Such is the hatred by both of Spain’s biggest clubs that Barcelona supporters even chucked a pig’s head onto the pitch when their great betrayer Luis Figo returned to the Nou Camp with Real Madrid.
But one player managed to do that and, despite the cloud under which he left Barcelona, is still adored by fans on both sides of the divide.
Step forward Michael Laudrup.
After helping Barcelona to four consecutive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994, the elegant playmaker fell out with club legend and manager Johan Cruyff, who left him out of his side for the Champions League final against AC Milan.
After Barcelona were hammered by 4-0 by the Italians, Laudrup upped and left for the Santiago Bernabeu, something you would have thought would have made him detested by Barca fans even to this day.
He was the picture of elegance on the pitch and was undoubtedly one of that Barcelona side’s shining stars. Worse still for fans of the Catalan club, is that he helped win the league for Real in his debut seasons, and even orchestrated a 5-0 thumping of his old club.
But current Barca maestro Andres Iniesta believes Laudrup is the greatest ever player, and even Lionel Messi appreciates his talents, saying: “I fully understand why he is considered one of the best players in Barcelona’s history and even the world.”
Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov said: “From more than hundred goals that I scored I’m sure that over 50 were assisted by Michael.”
Regardless of which stadium Laudrup visits, he’s still greeted with a hero’s welcome.
So there you have it: the only player adored by both Barcelona and Real Madrid fans.
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