As we headed into the current season, it looked for all the world that we'd have an El Clasico without not only Cristiano Ronaldo, but also Lionel Messi.
The Argentine handed in a transfer request at Barcelona and look destined to leave. However, in a dramatic U-turn, he decided to stay at Camp Nou.
For the neutral, he adds a phenomenal layer to one of the best matches in the world.
Without Ronaldo, it doesn't perhaps have the same lure to it, but there will be plenty of narratives when the two teams play each other on Saturday afternoon. Zinedine Zidane is under pressure following Madrid's 3-2 defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk, while this will be Ronald Koeman's first Clasico as a manager.
He is used to it as a player but he'll have much to learn from the sidelines in a game that won't quite have the same spice to it. Of course, because of COVID-19, there will be no fans inside the stadium.
But what could we do to honour the match and the history between Real Madrid and Barca? Well, we sat down and delved through the archives to rank every player to have crossed the divide to play for both.
We ranked them from worst to best, using a host of metrics from their appearances, goals and trophy haul at the club. Here we go...
37. Laszlo Kaszas - forward
Hungarian striker Kaszas signed for Barca at the age of 17 in 1957. However, despite signing for both the Catalan giants and Madrid in his career, he never actually played a league game. No wonder he's last on our list.
36. Mariano Garcia
Garica played for Madrid and Barca in the 1930s but not much is known about his career so he slots in pretty low on our list. He was apparently a rather rude individual though - no wonder no one bothered to archive his history.
35. Luciano Lizarraga
Barca: 1906/07, 0 apps
Madrid: 1903/05, 3 apps
Lizarraga failed to ever get into the Barca team so comes in pretty low on this list. In his three appearances for Madrid, he did at least win the Copa del Rey.
34. Amador Lorenzo – goalkeeper
Barca: 1980/86, 23 apps.
Madrid: 1977/78, 2 apps.
Lorenzo struggled to ever become first-choice at both clubs and largely played for Barcelona's B team. He does have a pretty decent trophy haul, however, winning La Liga, the Copa Del Rey on two occasions and the European Cup Winners’ Cup once.
33. Arsenio Comamala
Barca: 1903/04 and 1910/11, 4 apps.
Madrid: 1911/1913, 1 app.
Comamala is another who didn't actually play too much at the beginning of the 20th century. However, like Lorenzo before him, he did win the Copa Del Rey.
32. Charles Wallace
Barca: 1907/1913, 4 apps, 2 goals.
Madrid: 1 app.
Wallace is the only Englishman that features on this list but unfortunately, he was never anything to really shout about during his playing career. He won the Copa del Rey with Barca and had a loan spell at Madrid where he played just once. This wasn't the finest career you'll see.
31. Alfonso Albeniz
We don't know too much about Albeniz's career but what we are aware of, is that he was the very first player to swap between the two clubs. He enjoyed a better career at Madrid than he did at Barca and later became a club director. He was clearly liked a lot in the Spanish capital.
30. Julen Lopetegui – goalkeeper
Barca: 1994/97, 10 apps
Madrid: 1989/91, 1 app.
At last, someone you've probably heard of. Lopetegui managed Spain between 2016-2018 and was then named Real Madrid boss very briefly. He won last years Europa League with Sevilla but didn't enjoy the best of playing careers with both Barca and Madrid. He won La Liga but failed to ever cement his place.
29. Enrique Normand Faurie
Barca: 1909, 1 app.
Madrid: 1902-1910, 19 apps
Faurie is one of two Frenchman to feature on this long list of players and enjoyed a semi-decent career at Madrid. He won four Copa del Rey titles with Los Blancos - a fine record indeed.
28. Josep Canal
Ever heard of Futsal? Well, this is essentially what Canal ended up doing. The Spaniard played football indoors as well as outside and won two league titles with Barcelona. Not much is known about his appearance record, however.
27. Jose Berraondo
Berraondo appears to have been a well-respected footballer at Real Madrid. He captained the club to four Copa del Rey trophy wins in a row but after moving to Barcelona, had to stop playing because of the outbreak of the first World War.
26. Jose Quirante
Barca: 1908/09, 40 apps, 18 goals.
Madrid: 1906/08, 5 apps.
Quirante was a pretty handy goal scorer for Barcelona, something he failed to prove during a loan spell with Real Madrid. He only moved to Real because he went to the capital to work but he did eventually manage them during the first-ever Primeira (top-flight) season.
25. Walter Rositzky
Barca: 1911/13, 55 apps, 5 goals.
Another wartime player, German footballer Rositzky was rather unfortunate with his career. He won a fair few trophies at Barcelona but had to leave Madrid behind at the outbreak of WW1. He never returned to Spain after being drafted into the German army.
24. Eugenio Hilario – forward
Barca: 1939, 6 apps, 1 goal.
Madrid: 1931/36, 88 apps, 33 goals.
Hilario (top row, three from the left) only had one season at Barca but enjoyed considerably greater success with Real, bagging goals on a regular basis. He won two La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey, while he also played at the 1934 World Cup. Not a bad career at all.
23. Alfonso Navarro - forward
Barca: 1946/50 & 54/56, 61 apps, 22 goals.
Madrid: 1950/51, 6 apps, 2 goals.
Madrid must have been cursing their luck with what Navarro mustered for them compared to what he achieved at Barca. His haul of 22 goals in 61 games during two spells is pretty handy, while he also won the league on two occasions.
22. Dani Garcia – striker
Barca: 1999/04, 84 apps, 19 goals.
Madrid: 1992/98, 15 apps, 2 goals.
We've picked a player from the modern era to slot in at number 22. Garcia wasn't the best of strikers when you consider his goals record but the fact he played 99 times for Real and Barca proves he must have had something. He won La Liga and the Champions League in Madrid.
21. Robert Prosinecki – midfielder
Barca: 1995/97, 26 apps, 2 goals.
Madrid: 1991/94, 74 apps, 12 goals.
Born in West Germany, Prosinecki eventually ended up playing for Croatia. He enjoyed a pretty successful career too, winning the Copa del Rey on his way to scoring 12 goals for Madrid in the 1990s.
20. Fernand Goyvaerts – forward
Barca: 1962/65, 25 games, 1 goal.
Madrid: 1965/67, 3 apps.
We're reaching some pretty impressive players now. Barcelona paid £5m Belgian franks for Goyvaerts' services in the 1960s but despite scoring just one goal for them, he was still voted the best foreign player in La Liga. His career at Madrid was unfortunately ruined by a succession of injuries and he later became an agent. The Belgian also won the league on one occasion.
19. Lucien Miller – midfielder
Barca: 1965/68, 79 apps, 3 goals.
Madrid: 1961/65, 92 apps, 3 goals.
The second Frenchman on this list of names is Miller, someone who went to the World Cup in 1966 but unfortunately didn't get to play. He wasn't great in front of goal but he won three La Liga titles during his spell in Spain. Not shabby at all. Miller later went onto manage Barca too.
18. Nando Munoz – defender
Barca: 1990/92, 87 apps.
Madrid: 1992/96, 71 apps.
Munoz's career was filled with plenty of trophies and he is one of a few players to win the European Cup on this list. He also won three La Liga titles at Barca and Madrid, while he was capped by Spain eight times. The defender also won the Cup Winners' Cup.
17. Miquel Soler – left-back
Barca: 1989/91 & 1992/93, 107 apps, 2 goals.
Madrid: 1995/96, 19 apps.
Soler was Barcelona's right-back for a fairly decent amount of time and as a consequence, won two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and also the Cup Winners' Cup. He didn't win any silverware with Real but he was capped nine times at international level. Soler also played for Atletico Madrid during his career.
16. Alfonso Perez – striker
Barca: 2000/02 – 38 apps, 5 goals.
Madrid: 1989-1995, 119 apps, 22 goals.
Perez isn't a household name around Europe but considering his performances he should have been. He won Spanish Player of the Year in 1998 and won 38 caps for his country. He also received a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics, as well as winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
15. Chus Pereda – midfielder
Barca: 1961/96, 134 apps, 42 goals.
Madrid: 1958/59, 2 apps, 1 goal.
We're going further back in time here with Pereda, someone who won the European Cup, La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. In winning 15 caps for Spain, he was victorious at the Euros in 1964, winning the Golden Boot along the way. After retiring from playing, he managed Spain across multiple youth levels.
14. Javier Saviola – striker
Barca: 2001/07, 168 apps, 70 goals.
Madrid: 2007/09, 29 apps, 5 goals.
The last player to cross the divide was the diminutive Argentine. Saviola struggled during the first half of his debut campaign in Barcelona but finished with an outstanding record. Unfortunately, he failed to win a major trophy with Barca, but he got over that curse by securing the La Liga title when he moved to Madrid.
13. Joaquin Navarro – defender
Barca: 1941, 3 goals during one season.
Madrid: 1949-57, 272 apps.
Navarro is the brother of number 23 on this list and it's already clear that he enjoyed a much better career. The centre back won the Copa del Rey at Barca and then played a massive number of matches for Madrid, winning the league three times and also taking home the European Cup. The defender was capped five times by Spain and was also named in a World XI FIFA team that played England.
12. Luis Milla – midfielder
Barca: 1984/90, 79 apps, 2 goals.
Madrid: 1990/97, 215 apps, 3 goals.
Milla had to wait a while before finally making his first-team breakthrough at Camp Nou, but after winning the league and cup, had to leave on a free transfer following a contract dispute with Johan Cruyff. He enjoyed an excellent career in the capital, though. winning La Liga twice. He later managed Spain U21s to glory in the 2011 European Championship. Milla's last job in football was as head coach of Indonesia.
11. Justo Tejada – forward
Barca: 1952/61, 149 apps, 73 goals.
Madrid: 1961/63, 33 apps, 10 goals.
Tejada's trophy haul and goal record was absolutely superb. In scoring 73 for Barca, he took home two league titles, two Copa del Reys and also two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups. He then won La Liga a further two times when he moved to Real Madrid. The striker scored four goals in eight outings for Spain.
10. Gheorghe Hagi – attacking midfielder
Barca: 1994/96, 51 apps, 11 goals.
Madrid – 1990/92. 84 apps, 20 goals.
Hagi was an absolutely fabulous talent but he only makes it to number 10 on our list of the best players to cross the divide. He was capped 134 times by Romania and was also named by Pele as one of the 125 best players ever but he didn't score bucket loads in Spain. There is no doubting his quality but in Barca and Real colours, there are players ahead of him.
9. Evaristo – forward
Barca: 1957/62, 151 apps, 105 goals.
Madrid: 1962/65. 19 apps, 5 goals.
The Brazilian's record for Barcelona is astonishing as he helped them to win two La Liga titles and also two Copa del Reys. He didn't set the world alight for Madrid but he still managed to win another two league crowns. Evaristo has singed managed Brazil, the USA and also Iraq at the 1986 World Cup. He was scouted by Josep Samitier, a name that appears further down on this list.
8. Samuel Eto’o – striker
Barca: 2004/09, 199 apps, 129 goals.
Madrid: 1998/2000, 7 apps, 0 goals.
Eto'o has to go down as one of the most underrated strikers to have played the game. He finished third in FIFA's 2005 Player of the Year awards and did some astonishing things for Barca. The Cameroon international failed to break through at Real but would win three league titles and two Champions League trophies at Barca. Fabulous work.
7. Bernd Schuster – midfielder (Germany)
Barca: 1980/88, 236 apps, 82 goals.
Madrid: 1988/90, 88 apps, 16 goals.
Most will probably be familiar with Schuster managing Real Madrid in 2007/08, but he actually played for them as well as donning the famous red and blue of Barca. His trophy haul was ridiculous, winning the league on three occasions and taking home the European Cup Winners' Cup. The German also won the European Silver Ball in 1980. Schuster has since won La Liga as a manager too.
6. Ricardo Zamora - goalkeeper
Barca: 1919/1922, 8 apps.
Madrid: 1931/36, 110 apps.
We go from the modern era to the classic one with Romero. He has a century of appearances to his name at Madrid and made 46 caps for Spain. The former goalkeeper is a pioneer of the game and is famous for wearing a cloth cap and white polo-neck jumper. Romero was once voted one of the greatest of the 20th century and the award for the best goalkeeper in La Liga is now named after him. Enough said.
5. Michael Laudrup – attacking midfielder
Barca: 1989/94, 226 apps, 55 goals.
Madrid: 1994/96, 76 apps, 15 goals.
Laudrup is one of the greatest we've seen on a football pitch and formed part of the unforgettable Cruyff team at Barca that won four La Liga titles in a row and also the European Cup. However, he did fall out with the Dutchman and as a result, moved to Real Madrid where he won another league trophy.
The Dane once said: "People say I wanted to go to Real Madrid just to get revenge. I say revenge from what? I've had a perfect time; five fantastic years here [at Barcelona]. I went to Madrid because they were so hungry to win, and they had four or five players who went to the World Cup."
4. Josep Samitier - midfielder
Barca: 1919/32, 184 goals.
Madrid: 1932/34, 15 apps, 7 goals.
The man who scouted Evaristo, Samitier has one of the greatest legacies in Barcelona history. He is their fifth-highest goalscorer of all time and won the very first La Liga title. During his spell at Barca, he also became the highest-paid player in Spain. He eventually fell out of favour and went onto win La Liga with Madrid too.
Samitier managed Barca in the 40s and then became the club's scout, discovering Laszlo Kubala, someone who eventually usurped his own haul of goals for Barca. A controversial figure for jumping ship to become Madrid's scout, there is now a street leading to Camp Nou named after him.
3. Ronaldo Nazario - striker
Barca: 1996/97, 49 apps, 47 goals.
Madrid: 2002/07, 177 apps, 104 goals.
We've really hit the big boys now and in at three on this list is the great Ronaldo. He only had one season at Barcelona but absolutely decimated La Liga, eventually going onto star at Real Madrid. He only won La Liga once but was part of the amazing Galacticos team. He was a Ballon d'Or winner in 1997 and 2002, as well as a World Cup winner. Ronaldo is one of the best we've ever seen.
2. Luis Enrique – midfielder/forward
Barca: 1996-2004, 300 apps, 108 goals.
Madrid: 1991-96, 213 apps, 19 goals.
It takes someone pretty special to usurp Ronaldo but that's exactly what Luis Enrique does. He is a legend of Spanish football and played a ridiculous number of games for both Real and Barca. He also won 62 caps for Spain and went to three World Cups.
At Barcelona, Enrique won La Liga twice and then won it twice again as a manager, guiding them to Champions League and World Club Cup glory too. If that wasn't enough, he also won the Spanish top-flight with Real Madrid. It's hard to ignore just how much he has achieved.
1. Luis Figo – Winger/midfielder
Barca: 1995-2000, 249 apps, 45 goals.
Madrid: 2000/05 – 245 apps, 57 goals.
Controversial? We think not. No one has performed as well as the Portuguese did for Real Madrid and Barcelona alone, something his Ballon d'Or win in 2000 testifies. He has won the Spanish top-flight four times, the Champions League once and he's also a three-time winner of La Liga's foreigner of the year.
On top of that, Madrid signed him for a world-record fee, something that kickstarted the entire Galacticos era. This really was a transfer that shocked the footballing world.
Figo simply has to be top of this list.
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