga), Real Madrid and FC Barcelona met each other in every season of La Liga.

The two teams are amazingly alike, and very close to each other from results perspective.

Since 1929 until the end of 2016/2017 season, the results of the matches between the two teams are as follows:

Almost similar goal scoring and winnings, with a slight advantage to Real Madrid.

Even when you look at the trend of the results you can see that there is no one team that dominates between the two - see below.

  • Each point on the graph is one game

  • The graph shows the results of each game.

  • Whenever the blue line is higher Real Madrid scored more and won the match, and vice versa).

You can clearly see that the biggest win is of Real Madrid (8-2) back then in 1935.

One more thing that is clear is that whereas Real Madrid was more dominant until the end of the 70s, FC Barcelona took the leadership from then and especially during the last decade.

Just a reminder – this graph provides a data of almost 90 YEARS!

The domination of Real Madrid until 1980:

The strengthening of Barcelona in the last 3 decades:

And mainly in the last decade:

Want more facts easily provided using the right view of big data?

Goals Count:

  • In the last 20 years, only one game finished with no goals at all, in Barcelona in 2002.

  • Since 1929 only 8 games finished with no goals (5 in Barcelona and 3 in Madrid).

  • In the last 20 years, only 5 times FC Barcelona didn’t score in a game Vs Real Madrid. Real Madrid didn’t score in 12 games Vs Barcelona.

  • Barcelona scored in every league game Vs Real Madrid in the last 10 years.

  • The Average goals amount scored in the games between the two is 3.22 goals per game, whereas in the last 10 years the average increased to 3.67 goals per game.

  • There are more goals in the games in Madrid than in Barcelona - 78 goals in Madrid Vs 56 Goals in Barcelona (last 20 years), mainly due to the fact that Real Madrid scores less in Barcelona. Whereas Barcelona scores in both Barcelona and Madrid a lot (37 goals at home and 41 in Madrid), Real Madrid is much stronger at home games with 37 goals Vs 19 goals in Barcelona.

  • Since 1929, Real Madrid scored 283 goals Vs 277 of Barcelona in the games between the two (+6 to Real Madrid).

  • In the last 20 years, the trend is strongly the opposite, where Real Madrid scored 56 goals Vs 78 goals of Barcelona (+22 goals to Barcelona).

Choose your favorite season of the year:

  • If Barcelona could choose the season to meet Real Madrid it would definitely be the Spring in which they won 21 games, lost 13 and finished 9 in a draw, and scored 68 goals Vs 59 of Real Madrid (+9 goals).

  • If Real Madrid was the one to choose the season to meet Barcelona, it would definitely be the Fall with 30 wins, 22 lost games and 11 draw. Real Madrid scored in the fall 103 goals Vs 96 of Barcelona (+7 goals).

Choose your favorite weekday:

  • Saturday must be the favorite day in Barcelona, where they won 27 times on Saturday, lost 18 and finished a game in a draw 13 times. On Saturdays Barcelona scored 97 goals Vs 72 goals scored by Real Madrid (+15 goals).

  • Sunday shines for Real Madrid with 50 games won, 38 lost and 17 draws, scoring 194 goals Vs 163 goals for Barcelona (+31 goals).

  • Barcelona usually scores on Saturdays. Only in 7 games played on Saturday Barcelona didn't score (12%), whereas on Sundays Barcelona didn’t score in 30 games (29%).

  • Real Madrid doesn’t score around every 3rd game played on Saturday (and a total of 18 games), whereas on Sundays Real Madrid doesn’t score once in every 5 games.

How many goals should we score to win:

  • One goal is not enough for Barcelona to win Real Madrid. Most of the times Barcelona scored 1 goal only, Real Madrid won the game (Barcelona with 13 winnings, 16 draws and 31 losses).

  • One Goal for Real Madrid provides them 50% not to lose the game.

  • Until 2014, whenever Real Madrid scored 3 goals, the winning was in their pocket (except one draw in 1969 and one in 2007). Real Madrid lost only once while scoring 3 goals and above, in 2014.

  • Since 1960, Barcelona never lost scoring 3 goals or more (2 draws only).


  • The highest score between the two teams is 8:2 for Real in 1935 in Madrid.

  • The highest score for Barcelona is 7:2 in 1950 in Barcelona.

  • The highest amount of goals scored by Barcelona in Madrid is 6 goals in 2009.

  • Real have never scored more than 5 goals in Barcelona.

  • Real haven't scored 3 goals or more in Barcelona for 10 year.

Home team advantage:

  • In 86 games played in Barcelona, Real Madrid have only won 20 whereas Barcelona won 49. Goals in these meetings are 171 for Barcelona Vs 102 for Madrid (+69 to Barcelona).

  • In 87 games played in Madrid, Barcelona have only won 20 whereas Madrid won 52. Goals in these meetings are 181 for Madrid Vs 106 for Barcelona (+75 to Madrid).

It is all about timing:

  • In the last 10 years, Barcelona lost only 1 time to Real Madrid, when the games played in the first 20 rounds of La Liga (6 winnings and 2 draws; +13 Goals).

So many other insights we have gained, just by looking at the data in the right way!

About the writer:


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