Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: These 5 stars made the direct Clasico switch

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Luis Figo (Mandatory Credit: Allsport/ALLSPORT)
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Luis Figo (Mandatory Credit: Allsport/ALLSPORT) /
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Michael Laudrup
Michael Laudrup (Photo credit should read KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images) /

2. Michael Laudrup

The greatest player in Denmark’s history joined Barcelona in 1989 and was an integral part of the famous ‘Dream Team’ that won four consecutive league titles, a Copa del Rey, and the European Cup in 1992. Despite his incredible performances, his issues with management led to his benching in the 1994 Champions League final, which Barcelona lost, and would leave the club at the conclusion of the season.

Incredibly, he decided to sign for Real Madrid and became an instant villain in Barcelona as he was constantly jeered every time he played in the Camp Nou. While playing with Los Blancos, he would add another league title to his already impressive curriculum and became the only player to win a Clasico by a 5-0 scoreline with both teams.

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Luis Figo
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Luis Figo (Mandatory Credit: Allsport/ALLSPORT) /

1. Luis Figo

If ‘El Clasico’ was already an intense encounter, Luis Figo’s transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid took the rivalry to unimaginable levels. Figo was Barcelona’s captain and best player, but for the fans, he meant much more than that. He was seen as an FC Barcelona symbol and the fans adopted him as a fellow Catalan. He properly represented the club and never missed the opportunity to take a shot at their fiercest rival. However, that all changed in 2000 when Florentino Perez became the new Real Madrid President.

During the presidential campaign, Florentino stated he would sign Luis Figo if he won the election and was so confident that he promised the Real Madrid members he would pay their membership fees for the following season if he did not join. Initially, Figo accepted Florentino Perez’s offer as an attempt to pressure the Barcelona board into giving him the contract he wanted, the deal included the Portuguese international being compensated if Florentino did not become President, and nobody seriously thought he would win the election. Remarkably, Florentino pulled the upset and triggered Figo’s €60 million buyout clause. Just like that, Figo became the world’s most expensive player at the time and shattered the hearts of the Blaugranas.

Although he won the same number of league titles with both sides, his success with Real Madrid on the international level was much greater. At Barcelona, his only continental trophy would be the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1997 when they defeated PSG in the final. With Los Blancos, he won the Champions League title in 2002, which included eliminating Barcelona in the semifinals after a brilliant 0-2 victory in the Camp Nou.

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Later that season, the team would win the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. His only Clasico goal with Real Madrid came in a famous 2-0 win during the 2001/2002 season. However, games at the Camp Nou were filled with tension as he was constantly jeered and had objects thrown at him, which included a pig’s head. It is probably fair to say Figo is more fond of Real Madrid than Barcelona now.