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5 superstars who played for Real Madrid and Barcelona

Luis Figo playing for Barcelona in 1998
Luis Figo playing for Barcelona in 1998
Hardik Sharma
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 02 May 2020, 16:59 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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El Clasico' is a well-known term in the football world. And why not? These two words carry the weight of two of the greatest football clubs in the world - namely, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona

The Spanish term, when translated to literal English means 'The Classic'. The fierce rivalry between these two Spanish giants is more than a century old and is considered a classic. 

It is not only the most-watched game in Spain but also averages an audience of over 500 million viewers worldwide. Due to the vast fan bases of these two clubs across the globe, the pressure on the players playing in an El Clasico is unimaginable.

Between all the chaos caused by this intense rivalry, imagine a player moving from Real Madrid to Barcelona or vice versa. The amount of criticism the player will have to face, and the fans who once chanted his name would be out there booing him this time.

On that note, here are 5 world-class players who represented Barcelona and Real Madrid over the years.


5. Luis Enrique (Real Madrid 1991-96, Barcelona 1996-04)

Luis Enrique celebrates scoring for Barcelona
Luis Enrique celebrates scoring for Barcelona

No. 5 on our list of players who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid is Luis Enrique. He is the only player in this list who has moved directly from Real Madrid to FC Barcelona. Enrique also became the manager of the Catalan Giants in 2014.

Not only has he experienced El Clasico as a player of both the Spanish teams but also as a manager of Barcelona. In 1995, Los Blancos were not successful in extending Enrique's contract, giving him the chance to sign with the Blaugrana.

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Enrique made 157 appearances for Real Madrid, scoring 15 goals, but his career reached heights during his spell with Barcelona as he played 207 times for the Blaugrana, scoring 73 goals.

He displayed some of his most incredible performances in El Clasico ties when playing for Barcelona as he felt unappreciated by Real Madrid's executives who refused to extend his contract.


4. Javier Saviola (Barcelona 2001-07, Real Madrid 2007-09)

Javier Saviola
Javier Saviola

No. 4 on our list of players who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid is Javier Saviola. Saviola joined Barcelona after moving from River plate in 2001. The Argentinian forward played 123 games for the Catalans scoring 49 goals before falling down the pecking order and going out on loan to Monaco and Sevilla.

Surprisingly, he then signed with Los Blancos in 2007. He made a few appearances for Real Madrid and then moved to Portuguese club Benfica.

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The Argentinian forward was known for his dribbling, pace and his ability to score from difficult positions. He faced immense pressure when he joined FC Barcelona as arch-rivals Real Madrid had signed Zinedine Zidane at the same time, but he handled it extremely well and scored 17 goals in his first season at the club.

Saviola faced a difficult time at Real Madrid due to lack of playing time at cup matches. He made sporadic appearances in La Liga and the Champions League due to the arrival of Dutch star Ruud van Nistelrooy at Real Madrid.


3. Samuel Eto'o (Real Madrid 1997-00, Barcelona 2004-09)

Samuel Eto
Samuel Eto'o with Real Madrid as a youngster

No. 3 on our list of players who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid is Samuel Eto'o. Eto'o is undoubtedly one of Africa's most decorated footballers. He started his career at Real Madrid before moving to FC Barcelona.

It was his four-year spell at Mallorca which earned him a move to the Catalan giants. He made 145 appearances for FC Barcelona scoring 108 goals in just five years.

The Cameroonian goes down in Barca's history as “The Indomitable Lion”. Eto'o became one of the most beloved players for Barca fans, who knew where he came from but took him in as one of their own. Eto'o faced heavy criticism after mocking Los Blancos during Barca's celebrations of their La Liga title in 2005 but remained at the Camp Nou until 2009.

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No wonder Eto'o has been a part of four World Cups and six Africa Cup of Nations. The African's prowess at scoring from difficult positions in big games made him one of the most lethal forwards of his generation.


2. Ronaldo (Barcelona 1996-97, Real Madrid 2002-07)

Ronaldo Nazario
Ronaldo Nazario

No. 2 on our list of players who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid is Ronaldo Nazario. He spent only one season at FC Barcelona scoring an incredible 47 goals in 49 games and became the youngest player ever to win FIFA World Player of the Year at the age of 20.

He then moved to Inter Milan for five years before returning to Spain to play for Los Merengues. The Brazilian made 127 appearances for Real Madrid, bagging 83 goals and won the La Liga title twice, but couldn't get his hands on the Champions League trophy. 

Ronaldo won the World Cup in the same year he joined Madrid where he was united with his national side teammate, Roberto Carlos. He was a crucial part of Real Madrid's Galacticos which featured Luis Figo, David Beckham, Raul Gonzalez and Zinedine Zidane.

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The squad further comprised of a few more well-known players like Guti, Iker Casillas, Salgado, Makelele, and others. The fleet-footed Brazilian was not just a beast in front of the goal as his flair and feints with the ball is still difficult to match, making him one of the finest of his generation.


1. Luis Figo (Barcelona 1995-2000, Real Madrid 2000-05)

Luis Figo in 1998
Luis Figo in 1998

No. 1 on our list of players who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid is Luis Figo. The Portuguese midfielder is famous for the most controversial crossing of the Barcelona-Madrid divide. Figo moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid in the year 2000 in a then world-record fee of £54 million.

This is also known as the time when Los Blancos started building the Galacticos. He was an incredible talent who was loved at the Camp Nou, making 249 appearances for the Catalan Giants. He then made a controversial move to the Spanish Capital and played 239 games in five years.

Not just this, he shared the pitch with the finest players of the generation during his time at Madrid. Playing alongside the likes of Ronaldo (Brazilian), David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Raul Gonzalez, Roberto Carlos and many more, he went on to win the La Liga and Spanish Super Cup twice and Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup once each.

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The ill-feeling from Barca supporters remains to this day, more than 15 years after a fan threw a pig's head at him when he returned to the Camp Nou in the Los Blancos shirt for an El Clasico.


Published 28 May 2018, 12:30 IST
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