Before there was the Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania, there was El Clasico.
The fierce rivalry has long been one of football’s greatest fixtures, where Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona face off in matches that essentially determine who rules the top of the Spanish football system.
Since the first clash of the titans in 1902, the two sides have seen plenty of players jump ship from one club to the other.
Over the course of history, 33 players have played for both Real and Barcelona. Alfonso Albéniz (Barça to Madrid in 1902) was the first one.
— Real Madrid Info (@RMadridInfo) December 10, 2011
Alfonso Albeniz was famously the first ever player to swap between the two clubs, when he moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 1902. Albeniz later served as a Director at Real Madrid.
Lizarraga transferred from Real Madrid to Barcelona ahead of the 1906/07 season, but never actually played an official match with the Catalan side.
In an interesting state of affairs, Jose Quirante moved to Real Madrid on loan from Barcelona between 1906 and 1908 in order to work in the Spanish capital. He would later serve as Real Madrid manager during the inaugural Primera Division season, in 1929.
In case you haven’t noticed, loaning players between the two clubs was much more common a the beginning of the 1900s. Charles Wallace is the only Englishman to make this list, when he played one game for Real Madrid on loan in 1908. He returned to Barcelona immediately after.
Enrique Normand Faurie
Faurie played one match for Barcelona on loan from Real Madrid in the 1909 Copa del Rey, and continued to play for Madrid after that switch. He is one of only two French players to make the list.
Born in Barcelona, Comamala began his football career with his hometown club in 1903, but moved to ?Real Madrid in 1911 to play there for a year. He would return to Barça a year later, but finished his career with Madrid in 1914.
German midfielder Walter Rozitsky played with Barcelona from 1911 to 1913, before switching to Real Madrid. He played for Madrid until 1915, before returning to Germany amid the outbreak of the first World War. He never came back to Spanish football following the conclusion of the war.
Captain of Real Madrid during the early days of the club, Jose Berraondo won four consecutive Copa del Rey titles with the club from 1904 to 1908. He would eventually sign with Barcelona for a brief spell in 1913, and was the last player to move between the two clubs before Spanish football was suspended due to the outbreak of war.
Goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora enjoyed a successful spell with Barcelona from 1919 to 1922, helping the side to three Catalonian football championships and two Copa del Rey. He signed for Real Madrid in 1930 following a second spell with Espanyol, and helped them to their first La Liga title in the 1931/32 season. La Liga’s award for the best goalkeeper in a season is named in his honour, so you know he was bloody good.
Currently Barcelona’s fifth-highest scorer of all time, Josep Samitier forged his legacy with the club in a spell from 1919 to 1933. However, a fallout with management saw him sign with Real Madrid in 1933, where he won La Liga in 1932/33 and the 1934 Copa de Espana.
After leaving Barcelona and playing for Real Betis, Garcia joined Real Madrid in 1935. Not much is known about his playing career.
Spanish midfielder Hilario enjoyed a relatively successful five year spell with Real Madrid between 1931 and 1936, and represented the national team at the 1934 World Cup.
He joined Barcelona in 1939, but only played there for one season before moving on.
Playing football indoors as well as outdoors, Josep Canal only played for ?Real Madrid for one season from 1945 to 1946. He moved to Barça in 1946, and stayed with the club until 1951, winning a handful of silverware including two league titles.
Spanish international and defender Joaquin Navarro represented Barcelona for just one season before moving on. He enjoyed a long spell with CE Sabadell before getting a big move to Real Madrid in 1949. He appeared 272 times for Madrid and won five major titles with Los Blancos.
Brother of Joaquin, Alfonso Navarro moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 1951, but spent one season with Los Blancos before moving on once more. After spells with a number of clubs, Navarro joined Barcelona in 1954 for his second spell, and played there until 1956.
The pair are the only set of brothers to make the list.
A peculiar entry, but an entry nevertheless, Hungarian footballer Laszlo Kaszas was officially signed to both Real Madrid and Barcelona during his career, but never managed to make an official appearance for either side.
Spanish forward Justo Tejuda spent the majority of his career playing for Barcelona, where he won one league title and a Copa del Rey during his time with the club. After nine years with Barça, he transferred to Real Madrid in 1961, where he won two league titles and the Copa del Rey before leaving in 1963.
While Tejuda was headed for the Spanish capital in 1961, Chus Pereda went the other way, signing for ?Barcelona.
Pereda only managed two league appearances with Madrid from 1958 to 1959, but would have better success with Barça. After signing in 1961, he represented the club until 1969, making 293 competitive appearances for the club.
After starting his career in his native Brazil, Evaristo moved to Barcelona in 1957, and made 114 league appearances during a five year spell. All was going well until Catalan officials tried to convince him to switch allegiances to Spain, which he refused. The disagreement led to Evaristo signing with Real Madrid in 1962, where he played until 1965.
The second of two Frenchman to make this list, midfielder Lucien Muller joined Real Madrid from Reims in 1962, and went on to make 77 league appearances for the club. Muller crossed the border and joined Barcelona in 1965 after three years in the capital, and enjoyed three years with the Catalan club before moving back to Reims.
Holding the record for the only Belgian to ever represent both Madrid and Barça, midfielder Ferland Goyvaerts achieved the feat after an impressive stint with Club Brugge.
He signed with Barcelona in 1962 and played there for three years, before heading to the Spanish capital. He spent two years with Real Madrid before moving on once more.
The Spanish goalkeeper played for Real Madrid first, after making his way up through the ranks from third-choice to first. He moved onto Hercules before eventually signing for Barcelona in 1980.
Despite never really making his mark at Barça, he was the first player to play for both clubs for 15 years, with Goyvaerts being the last do so in 1965.
Nicknamed ‘der Blonde Engel’, German midfielder Bernd Schuster enjoyed a successful eight years with Barcelona throughout the 1980s. He controversially switched allegiances to Real Madrid in 1988, and played with them for two years.
Schuster enjoyed a short spell as Real Madrid manager, winning La Liga with them in 2007/08.
Coming through the youth ranks at Barça, Luis Milla represented the C and B sides before making his first-team debut. After a contract dispute with Johan Cruyff and club management, Milla joined Real Madrid on a free transfer in 1990, and went on to represent Los Blancos until 1997.
Starting with hometown club Sevilla, Nando earned a move to Barcelona in 1990 where he won two La Ligas and a European cup. The defender was snapped up by Real Madrid in 1992, but four years with Los Blancos was filled with irregular game time, ultimately making his stay in the capital less successful than his two years with Barça.
The names are getting more recognisable by this point, and they don’t come much more recognisable than this one. Michael Laudrup was by far and away one of the most talented footballers of his generation, and joined Barcelona in 1989 after a spell with Juventus. He was part of the unforgettable Cruyff era, and won four consecutive La Liga titles with the club.
He would go onto win his fifth consecutive ?La Liga title in 1994/95, but with rivals Real Madrid.
Story of the evening in Romania. Hagi played for Barcelona again and scored. AGAINST the Romanian Golden Generation he was part of. pic.twitter.com/tKcvnkByB6
— Emanuel Ro?u (@Emishor) June 16, 2018
While Laudrup headed for the capital in 1994, Gheorghe Hagi joined Barcelona that same year, after already playing a two-year spell with Real Madrid from 1990 to 1992.
His time at Madrid was deemed unsuccessful by some, considering just how good the Romanian was previously. His two years in Barça were trophy-laden, but he struggled for regular game time under Cruyff.
A goalkeeper during his playing days, Julen Lopetegui began his career in the Castilla set up at Madrid, but couldn’t establish himself as first team number one during his spell. He left Madrid in 1991 and eventually signed for rivals Barcelona in 1994, but was again unsuccessful in cementing his place as number one.
Left-back Miquel Soler had two spells with Barcelona, his first being more successful than the second, before actually playing for Real Madrid. He signed for Los Blancos in 1995, after an impressive stint with Sevilla, but would leave after just one season.
Croatian Robert Prosinecki represented a handful of different football clubs during his journeyman career. He signed with Real Madrid in 1991 after a successful spell at Red Star Belgrade, and played in the Spanish capital for four inconsistent years.
He was loaned to Real Oviedo for the 1994/95 season, before permanently signing with rivals ?Barcelona in 1995. More injury problems disrupted his stay however, which would only last one season before he moved on.
Despite being best known for his recent spell as Barcelona manager from 2014 to 2017, Luis Enrique actually played with Real Madrid first.
He signed for Los Blancos in 1991, but joined rivals Barça on a free transfer in 1996 after letting his contract run down, stating that he didn’t feel loved by the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu. He would see out the rest of his career at Camp Nou, retiring in 2004.
Dani Garcia Lara
Spanish forward Garcia graduated through the youth academy at Real Madrid, but failed to make an impact on the first team and departed in 1998. After a successful season with Mallorca, he earned a move to Barcelona in 1999, and was an initial success before being plagued by injuries and inconsistencies. He left in 2003.
Another graduate of the Real Madrid academy, striker Alfonso made his first-team debut age 18, but would ultimately fail to nail down his spot as a starter with the side, and moved on in 1995.
After a successful five years with Real Betis, Alfonso signed for Barcelona in 2000. He struggled again to make an impact however, and eventually returned to Betis in 2002.
Perhaps one of, if not the most notorious example on this list, former world beater Luis Figo turned into a superstar at Barcelona after joining from Sporting CP in 1995.
His performances at Barça made him a cult hero at Camp Nou, as his side won successive La Liga titles from 1997 to 1999. Controversy blossomed however when Real Madrid signed Figo in 2000 for a world-record fee, and the ‘galactico’ era began. Suddenly, Figo was the number one enemy in Barcelona, and the atmosphere whenever he returned was simply frightening.
‘El Fenomeno’ only played at Barça for one season from 1996 to 1997, but won La Liga and set the world alight alongside Figo. Contract disputes led to him signing for Inter for a world-record fee, where he would establish himself as one of the greatest to do it.
He returned to Spain in 2002, signing for Real Madrid in a move that broke shirt sale records. Though not held to the same hostility as Figo, Ronaldo unsurprisingly flourished at Madrid, and didn’t have to worry about foreign objects being thrown at his head whenever he returned to Camp Nou.
Arguably the greatest African footballer of all time, Samuel Eto’o signed with Real Madrid at 16-years-old, but could’t quite break into the first team during his time there. He joined Mallorca permanently in 2000, where he excelled.
He signed for Barcelona in 2004, which proved complicated as the Catalan side had to negotiate with Madrid also, who wanted to buy him back. Eventually, Barça got their man and Eto’o became one of the most lethal strikers in world football.
Javier Saviola’s 2007 transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid completes this list, as his move is still the latest example of a player representing both Madrid and Barça in their career.
The Argentine signed with the Catalan club in 2001 at the age of 19, and started well before tailing off due to his inconsistency. He joined rivals Real after his contract expired in 2007, but would only stay with the club for two years before leaving Spain.