Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Ranking legendary players from ‘GOAT’ to ‘Lucky to play in El Clasico'

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Real Madrid vs Barcelona - El Clasico.

The biggest match in world football? Many football fans would say so.

This year, it’s bigger than ever.

The two Spanish giants may not be at the peak of their powers but they go into Saturday evening’s clash with hopes of winning La Liga.

Barcelona lead Real Madrid by two points with Atletico Madrid still top by a solitary point.

The outcome of Saturday’s Clasico could decide where the title ends up this season.

However, even the biggest Real Madrid and Barcelona fans would admit that their respective sides aren’t as strong as they once were.

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Gone are the days where all 22 players on the pitch during a Clasico would be household superstars. Now, the average football fan may struggle to name every player on the pitch.

But let’s reminisce about the golden era of El Clasico.

To do so, we’ve decided to rank legendary players to have played for either club from ‘GOAT’ to ‘Lucky to play in El Clasico.’

Now, we must point out that every player in this Tiermaker must have been world-class at some stage in their career or else they wouldn’t have played for either club. However, we have to rank the stars respectively against each other.

Also, we aren’t responsible for the players included in this list - and we have no clue why a certain Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t involved. However, we’ve stuck him in a category regardless.

So, without further ado, let’s check out our rankings:

Lucky to play in El Clasico

Barcelona
Philippe Coutinho
Arturo Vidal

Real Madrid
Eden Hazard
David Beckham
Alvaro Arbeloa
Nicolas Anelka

As we’ve mentioned, if you’ve played for either Barcelona or Real Madrid you had to be a pretty incredible footballer. All of these are or were incredible and they can perhaps consider themselves unfortunate to be placed in this category. But we’ve got to rank them against some of the other names in this Tiermaker.

Only two of these players are still playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid - Philippe Coutinho and Eden Hazard. Both were arguably the Premier League’s best player when they left for a Spanish giant but their dream moves have turned into nightmares and been plagued with injury problems.

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Average

Real Madrid
Gareth Bale
Claude Makelele
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Michael Owen
Steve McManaman
Guti

Both
Michael Laudrup

Barcelona
Patrick Kluivert
Gary Lineker
Deco
Victor Valdes

We’ll reiterate the point that we’re ranking players against the other players in this list so we’re not necessarily calling this group of players ‘average.’ However, the legacies they left behind at the clubs can’t be compared to some of the other legends.

We also have the first player to have played for both clubs - Michael Laudrup - who played 167 league matches for Barcelona and 62 for Real Madrid.

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Very good

Real Madrid
Xabi Alonso
Karim Benzema
Kaka
Fernando Hierro
Toni Kroos
Fabio Cannavaro

Barcelona
Cesc Fabregas
Hristo Stoichkov
Sergio Busqusts
Dani Alves
Neymar
Gerard Pique
Carles Puyol
Pep Guardiola
Samuel Eto’o

Look at some of the names of that list…wow.

El Clasico heroes everywhere you look - but only good enough for the ‘very good’ category.

Real Madrid have two current stars in Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema in this tier, as do Barcelona in Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets.

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World class

Barcelona
Rivaldo
Luis Suarez

Both
Luis Figo

Real Madrid
Roberto Carlos
Raul
Clarence Seedorf
Iker Casillas
Luka Modric

The term ‘world class’ is banded around a lot these days but there can be absolutely no argument using it for this set of players.

Luka Modric is the only player still representing one of the sides and, if we can lead Real to more trophies before he retires, he may be moving up a tier in this ranking.

As for Luis Figo, his move from Barcelona to Real Madrid took the El Clasico rivalry to another level...

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Legendary

Real Madrid
Sergio Ramos
Zinedine Zidane
Cristiano Ronaldo

Both
Ronaldo

Barcelona
Diego Maradona
Andres Iniesta
Xavi
Ronaldinho

Some of the greatest players to have ever played the game but they fall just short of the GOAT.

As we mentioned, Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t actually included in the Tiermaker but we’re placing him in the ‘Legendary’ category. Current captain, Sergio Ramos, and current manager, Zinedine Zidane, also make this tier alongside the original Ronaldo.

As for Barcelona, midfield duo Andres Iniesta and Xavi were pivotal during Barcelona’s Tika-Taka era and will go down as club legends. Then there are two GOAT candidates in Diego Maradona and Ronaldinho.

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GOAT

Lionel Messi

Need we say anything else?

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Final rankings

Conclusion: Barcelona and Real Madrid have had some incredible players represent them down the years. You can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic just looking at some of the names to compete in this fixture.

The greatest players in world football want to compete in the fixture and almost every legendary player worth their salt has played for either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

But there’s simply none who can compare to six-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi.

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