Barcelona host Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season on Wednesday night.
The fixture is one of rich history – some of the greatest footballers of all-time have played in it.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andreas Iniesta, Zinedine Zidane, to name a few.
Barca and Madrid supporters love nothing more than this intense rivalry and the atmosphere is often brilliant over 90 minutes.
Often, each fanbase will despise every single opposition player they set eyes on. But occasionally, a footballer will do enough to earn the ultimate respect from their rivals.
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Ahead of the next El Clasico, here are the four players who have received a standing ovation from their rival fans.
Ronaldinho – Barcelona – 2005
Perhaps the most famous example. The year was 2005 and Ronaldinho almost single-handedly decimated Madrid at the Bernabeu.
He produced a sparkling display and capped it off with two stunning second-half solo goals.
As the Brazilian wheeled off to celebrate his second, the home fans got to their feet and applauded his genius. Check out Ronaldinho’s highlights, the goals and the ovation, below.
Andreas Iniesta – Barcelona – 2015
This one didn’t come for just one game or one moment of magic. Iniesta was applauded by Madrid fans during one of his final El Clasico appearances at the Bernabeu.
Over a decade of greatness came to an end in 2018 but the Spaniard was given his special moment three years before that.
He scored a stunning goal that day in 2015 as Barca ran riot, but Iniesta’s standing ovation came as he was subbed off. Madrid supporters could argue his greatness no more.
You can see the match highlights below.
Laurie Cunningham – Real Madrid – 1980
The only Los Blancos star to receive a standing ovation at Camp Nou is Cunningham. Back in February 1980, the Englishman dazzled Barca fans with his brilliance.
“I don’t think his qualities were any less than Cristiano Ronaldo,” former Madrid player and coach Vincente Del Bosque told the Independent in 2013.
That high praise from Del Bosque was shared by fans who witnessed his special Clasico performance in 1980 that earned a truly rare ovation.
Sadly, there is no footage of that special moment – but it was well documented by the Spanish press.
Diego Maradona – Barcelona – 1983
After a brilliant solo goal which saw Maradona sprint from the halfway line, take the ball around the goalkeeper and then embarrass a Real defender on the goal-line, he was given a standing ovation.
As the Argentine stood there celebrating, being mobbed by his teammates, Madrid fans in the Bernabeu stood and waved their white flags above their heads.
It seemed a very fitting metaphor to suggest they were surrendering to Maradona’s greatness. Check it out below.
Only four players in the history of El Clasico have been given a standing ovation from opposition fans. It really is the highest honour imaginable.
Interestingly, Lionel Messi is yet to receive his from Madridistas – but surely, when the time is right, it will come?