Perhaps it is down to sheer talent that Ronaldo Nazário remains beloved by both set of fans. Il Fenomeno joined FC Barcelona for the 1996/97 campaign from PSV for a world record €15 million fee. Despite only staying for one season, Ronaldo was imperious, scoring 47 goals in 49 games on route to helping FC Barcelona win the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup. Due to issues in his contract, Inter Milan met his release clause and, to much sadness in Catalonia, he departed shortly after. Five years later, Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for €46 million to the delight of fellow Galácticos Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Roberto Carlos. Despite struggling with injuries, Ronaldo achieved much success at Real Madrid, winning the Ballon d’Or, LaLiga title, Intercontinental Cup, Spanish Super Cup and registering 83 goals in 127 appearances.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, Michael Laudrup was a key member of Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team at FC Barcelona alongside Ronald Koeman. Under Cruyff’s leadership, Laudrup won nine trophies at the club including four successive league titles between 1991 and 1994 and the European Cup in 1992. In a controversial move, Laudrup decided to join Real Madrid in the aftermath of the 1994 World Cup. His decision was immediately vindicated with the club going on to win the 1995 LaLiga title, making Laudrup the only player ever to win the Spanish league five times in a row playing for two different clubs. He left to join Vissel Kobe, leaving behind a legacy of being one of the most talented players to play for the two clubs.

Luis Enrique is the fourth player on our list to have crossed the divide. Luis Enrique joined Real Madrid from Real Sporting in 1991, spending five years in the capital and notably scoring in their 5-0 win over FC Barcelona in January 1995. Stating that he didn’t feel appreciated, Luis Enrique departed in 1996 for the Catalan giants with his existing contract coming to an end. Although treated with caution at first, he become a legend for his new club, staying eight years, becoming club captain and scoring 73 goals in 207 appearances. He retired in 2004 at the age of 34 and went on to manage FC Barcelona to LaLiga and Champions League glory.

Finally, Bernd Schuster was a FC Barcelona stalwart who made 170 appearances for the club across eight years of service. The German was a precocious talent and quickly became a fan favourite, winning the European Silver Ball in 1980 and Bronze Ball in 1981 and 1985. His move to Real Madrid in 1988 was highly controversial and came at a time when Real Madrid were starting to regain control of LaLiga. He stayed at Los Blancos for two years, scoring 13 goals in 61 appearances. Schuster latterly managed Real Madrid in 2007 and steered them to the 2007/08 LaLiga title.

Other famous players who have crossed the divide include Samuel Eto’o, Javier Saviola, Albert Celades, Julen Lopetegui, Luis Milla, Ricardo Zamora and, most recently, Takefusa Kubo, signed by Real Madrid in summer 2019 although he now plays for Real Sociedad after having spent four years at FC Barcelona’s academy from 2011 to 2015.

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