Playing for the Spanish giants has always been the dream of every single footballer rising through the ranks with their diligence and tenacity. Though in most of the occasions, players fail to realize that it needs a lot more than mere skills to be fortunate enough to ply trade for any one of those sides but once again, every single norm on the face of the planet has exceptions.
While 99 per cent of footballers have died dreaming this illustrious dream, a few stalwarts of the sport went on to feature in both the Spanish giants, namely Real Madrid and Barcelona. Fortune laced with some crazy football skills and the ability to flip the match over single-handedly made them highly-coveted throughout their glittering football career. Once in the big leagues, both the clubs came calling and as you may like it, a few of them were more pragmatic than being the emotional ones. We will look at five footballers who went on to play for both Real and Barcelona.
#1 Luis Figo
The man who rose to unparalleled prominence, plying his trade for the Catalans left Barcelona shortly thereafter. Being the best in the world at that moment, Figo was a colossal genius in the midfield who challenged the supremacy of any other teams with his slick passing skills and his substantial long-rangers.
After joining Madrid in 2000, Barcelona went completely cross with the Portuguese star and every single time he took the field at Camp Nou, it rained missiles and invectives on him. In fact, such was the inimicality between the two parties every single time Figo stepped up to whip in those laser-like corners into the mixer, his team mate at Real Madrid, Salgado said, “‘Forget it, mate. You’re on your own’.
I used to offer Luis the chance to take the short corner, drawing up close to him near the touchline, but not this time. Missiles were raining down from the stands: coins, a knife, a glass whiskey bottle.”
Barring all the negativities that plagued the historical move of Figo to Real, thereby piecing in a part of a bigger puzzle, he registered 200 appearances for both the sides and also went on to notch up the 2002 Champions League with the Galacticos.
#2 Ronaldo Luis Nazario De Lima
The Brazilian star was always a sensation in whatsoever team he played for. Though it was only a solitary season at Camp Nou, that was a wonderful season for the Brazilian marksman too. Appearing in 49 games, the man fired home a staggering 47 times. Unfortunately much to his woe, the contract had a major flaw in it that led to a severe controversy at the end of 1996-97 season which the Brazilian talisman head over to Inter Milan.
After a considerable stint with Inter, Ronaldo returned to Spain through the hands of Real Madrid and the ever-smiling Brazilian wonder conjured the magic of the highest order to propel Real to countless victories. If it was Figo’s signing that won Perez his presidency at Bernabeu, it was this signing that cemented his position as the same.
#3 Gheorghe Hagi
Known as the “Maradona of the Carpathians”, Gheorghe Hagi spread magnificence in every single club that he has been part of. Known for his ability to twist the defenders into a knot and shimmy down the centre to whip in those vicious curlers into the back of the net, Hagi’s story at the two Spanish giants however, wasn’t much of a hit.
He played one season apiece for both Real Madrid and Barcelona. He joined Real after pulling off an impressive showdown with Romania in the 1990 World Cup. His stint in the Real colours was more about flashes of instinctive brilliance rather than uniformly disseminated excellence.
After a modest year with Madrid he headed to Brescia only to witness the team nosediving into a tailspin with Serie A relegation. Hagi showcased exemplary leadership in bringing back Brescia to the Premiership and then switched his allegiance to return to Spain.
Barcelona hailed him in but his stint at the club never really looked promising as Cryuff often left him out of his plans. He left Barcelona after a year to move to Galatasaray to produce more magical performances.
#4 Alfredo Di Stefano
The man who left the Barcelona fans seething and with an extremely bad taste in their mouth for his remarkable dodge that helped him to avert a Barcelona move.
Both Real and Barcelona were in hot pursuit of this magical footballer in 1953 who left both sets of fans in utter enchantment with his captivating brand of football.
After a prolonged dispute to ensure the prevailing of World peace, the court judged that Stefano belongs to both the clubs and he will play at both of them in alternate seasons. In fact, Stefano trained with Barca and even went on t play a few friendly matches for them.
However, it was Madrid who got to play the Colombian in the first set of competitive matches. After seeing ordinary performances from the Colombian, Barcelona decided to sell the man to their arch-rivals for the remainder of the season.
Come the next match, El Classico and Di Stefano pumped in hattrick against the hapless Barcelona.
With an appearance in 396 games that witnessed 308 goals, eight league titles and five European cups, Di Stefano changed the course of Madrid history that left the hapless fans of Barcelona sorry.
#5 Javier Saviola
After hogging the limelight for all the right reasons at River Plate, he arrived to Camp Nou with many expectations on his shoulder. Despite being a consistent goal-scorer in Argentine colours, Saviola did not relish a grand opening at Barcelona. The club seemed way too extraordinary for the Argentine sharp-shooter but he shortly made it back to his former scintillating self with a few stunning goals of his own.
With three brilliant seasons at Cam Nou, he shortly started to wither and was loaned out to Monaco and Sevilla before one last ride in the Catalan outfit. Going by his prolific goal-scoring stature, Real notched him up no time just as the contract at Real expired.
With regular injury issues, Saviloa barely managed to make it to the first eleven and his stint at Bernabeu came to an end with the arrival of the much-awaited star, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Saviola played out his last few seasons for Benfica, Malaga, Olympiacos, Verona and River Plate.