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5 Real Madrid and Barcelona players who grew up supporting the other club

Some of these names could come as a surprise!
Some of these names could come as a surprise!

The Spanish 'El Clasico' is widely considered to be one of the biggest club rivalries in European football. This fixture is, and will always be, appealing to every single football fan. Even in the same house, you could find two brothers fighting over a debatable refereeing decision during this game.

Despite the fierce competition between the two giants, many players over the years have grown up supporting the opposite team. Some names featuring in the top five will come as a major surprise!


#5 Isco

Real Madrid v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg
Real Madrid v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

Francesco Isco was fundamental to Real Madrid's plans, after the appointment of French tactician Zinedine Zidane in 2016.

The Spain international was a key player for club and country during the time and after reportedly being a personal favourite of the Real Madrid boss. Since swapping Malaga for Real, the midfielder won several major trophies at the Santiago Bernabeu. Although Zidane has now left and Isco has fallen down the pecking order, he is still on the books at Real Madrid.

However, Isco had earlier admitted that the reason he named his dog 'Messi', is because he believes that the Argentina national team captain is the best player in the world. And that was, of course, before completing his swap to the Madrid-based side in 2013. He was even photographed wearing a Barcelona jersey, further adding to talk of his love for the Catalan club.


#4 Luka Modric

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League

In 2008, rumors emerged that FC Barcelona were interested in signing Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb.

In the hope of convincing the player to join, Catalan-based paper Mundo Deportivo presented the Croatian star a Barça shirt with the number 14, that his idol Johan Cruyff had worn during his time at the club.

And Modric, of course, gladly accepted the gift - although his transfer eventually failed, as Tottenham Hotspur were able to lure him to the Premier League. Upon joining the Spanish capital-based side in 2012, Modric was quick to reveal his pleasure of signing for Los Blancos, as he claimed it was the biggest club in the world.

Irrespective of where he ended up, there is no denying that Modric looked up to Barcelona and Cruyff during his formative years.


#3 Neymar

International Champions Cup 2017 - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona
International Champions Cup 2017 - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona

Neymar was Barcelona's next superstar in the making and was earmarked as the one to take over the mantle from the legendary Lionel Messi. However, in the summer of 2017, the mercurial Brazilian sealed a controversial switch to Paris Saint-Germain for a record-breaking fee of €222 million.

His Barcelona exit is perhaps not a very surprising event as Neymar had revealed in an interview with Marca that he dreams of playing for Real Madrid.

"My idol is Zidane, and I prefer Robinho over both!", he said, when asked to pick between Ronaldinho and Kaká.

Interestingly, video evidence claims that Neymar grew up as a Palmeiras fan, before joining arch-rivals Santos, where he went on to write his story. You know what they say, kids don't lie, adults do.


#2 Andrès Iniesta

FC Barcelona v CA Osasuna - La Liga
FC Barcelona v CA Osasuna - La Liga

As video evidence proves, Barcelona legend Andrès Iniesta confirmed that he supports Real Madrid "a todo poder", which in English translates to "with all my power".

Barça was initially Iniesta's second favorite team after Albacete. However, when the Catalans beat the side of his heart 7-1, the young starlet decided to hate on them, and start supporting Real Madrid.

His idol and favorite footballer, Michael Laudrup, certainly helped the 2010 World Cup winner's love for the club to to grow further. However, in 1996, Barcelona's academy decided to sign the talented young Spaniard, and the rest is history!


#1 Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final
Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final

Surprise, surprise! The Real Madrid hero, who scored the UEFA Champions League winning-goal in the final against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002, actually grew up supporting eternal rivals FC Barcelona!

Zizou admitted that Juventus were always his favorite Italian team, whereas, in La Liga, it was Barcelona.

But in the end, does it matter? The 1998 World Cup hero eventually completed his transfer to the Spanish capital in 2001, and has since then proved to be a great asset and a loyal servant.

Zidane has represented Los Blancos both as a player and a coach, having guided the club to triumph in Europe's most prestigious competition for three seasons in a row between 2016 and 2018.

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Edited by Anuradha Santhanam
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