Enrique, Eto'o, Laudrup: 11 players who have played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid

Enrique, Eto'o, Laudrup: 11 players who have played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid

Pulse Sports Team 10:20 - 03.03.2023

Both clubs resumed their fabled rivalry last night in the Copa del Rey. Here are 11 footballers who have crossed the divide to star for both Los Blancos and Los Blaugranas.

There are few greater, more storied rivalries in world football than that shared by Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Both clubs clashed in the Copa del Rey semi-finals at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday, with Barcelona gaining a slender advantage ahead of the second leg. It was, nevertheless, a fractious match with little quality but plenty of intensity.

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In spite of their bitter, often incendiary rivalry, a number of players have represented both clubs in history. Here are 11 of the most famous instances of players walking the forbidden path.

Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique began his professional career at Sporting Gijon before joining Real Madrid in 1991. He then moved to Barcelona in 1996 on a free transfer, citing a lack of appreciation and good memories during his time in the capital. At Camp Nou, he spent eight seasons, winning several major titles including two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, and a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. 

Luis Enrique at Real Madrid (IMAGO/Buzzi)

Over the course of his career at both clubs, Enrique scored over 80 times in a combined 350-odd appearances. Lucho was known for his versatility, playing in a variety of positions, including midfielder, winger, and striker. He was praised for his technical ability, vision, and leadership on the field.

Luis Figo

The Portuguese winger is perhaps the most infamous player to have crossed the divide between Barca and Real. After five successful seasons with the Catalan giants, with whom he won two league titles and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1997, he shocked the footballing world by moving to their fierce rivals in 2000, for a then-world record transfer fee of €60m.

Luis Figo at Barcelona

For all that the transfer was acrimonious and controversial, Figo would go on to achieve even greater success with Los Merengues, winning the 2001 Ballon D’Or, as well as two league titles and the Champions League in 2002.

Ronaldo Nazario

One of the greatest strikers of all time, Ronaldo played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid at opposite points in his career. At 19, he joined Barcelona from PSV Eindhoven, where he had scored 58 goals in 54 matches, in 1996 for a world record transfer fee. With the Blaugrana, he won the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, scoring the winner in the final against Paris Saint-Germain. 

Ronado Nazario at Barcelona

After a successful three-year stay with Italian giants Inter, he then joined Real in 2002 for a fee of €45m following a successful World Cup campaign with Brazil in Korea/Japan. As was the case throughout his career, his time at Real Madrid was punctuated by injuries, but he still went on to win two league titles at Santiago Bernabeu.

Bernd Schuster

The German midfielder spent eight years with Barcelona in the early to mid 1980s, helping them win one La Liga title after joining from Bundesliga club Koln. He then moved to Real Madrid in 1988, where he played for three seasons and won another three league titles as part of the fabled ‘Quinta de Buitre’.

Bernd Schuster at Barcelona

A highly-skilled and creative midfielder, Schuster was difficult to manage, and had a number of fallings out with the management structures both at club level and with the Germany national team. However, he remains a well regarded figure of the history of both Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Michael Laudrup

The Danish playmaker is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, and played for both Barca and Real in the 1990s. After four seasons in Serie A with Juventus, he joined Barcelona and won four league titles, as well as the European Cup in 1992. In total, he made over 150 appearances for the Blaugrana, blossoming under the guidance of the legendary Johan Cruyff and as part of the famous ‘Dream Team’ with the likes of Romaria and Hristo Stoichkov.. 

Michael Laudrup at Real Madrid

Laudrup then moved to their rivals in 1994, where he played for two seasons and won another league title.

Samuel Eto'o

The Cameroonian striker won two Champions League titles and three league titles with Barcelona, cementing his status as a legend at Camp Nou. However, it was actually as a member of the Real Madrid squad that he first made a name for himself, albeit while out on loan at Real Mallorca. In total, he made only a handful of appearances in white before signing for Barca in 2004.

Samuel Eto'o at Real Madrid

He spent five years in Catalonia, and scored over 100 goals in just under 150 appearances. He also holds the record for the club’s fastest ever hat-trick, scored in 2008 against Almeria.

Gheorghe Hagi

The Romanian attacking midfielder spent two seasons with Real Madrid in the early 1990s, before moving to Barca in 1994. He also spent two seasons at Camp Nou, but struggled for playing time under Cruyff and ultimately left the club for Galatasaray, where he enjoyed the greatest successes of his career.

Gheorghe Hagi at Barcelona

Hagi was an interesting case, as his stints at each Clasico club curiously coincided with success for the other. As such, he is not particularly fondly remembered at either Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabeu despite being one of the finest players of his generation – he was nominated for the Ballon D’Or on six different occasions.

Javier Saviola

The Argentine forward played for both Barca and Real Madrid in the 2000s. One in a long line of players anointed the 'new Maradona', he joined Barca as a teenager for a £15 million fee and although he scored 44 goals in his first three seasons at Camp Nou, he was frozen out afterward by manager Frank Rijkaard, who favoured Samuel Eto'o to lead the line.

Javier Saviola at Real Madrid (IMAGO/PanoramiC)

Saviola remained on Barca's books for six seasons however (the last two of which were spent out on loan), before moving to Real Madrid in 2007. He played for the Spanish giants for two seasons and won a league title.

Alfonso Pérez

The Spanish striker played for both Barca and Real. A product of the youth system, he started his career at Real Madrid, where he spent four seasons and won a league title in his final campaign with Los Blancos 

Alfonso Perez at Barcelona

After a successful five-year stay at Real Betis, with whom he attained icon status and finished second-highest scorer in LaLiga in 1995/97 behind Ronaldo, he joined Barca in 2000. He played for the Catalan giants for just two seasons.

Robert Prosinečki

The Croatian midfielder played for both Barca and Real in the early 1990s. He joined Real Madrid in 1991 and won a league title but, amid concerns over his lifestyle, struggled with injuries and was unable to fulfil the high expectations that came with his sizable transfer fee. 

Robert Prosinecki at Barcelona

After impressing during a loan campaign with Real Oviedo, Prosinecki moved to Barcelona in 1995 on a free transfer, rejecting an offer from Atletico Madrid. He played for the Catalan giants for two seasons and won a European Cup Winners' Cup, but again struggled with injuries and was promptly offloaded to Sevilla. in spite of this, he cites Johan Cruyff, who benched him at Camp Nou, as the favourite club manager of his career.

Ricardo Zamora

The Spanish goalkeeper is one of the most legendary figures in the history of Spanish football, with the goalkeeper of the season award famously named after him. He played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Ricardo Zamora at Real Madrid

Zamora started his professional football career in 1916 with Espanyol, but played for Barcelona from 1919 to 1922, helping them win two Copa del Rey titles in 1920. In 1930, after a second spell at Espanyol, Zamora moved to Real Madrid, where he played until 1936. 

During his time at Real Madrid, he helped the club win its first two La Liga titles. He is fondly remembered for his heroic performance in the 1936 Copa del Rey final against former club Barcelona, where he made an outstanding late stop to help 10-man Real Madrid win the trophy.