Who’s played for Real Madrid and Atlético?



Meeting in the UEFA Champions League for the fourth season running, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid have plenty in common. UEFA.com’s man in the Spanish capital, Joe Walker, takes a closer look at some of the most illustrious players to have represented both clubs.

Hugo Sánchez
Mexican forward Sánchez came to Atlético in 1981 from Nacional in his homeland. He scored 54 goals in 111 games, including 19 in 1984/85 to finish as the Spanish top flight’s leading marksman. He claimed the same award four times in the next five years – but with Madrid – to help the Merengues win five straight titles between 1986 and 1990. His finest hour at the Santiago Bernabéu was 1989/90, when he earned the European Golden Boot, tying Telmo Zarra’s then-record 38 goals for a single Liga campaign.






Bernd Schuster
The German midfielder created history – not to mention animosity – by swapping Barcelona for Real Madrid, whom he in turn left for city rivals Atlético. Schuster’s two terms at the Bernabéu brought two Liga crowns, one Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup. More success followed at the Vicente Calderón as he helped the Rojiblancos finish ahead of Madrid in the league and second to champions Barcelona. He went down in Atlético folklore by netting the opener in the 1992 Copa del Rey final victory against Madrid. Later coached Madrid for a single season.


Ten of the best: watch Raúl's greatest goals


Ten of the best: watch Raúl’s greatest goals

Santiago Solari
The Argentine midfielder landed at Atlético from River Plate in January 1999 and shone despite the Rojiblancos’ relegation in his first full campaign. Vicente del Bosque then took him to the other side of the capital. After securing the championship in his debut season, he played the 90 minutes as Real Madrid lifted their ninth European Cup, beating Leverkusen 2-1 in Glasgow in 2002. Another Liga crown followed in 2003 before a switch to Inter Milan, with whom he collected Serie A titles. Rejoined the Merengues as Under-16 coach in 2013.

Raúl González
One of the most iconic players in Madrid’s history, Raúl was on Atlético’s books as a youngster. Indeed, were it not for the decision to close the Atlético academy in 1992, Madrid’s long-time captain might have been a legend on the other side of the divide. Instead he became the youngest player to represent Madrid aged 17 years and 124 days, and on just his second appearance – against Atlético – hit the first of his club-record 323 Madrid goals. He won three UEFA Champions Leagues and six Liga titles before ending his career at Schalke, al-Sadd and New York Cosmos.


Atlético's Juanfran missed the decisive penalty in the 2016 final


Atlético’s Juanfran missed the decisive penalty in the 2016 final©AFP/Getty Images

Juan Gómez (Juanito)
Though he is an esteemed figure among Real Madrid fans given his involvement in a number of famous comebacks, it is often forgotten that Gómez started out with Atlético. Injuries curtailed his progress there, however, and he departed for Burgos before transferring to Madrid four years later. His fleet-footed style and character helped him win the hearts of Madrid’s supporters in addition to five Liga championships, two UEFA Cups and two Copas del Rey. Died in a car accident aged 37.

There are plenty more to have served both clubs in some capacity (48 of them by our estimates), including Luis Aragonés, José Antonio Reyes and Santiago Bernabéu, as well as current Atlético duo Juanfran and Saúl Ñíguez.

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