Until Diego Simeone took over Atletico and made them into the global powerhouse that they are today, the Madrid derby had been overshadowed by the El Clasico and quite often still is; but nowadays, to a much lesser extent.
The El Clasico used to have stern implications of where the league title would land come the end of the season, and while it still does, with Atletico’s resurgence, the Madrid derby has grown to be just as important.
Both are great sides with contrasting identities and have suffered very different fates. A rivalry that has been primarily dominated by Real Madrid until the turn of the decade, the facts are quite obviously skewed in the Los Blancos’ favour.
It is a fierce rivalry bred from the fact that Real Madrid have always been seen as an establishment club, representing the elite of the city, while Atletico have been characterised by a sense of rebellion.
Yet, with the sense of rivalry running deep, quite a few players have actually worn both shirts. Here we take a look at five players who at some point in their careers have played for both the Los Blancos and the Los Rojiblancos.
Juanfran has grown into one of the best and most complete right-backs on the planet under Diego Simeone’s tutelage.
However, his initial footballing education was at Real Madrid’s youth academy, and he rose through the ranks to make six appearances for their first team. Having initially started his career as a winger, he switched to right-back when he was loaned to Osasuna in the 2005-06 season, where he made 30 appearances and helped them stave off relegation.
After making the move permanent and appearing for them another 153 times, he transferred to Atletico, where he has become an idol for the colchoneros.
How can one forget a teary-eyed Juanfran apologising to the Atletico Madrid fans after their penalty shootout loss to Real in the Champions League finals?
When the two clubs clash on Sunday, he will play a key role in keeping a rampant Real at bay and keeping Atleti in the title race.