Europe’s most legendary rivalry created and is still creating legends on both sides. However, there are only a few who were able to make their mark both in Madrid and Barcelona. These players caused divide and hatred. Still, there isn’t a lot to take away from such footballing masters who were able to gain admiration on both sides.
The Brilliant Danish midfielder is maybe the only player on the list who doesn’t provoke hatred on either side. Laudrup was a big part of Barcelona’s Dream Team that won four La Ligas in a row under the guidance of Johan Cruyff. However, after falling out with the manager, Laudrup got his revenge by moving directly to Real Madrid in the 1994/95 season, where he took the La Liga title from Barcelona, as Madrid ended Barca’s years of domestic domination. His impact is perfectly shown in a fact that he played for Blaugrana when Barca beat Madrid 5-0, just for Madrid to beat Barca 5-0 the following season when Laudrup changed sides.
If Laudrup was forgiven for moving to Madrid in 1995, Luis Figo never was and never will be forgiven for what he did. Figo led Barca to win UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with Ronaldo, after which the Catalans won two consecutive titles under his leadership. Barcelona was proud to have one of the best players in the world within their ranks, while Real Madrid was assembling a dream team. However, in a move that shocked the world, Figo changed sides, moving to Real Madrid for a fee of €65 million in 2000. On his return to Camp Nou, a legendary atmosphere was created, taking the strength away from Figo, who didn’t dare to take any corners due to the variety of objects thrown at him. Barca took the 2-0 win, and even Florentino Perez admitted that the atmosphere affected the whole team. However, when he returned the second time, iconic image was created as pig’s head was thrown at Figo, with the game being suspended for 20 minutes due to the anger of Cules, who threw anything and everything at the “traitor”.
Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima
Nobody who ever watched Ronaldo in his prime will omit him from the list of the best footballers ever. Such power combined with technique and artistry was never seen before, and perhaps since. Ronaldo scored 34(!) goals in 37 appearances for Barcelona. This was one of, if not the best individual season for any player in La Liga ever. However, Ronaldo fell out with the Barca board who sold him to Inter. Five years and a couple of bad knee injuries later, Ronaldo was at Camp Nou again – this time in the white shirt. However, Barcelona fans primarily targeted Figo, who was a much bigger icon in Barca than Ronaldo, thus being given a pass for his indirect move to Real Madrid. This was enhanced by the fact that Ronaldo never reached the level from Barcelona for the remainder of his career.