5 Legends Who Have Donned Both Real Madrid & Inter Milan Colours – originally posted on Sportslens.com
Benzema vs Sanchez, Hazard vs Lautaro, Casemiro vs Vidal, Zidane vs Conte – the list goes on. The mouth-watering group stage tie between Real Madrid and Inter Milan in this season’s Champions League is nothing short of a high-profile spectacle featuring some of the biggest names in club football. Madrid against Inter is always a classic.
Ahead of the formidable tactical clash between the two European giants, we look at the top five players who have had the honour of donning both Galactico and Nerazzurri colours.
ROBERTO CARLOS (DF)
Did you know? Roberto Carlos started his career as a striker and was even deployed as a centre-forward by then Inter manager, Roy Hodgson. Ever since he first burst out in the football world with his menacing left leg, Carlos went to frighten defenders with his thunderous bending shots and otherworldly free-kicks. Some of his shots have reportedly clocked around 170km/h.
He spent only one season with Inter before transferring to Madrid for a meagre sum of €6m. Talk about a bargain. He went on to spend 11 title-laden years in the Spanish capital, winning three UEFA Champions Leagues, four La Ligas and one UEFA Super Cup, among many others. Carlos established himself all one of the greatest left-backs of all-time and is often labelled as the most offensive-minded left-back in the history of the game.
Inter Milan (1995-1996) 34 Caps – 7 Goals.
Real Madrid (1996-2007) 527 Caps – 69 Goals.
Few players can boast to have played for both the Milanese teams and the El Clasico rivals. After having played just one season with Barca in La Liga, a season that took the world by storm – he won the 1997 Ballon d’Or aged just 20. A record yet to be broken. Inter secured his signature for a then world-record fee of $27m.
The bald-headed prodigy went on to instil fear into defenders’ minds when they saw him approaching. Alessandro Nesta once said: “The worst experience I ever had was playing against Ronaldo in the 1998 UEFA Cup final – he was simply unstoppable.” Unfortunately, he suffered a life-changing injury against Lazio in the Coppa Italia.
After missing out much of his final years with Inter due to injuries, he announced his comeback to the world stage by securing Brazil’s fifth World Cup title. Although many viewed him as ‘a shadow of his former self’ during his Madrid years, he was nonetheless a force to be reckoned with, and constantly defied critics. With his leg-breaking dribbling skills, unstoppable acceleration, mesmerising skills and sublime ball control, ‘Il Fenomeno’ was truly a phenomenon.
Inter Milan (1997-2002) 99 Caps – 59 Goals.
Real Madrid (2002-2007) 177 Caps – 104 Goals.
LUIS FIGO (MF)
Figo’s skilful ability with the ball at his feet enabled him to frequently wrong foot defenders and link up effectively. His dead-ball skills, visionary passing and leadership skills made it highly difficult for defences to keep him quiet. His signing by Madrid for a then world-record fee of €62m from Barca signalled the birth of the Galactico era. During that period, Madrid captured the La Liga twice and the Champions League once, among various other honours.
Inter Milan grabbed Luis Figo on a bargain free transfer from Madrid and he went on to cap more than a hundred times for the Nerazzurri. The Portuguese maestro who was usually used as a winger was now deployed as an attacking midfielder in the playmaker role.
Luis Figo will forever be remembered for his controversial transfer from Barcelona to Madrid, an event that ended up with a pig head to be thrown on the field. Ivan Campo Ramos, Figo’s teammate during his first Clasico at Camp Nou with the Blancos, once said: “That night when Figo first went back was incredible. I’ve never heard anything like it. But my lasting emotion was admiration: you’ve got balls.”
Real Madrid (2000-2005) 239 Caps – 57 Goals.
Inter Milan (2005-2009) 138 Caps – 11 Goals.
CLARENCE SEEDORF (MF)
The muscular Dutchman was one of the most versatile players to have played the beautiful game. Clarence Seedorf could literally play anywhere in the midfield role – be it as an attacking playmaker or a holding box-to-box role. He was nicknamed ‘Il Professore’ by the Italian media due to his strong presence on the field and unparalleled tactical skills.
During his three years with Madrid, he played an instrumental role in winning the 1996/97 La Liga and three other titles over the course – most notably the Champions League in 1997/98. Seedorf moved to Italy to play with Inter, a tenure that did not evolve into title-winning seasons for the Italian club.
Nevertheless, the tenacious midfielder is fondly remembered for his contributions in each game he played. It would be rather fair to say that the other Rossoneri half of Milan faithful will remember him much more fondly – as a club legend to be precise.
Real Madrid (1996-1999) 159 Caps – 20 Goals
Inter Milan (1999-2002) 93 Caps – 14 Goals.
WALTER SAMUEL (DF)
As a youth product of Argentina’s foremost academies, Newell’s Old Boys, Walter Samuel was the kind of player who could lead efficiently from the back. His exceptional positioning, strong physique, tight marking, fearless tackles and ability to read the game made him one of the world’s best defenders in his heyday. He wasn’t called ‘Il Muro’ (The Wall) for no reason.
Although his Madrid career never took flight after successful spells at Boca Juniors and AS Roma, he went on the make a great difference in back in Serie A when Inter signed him for €16m. For nine years, Samuel led the defence from the back and contributed to Inter’s most successful year in 2009/10, as they swept through Europe to complete an incredible treble-winning season. The Argentine will be remembered as an uncompromising Nerazzurri legend.
Real Madrid (2005-2005) 40 Caps – 2 Goals.
Inter Milan (2005-2014) 236 Caps – 17 Goals.