Tickets for Saturday’s long-awaited Spanish “Clasico” between Real Madrid and Barcelona are selling for up to 1,000 euros (1,342 dollars).
According to the websites of sports dailies AS and Marca early on Saturday, ticket-sellers have increased their prices throughout the week and are now charging between 600 and 1,000 euros.
Madrid radio station Cadena COPE claimed early on Saturday that ticket prices might rise as high as 1,500 euros just before kick-off on Saturday night.
The Spanish police normally turn a blind eye to these ticket sellers, who have operating outside Real’s Estadio Bernabeu all week.
Many of the buyers are foreigner tourists who have come to Madrid especially to see “El Clasico”.
Hundreds of tickets have also been sold at high prices through the internet. The Bernabeu will be packed to capacity, with many disappointed fans left outside.
It is against club rules for Real Madrid members to sell their season-ticket seats for particular matches but, according to AS, up to a thousand members have done this — in order to make a handsome profit.
Only around 200 Barca fans are expected to make the trip to Madrid, and the police expect few public order problems.
According to Marca, more money has been spent betting on the result of “El Clasico” than on any other Spanish league match ever.
Madrid newpaper ABC on Saturday called the Real-Barca clash the “Most Awaited “Clasico” Of Recent Years”, whilst Barcelona daily El Periodico claims that “The World Is Watching “El Clasico“.” The big match will be televised live to almost a hundred countries, Real have received media ticket requests from almost 70 countries.
Up to 20 million Spaniards, almost half of the population, are expected to see at least part of the game on television, which will establish a new record for La Liga.
Real and Barca are level at the top of La Liga on 77 points, the highest total ever amassed by the top two teams after 30 matches.
Whoever wins on Saturday will be the clear favourite to pick up the Liga title, which Barca won last season after a sensational 6-2 win away to Real.
The whites are desperate for revenge for that humiliation, and for November’s 1-0 defeat in Barcelona.
Real will be without injured playmaker Kaka, but are pinning their hopes on in-form striker Gonzalo Higuain and winger Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s most expensive player.
Barca, for their part, will be without striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and left-back Eric Abidal.
Their main weapon will be FIFA World Player Lionel Messi, who has scored 38 goals in all competitions this season, and showed his formidable form by banging in four against hapless Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday.