The 10 Best Players Who've Crossed The Clasico Divide

Any football fan knows what a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona means. It's a fixture so important that it’s been dubbed El Clasico by spectators in Spain and around the world. Controversy always surrounds this historic Spanish rivalry, especially when players decide to switch their allegiances. 

Surprisingly, there have been a good number of players that have made the switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid and vice versa. Now, with El Clasico looming, we look back to see the 10 best players to play for both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Alfredo Di Stefano

Alfredo Di Stefano is the player that changed Real Madrid’s history. Despite this, he comes at #10 because he technically didn’t play an official game for Barcelona, just two friendlies. However, his signing for Real Madrid is still one of the most talked about matters in Spanish football history.

Long story short, Di Stefano’s playing rights were split between his current team, Millonarios in Colombia, and his former side, River Plate from Argentina. Real Madrid purchased part of his rights from Millonarios while Barcelona purchased them from River Plate, starting a huge battle to sign the Argentine striker. 

With both teams possessing 50% of his playing rights, FIFA ruled that Di Stefano should alternate playing between the two clubs over four years. But Barcelona then decided to surrender their rights and sell Di Stefano’s other 50% to Real Madrid. The rest is history. 

11 seasons at Real Madrid, eight Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, five straight European Cups, and the record for most goals in Real Madrid history with 307 goals — a mark that’s since been passed by both Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Interestingly, Di Stefano’s first two Real Madrid goals came in a 5-0 thrashing of Barcelona.

Robert Prosinečki

Part of the 1998 Croatian World Cup team that finished third, Robert Prosinečki first signed for Real Madrid in 1991. He was part of the side that won the Copa del Rey in 1993, but his injury problems reduced his playing time and he was sold to Oviedo in 1994. 

He stayed healthy and revived his career at Oviedo and Sevilla, which caught the attention of Barcelona. They signed him in 1996. Despite winning another Copa del Rey, injuries kept him sidelined and he left the Catalan side after just one season. 


Gheorghe Hagi

Romania’s greatest ever player played two seasons each for Real Madrid and Barcelona. He first played for Real Madrid in 1990, scoring 16 in 63 games before moving to Brescia in 1992. In 1994, he returned to Spain to join Barcelona where he did not experience the same success he had in Madrid. He only managed seven goals in 36 appearances and did not win a league or cup title with either side.

Samuel Eto'o

He may have made his name at Barcelona, but Samuel Eto’o started his professional career at Real Madrid. Having joined Madrid’s youth academy as a teenager, Eto’o spent a few seasons on loan before settling in at Mallorca. His goal scoring reputation grew and caught the attention of Barcelona, who signed him in 2004. 

In five seasons, he won three La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, a Copa del Rey trophy and was named La Liga’s top goalscorer on two occasions. Ironically, Real Madrid received 50% of his transfer fee when he moved from Mallorca to Barcelona.


Luis Enrique

Current Barcelona manager, former Barcelona player, and adopted Catalan — Luis Enrique bleeds Blaugrana, but before all that he used to sing this:

Before joining Barcelona, Enrique played five seasons in the Spanish capital for Real Madrid where he won a league and Copa del Rey title and was on the scoresheet when Madrid defeated Barcelona 5-0. 

However, with his contract expiring in 1996 and feeling unappreciated by the club, Enrique joined Barcelona on a free transfer. He played eight seasons for Barcelona and became an instant fan favorite while also becoming a villain figure at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

He scored five goals against Real Madrid, two were in the Santiago Bernabeu and he took pleasure in scoring against his former side every time. With Barcelona, he won two La Liga and Copa del Rey titles, played 207 official games and scored 73 goals. Since returning to Barcelona as manager, he’s won two straight league and cup titles, as well as the Champions League in 2015.

Bernd Schuster

Bernd Schuster was a professional without emotions, and one of the most talented and problematic players who ever played for both sides. Schuster joined Barcelona in 1980 and played eight seasons for the Catalan side where he appeared in 170 games and helped the club win the 1984-85 La Liga title.

Despite all that success, Schuster shocked the footballing world in 1988 by signing for Real Madrid where he went on to win another two La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey. He then surprised the footballing world again in 1990, moving this time to Real Madrid’s local rival Atletico Madrid where he scored an important goal in the 1991-92 Copa del Rey Final to beat Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite this, he returned to Real Madrid as a manager in 2007 where he won a league title for Los Blancos and was the coach for a Getafe side that beat Barcelona in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals 4-0. 

Ricardo Zamora

Before the likes of Iker Casillas, David De Gea, Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina, there was Ricardo Zamora; Spain’s first great keeper. So much so that the award given to the best goalkeeper in Spain is actually named after him.

Having started his career with Espanyol in 1916, Zamora played three seasons for city rivals Barcelona before moving back to Espanyol for eight seasons. In 1930, he signed for Real Madrid where he went on to win two league and cup titles. 



Ronaldo first played for Barcelona in 1996 where he had a historic season. He scored 47 goals in 49 appearances and helped the Catalan side win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the Copa del Rey. He also scored that brilliant goal against SD Compostela that even left Compostela fans applauding.

However, he fell out with Barcelona’s board of directors and moved to Inter Milan after just one season. Five years later, he returned to Spain, this time joining Florentino Perez’s Galaticos at Real Madrid. He won a La Liga title and was named the league’s top goalscorer one season. In January 2007, he moved back to Italy, joining Inter’s fiercest rival AC Milan. 

Michael Laudrup

Denmark’s greatest ever footballer joined Barcelona in 1989 and was an integral part of Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team. He won four straight La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and the Champions League in 1992. However, after a fallout with Cruyff and being benched for the 1994 Champions League Final against AC Milan, Laudrup broke Blaugrana hearts by moving to Real Madrid in 1994.

He added another league title to his already impressive resume with Madrid and is the only player to win a Clasico by a 5-0 scoreline with both teams. 

Luis Figo

If the Real Madrid - Barcelona rivalry was already huge, it reached new heights in 2000 when Barca club captain and icon Luis Figo moved to Real Madrid. Like Luis Enrique at Real Madrid, Figo used to sing this when he was at Barcelona. 

Figo signed for Barcelona in 1995 and became an immediate fan favorite. He won two league and cup titles, as well as the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and the Barcelona fanbase had adopted Figo as a fellow Catalan. However, that all changed in 2000 when Florentino Perez came into office at Real Madrid. 

During the campaign, Florentino had promised to sign Luis Figo if he won the Real Madrid presidency. Unlike most political leaders, Florentino Perez actually kept his word and triggered Figo’s €60 million buyout clause to bring him to the Santiago Bernabeu. Figo became the world’s most expensive player at the time and Florentino’s first Galatico.

In Barcelona, the news did not go down well and he was labeled Barca’s biggest traitor. Figo would go on to win two La Liga trophies and a Champions League title in five seasons with los Blancos.

With Real Madrid, he won three league Clasicos and scored one goal in those matches, but tensions were high when Real Madrid played in the Camp Nou. He was whistled every time he touched the ball and objects were thrown at him whenever he got close to the Blaugrana fans, including a pig’s head in one Clasico in the 2002-03 season.  

In five seasons with Real Madrid, he won two La Liga trophies and a Champions League title in 2002 when Madrid eliminated Barcelona in the semifinals. 

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