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El Clasico: Six players that have played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid

Over 30 players have had the honour, or perhaps the tenacity, to play for both Barcelona and Real Madrid in their careers with varying levels of success. Sometimes the moves have been made years apart and sometimes they have been direct either way, the player has often been despised by the club he played for first.

When Barcelona and Real Madrid class the match is referred to as ‘El Clasico‘ due to the fact the teams hail from the two biggest cities in Spain that had polar-opposite political views and the clubs amongst the richest clubs in the world, all of which has lead to a fierce, grudge-like rivalry that not many other football rivalries around the world can even come close to comparing themselves to.

El-Classico – a football rivalry with political undertones

Most football fans, mostly those who reside outside Spain, mistake El-Classico for a football derby but that is never the case. We can only liken it to, for example, a match between Man Utd and Liverpool or to some extent, a classic Manchester derby. Even a Madrid derby pitting Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid does not come close to the El-Classico.

Every football season, fans of La Liga are treated to a classic encounter between Los Blanco and Barcelona. The political undertones that this classic clash presents is often manifest in every sense. And the fact that Los Blancos and the Catalans meet at least twice every season in La Liga means there is always a second chance to avenge or break a tie. And even when it comes to the side which has had more El-Classico wins, every new encounter feels like the first time as H2H takes a backseat.

And while big names have made history in El-Classico, taking the rivalry even a notch higher as was the case between CR7 and Leo Messi, there is no way either of them could have switched their allegiance over the many years they played for Los Blancos and Barcelona. Messi was Barca and Cristiano Ronaldo was the face of Real Madrid when they plied his trade in Spain.

However, some big names switched sides along the way, consequently playing for Barcelona and Real Madrid while plying their trade in Spain. Our list of six of the players to have played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid is compiled of the more recent and well-known players to have made the switch between the two Spanish giants. We will reveal each player's record and discuss their time at the two clubs.

Gheorghe Hagi

Appearances/Goals for Barcelona: 51/11

Appearances/Goals for Real Madrid: 84/20

Romania's finest-ever player possessed a wind of a left foot and an abundance of skill and vision. Due to his small stature, he was often compared to Argentine legend Diego Maradona during his career. Hagi joined Real Madrid in 1990 but failed to claim the La Liga title before leaving for Brescia 2-years later where he suffered relegation in his first campaign and stayed at the club, helping to take them back to Serie A at the first attempt before making the move to Barcelona. Like his time at Madrid, Hagi stayed for two seasons in Catalonia and failed to win the league and couldn't hold down a regular first-team place.


Luis Enrique

Appearances/Goals for Barcelona: 300/109

Appearances/Goals for Real Madrid: 213/18

Possibly the greatest utility player to play for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, Luis Enrique was able to play across the midfield and even up front and was best known for his consistency. Enrique earned the move to Real in 1991 after impressing at Sporting Gijon and stayed in the Spanish capital for 5-seasons where he was a regular in a trophy-winning side. However, the versatile Spain international left Real Madrid on a free transfer after claiming he was ‘unappreciated‘ and made the move to arch-rivals Barcelona. The Barcelona fans didn't take to Luis Enrique straight away but his consistent performances and El Clasico goals saw him become a favourite with the Catalonians.


Luis Figo

Appearances/Goals for Barcelona: 249/45

Appearances/Goals for Real Madrid: 239/57

Surely the bitterest of all the trades between these two clubs, Luis Figo played 5-seasons at Barcelona before making the move to Real Madrid where he completed 5 more campaigns. At the time he left Barce, Figo was the best player in the world and the Catalonian fans felt cheated when the Portuguese international chose to make the move to their clubs' arch-rivals. When the two sides next met, Figo was greeted with ‘Traitor‘ and ‘Judas‘ banners and objects were thrown his way any time he went near the touchline, including a pig's head which showed just what the Barcelona fans thought of him.


Ronaldo

ronaldo R9

Appearances/Goals for Barcelona: 49/47

Appearances/Goals for Real Madrid: 177/104

Ronaldo remains one of the very few former Barcelona and Real Madrid players that is still thought of fondly by both sets of supporters. The Brazilian striker only played one season at the Camp Nou in 1996/97 but scored an amazing 47 goals in just 49 appearances, winning the Copa del Rey, Super Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup. Ronaldo made the move to Real Madrid in 2002 where he won one league title in his 5-seasons at the club but still managed an excellent goals-to-games ratio.


Michael Laudrup

Appearances/Goals for Barcelona: 217/55

Appearances/Goals for Real Madrid: 76/15

Laudrup is often considered the best Scandinavian footballer of all time so it isn't that much of a surprise that he could play for two of the biggest clubs in European football. Johan Cruyff signed Laudrup for his vision and goals from midfield and together the pair went on to secure four La Liga titles on the run. However, a disagreement between the two would see Laudrup move to Barcelona's arch-rivals Real Madrid and in his first season at the Bernabeu Laudrup secured another La Liga title. famously, the Danish international played in two 5-0 El Clasico wins, one for Barcelona and one for Real Madrid.


Samuel Eto'o 

Appearances/Goals for Barcelona: 199/130

Appearances/Goals for Real Madrid: 7/0

Eto'o signed for Real Madrid as a youngster but never made the grade, appearing just 7 times before making the move to Mallorca where he made his name. Eto'o stayed at the island club until a move to Barcelona came about in 2004 and the rest, as they say, is history. Eto'o always wanted to show Real Madrid just what they had missed out on and at Barcelona, the Cameroonian striker won three La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, the Copa del Rey and, even during a couple of injury-hit seasons, always scored plenty of goals.


Players who just missed out

Javier Saviola also played for both clubs but despite moving from Barce to Real, the Catalonian fans have forgiven the diminutive Argentinian as he proved a flop in the capital. Miquel Soler is certainly worth a mention as he went on to play for both Barcelona and Real Madrid's city rivals Espanyol and Atletico Madrid making him a great pub quiz answer. The famous German international Bernd Schuster also played for both Barce and Real in the 1980s, winning league titles at both clubs. Albert Celades won titles for both Barcelona and Real Madrid but played a bit part in his time at both clubs. Croatian midfielder Robert Prosinecki had injury-laden spells at Real Madrid and then Barcelona and rarely got to show the fans of either club his true ability and would go on to play for Portsmouth towards the end of his career.

Okello Steve

Okello Steve is a seasoned Sports and travel writer with over 10 years of experience in the journalistic enterprise. Steve honed his writing skills from a tender age and went on to study communication at the University and chose to pursue a writing career as an independent journalist crafting engaging content for the web on sports, casino gaming and travel.

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