Players who have played for Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are local rivals, but it is certainly not one of the most heated rivalries in world football. The two Spanish giants have heat between them, but it’s not as big as the one Los Blancos have with Barcelona nor is it like Arsenal v Tottenham.

But still, playing for one club almost automatically makes it very difficult for a player to move to the other side of Madrid. So much so that in the 116-year rivalry of these clubs, only a few players have played both sides!

Marcos Llorente’s transfer from Real Madrid to Atletico makes him the 30th player ever to be a part of both the Madrid sides. He’s joining Los Rojiblancos in a €40 million deal.

Without further ado, here are the top 9 players who have represented both the Madrid sides so far:

#9 – Hugo Sanchez

Hugo Sanchez is arguably one of the best footballers the world has ever seen. The Mexican joined Atletico Madrid in 1981 and stayed at the club for 5 years. The striker scored 54 times in over 100 appearances and earned a transfer to Real Madrid.

The move brought the best out of Sanchez and he went on to score 35+ in 4 consecutive seasons. After scoring 164 goals in 207 apps over 7 seasons at Bernabeu, the striker decided to move back to Mexico.

He played for a variety of clubs in Spain, USA and Austria before retiring in 1997.

#8 – Bernd Schuster

Bernd Schuster is the only footballer ever to play for Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona. The German midfielder spent 8 seasons at Camp Nou (1980-88) before joining Real Madrid, a team he later managed for one and half season (2007-08).

He spent just 2 seasons at Bernabeu before heading to their local rivals, Atletico Madrid where he spent 3 seasons. Schuster played for Bayer Leverkusen and UNAM Pumas before hanging his boots in 1997.

#7 – Raul

Real Madrid, Raul is not actually an Atletico Madrid youth product but he spent 2 seasons with them before moving to Los Blancos. The Spaniard was signed by them from CD San Cristóbal de los Ángeles and helped Atleti win the national title with the Cadete team.

Atletico’s decision to close their academy a year later saw Raul move to Real Madrid and rest, as they say, is history. He went on to play for Los Blancos for 16 years (plus 2 years in the youth system) and became a club legend. He moved to Schakle 04, Al Sadd and New York Cosmos between 2010 and 2015 before calling it quits.

#6 – Santiago Solari

Former Real Madrid, Santiago Solari have not lasted long as a manager at Bernabeu but as a player, he spent 5 seasons there. The midfielder was signed by Vicente del Bosque in 2000 and after making 131 apps over 5 years, he moved to Inter Milan.

Solari was a part of the Atletico Madrid side that got relegated in the 1999/00 season. He had just joined from River Plate at the start of the season and despite the club’s relegation, he was seen as the shining star by Del Bosque.


#5 – Jose Antonio Reyes 

Jose Antonio Reyes’ is well known for his time at Arsenal and Atletico Madrid. However, in between the spells at the aforementioned clubs, he spent a season on loan at Real Madrid.

Reyes scored 6 goals in 30 appearances for Los Blancos after moving to Bernabeu in a loan-swap deal involving Júlio Baptista. He scored twice on the final day of the season to help Madrid win the title in dramatic fashion.

He joined Atletico in the summer and spent 4 years at the club before moving to Sevilla. Reyes tragically passed away on June 1st, 2019 in a car accident while travelling between Utrera and Seville with his cousins.

#4 – Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois spent 3 years at Atletico Madrid on loan from Chelsea. The Belgian was sent to the Spanish to develop by the Premier League side as they had Petr Cech as their #1 at that time.

Courtois forced his way to Real Madrid in the summer of 2018 after going AWOL. The goalkeeper joined for €35M + Kovacic (on loan) but could not replicate the form at Atletico in his first season at Bernabeu.


#3 – Juanfran

After 8 seasons at Atletico Madrid, Juanfran has left the club this summer. The defender was signed from Osasuna for just €4 million in 2011 and has become a club legend.

However, before joining Osasuna, Juanfran was on the books of Real Madrid. The Spaniard was signed by Los Blancos from Kelme when he was a youth and he made 6 appearances for the senior team before he was sold.

#2 – Theo Hernandez

Theo Hernandez joining Real Madrid came as a shock for Atletico Madrid. The Rojiblancos could not block the transfer as Real had activated his release clause and the defender was keen on moving.

He was yet to make an appearance for the senior side at Atletico and the lure of Real got him to switch sides in 2017. He spent a season at Bernabeu before getting loned to Real Sociedad. His future at the club is in the balance as Madrid have signed Ferland Mendy despite already having Marcelo and Sergio Reguilón in the squad as left-backs.

#1 – Alvaro Morata

Alvaro Morata started his career at Atletico Madrid’s academy before heading to Getafe and then Real Madrid. The striker made a few senior appearances for Los Blancos but his best spell came at Juventus.

Blancos signed him back after 2 seasons before selling him to Chelsea a year later. Despite a decent start, Morata often misfired for the Premier League side and is now on an 18-month loan at Atletico Madrid, who have the option of signing him permanently next summer.

The other 20 to play for both clubs: Triana, Cabo, Luis Olaso, Vázquez, Eduardo Ordóñez, Jaime Lazcano, Luis Marín, Pruden, Luis Aragonés, Ramón Grosso, Juanito, Paco Llorente, Sebastián Losada, Miquel Soler, Juan Esnáider, Pedro Jaro, José García Calvo, Rodrigo Fabri, José Manuel Jurado, Antonio Adán.

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