Top 5 Barcelona players who moved directly to a rival club

Luis Figo played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid
Luis Figo played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid

26-time La Liga champions FC Barcelona are the second-most successful team in Spain. Thanks to their strong pull in the transfer market and impressive youth academy, they have not had a shortage of world-class footballers.

While most have tried to extend their stay in the Catalan capital, some have chosen to be a tad more adventurous.

Today, we will take a look at a list of five explorers who were not afraid of going behind enemy lines.

Here are the top five Barcelona players who signed directly for a rival La Liga club:

#5 Miguel Reina - Atletico Madrid

Goalkeeper Miguel Reina in action
Goalkeeper Miguel Reina in action

Pepe Reina’s father, Miguel Reina, had a permanent address in both Madrid and Barcelona. Having emerged as a pronounced figure at Cordoba, Reina joined Barcelona in 1966. However, thanks to Jose Manuel Pesudo and Salvador Sadurní, Reina only played in four La Liga matches in his first three years at the Camp Nou.

Starting from the 1969-70 season, he became the team’s first-choice keeper and helped them to the Copa del Rey title the following campaign. In the 1972-73 season, Reina went 824 minutes without conceding a goal. That impressive record stood until Victor Valdes bettered it in 2011.

44 years ago today, Johan Cruyff scored his legendary "phantom goal" past Atleti goalkeeper Miguel Reina (father of Pepe). "I remember it with great happiness, only he could have scored it. At that time he was a one-off. A unique figure and without a doubt a unique character."

At the end of the 1972-73 season, he signed for rivals Atletico Madrid and eventually helped them to the league title (1976-77).

With more than 450 official appearances to his name, then 34-year-old Reina retired from football in 1980.

#4 Luis Suarez - Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid v Liverpool FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Atletico Madrid v Liverpool FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League

Barcelona have had the privilege of deploying some of the finest centre-forwards in their history. They have scored, assisted and even helped the Blaugrana to key titles. Yet very few of them can even hold a candle to the impact Luis Suarez made at Barcelona.

After missing out on the Premier League title by the narrowest of margins, the Liverpool forward moved to the Camp Nou in an €81.7m deal in 2014. The former Ajax man was full of passion and hunger, which made him the perfect candidate for Barcelona.

Despite missing a large chunk of the campaign due to a suspension, Suarez finished the season with 25 goals and 29 assists in 43 appearances. Thanks to his unstoppable partnership with Lionel Messi and Neymar, Barcelona cruised to their second treble at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

Unpopular opinion : Prime Luis Suarez is clear of prime Lewandowski

After spending six seasons and 308 goal contributions for Barcelona, Suarez reluctantly joined Atletico Madrid for €7m. He ended up contributing heavily to Atletico Madrid’s La Liga win in the 2020-21 season with 21 goals.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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