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🌇 Five key players, past & present, to star in the Madrid Derby

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Both Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid have been fixtures in the very top echelon of world football for years, and as a consequence, some of the world’s finest players have featured in this iconic cross-city derby.

Here are five who have really stood out.

🇪🇸 Raúl (Real Madrid, 1994-2010)

He may have been in Atlético de Madrid’s academy as a kid, but Raúl crossed the capital city divide as a teenager and, after finishing his footballing education at Real Madrid, haunted his former team in the derby for over a decade and a half.

Until Cristiano Ronaldo came along and pushed up the goal record in the fixture to 22 times, Raúl was the derby’s joint-top scorer along with the legendary Ferenc Puskás with 11 goals. One derby from the 1996/97 season was even named after him. It was labelled ‘La Noche de Raúl’ – ‘The Night of Raúl’, in English – after he scored twice and provided two assists in a 4-1 victory.

🇪🇸 Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético Madrid, 2012-present)

Saúl’s story is like Raúl’s but in reverse. He was once in the academy at Real Madrid, but instead made the switch to the red and white half of the city and has now become one of their key players. Just 26 years old, Saúl has already played 22 derbies in all competitions, winning six, drawing six and losing ten. He’s notched three derby goals already, most recently in the 4-2 UEFA Super Cup 2018 win and most famously in the 4-0 LaLiga triumph in 2015.

🇵🇹 Paulo Futre (Atlético Madrid, 1987-1993 & 1997-1998)

Signed in 1987, Ballon d’Or runner-up Futre became an Atlético legend. The derby seemed to bring out the best in him. Not only did he score in his first Madrid derby in a 4-0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu, he also scored in the 2-0 victory over Los Blancos in the 1992 Copa del Rey final while wearing the captain’s armband.

🇧🇷 Miranda (Atlético Madrid, 2011-2015)

Atlético Madrid didn’t win a single derby between 1999 and 2013. Los Colchoneros played 25 games without beating their neighbours before casting away their demons in the 2013 Copa del Rey final, held, appropriately, at the Santiago Bernabéu. In extra time, with the scores deadlocked at 1-1, Atleti centre-back Miranda headed in the winner to immediately become a legend of the capital city derby. He dedicated the goal to his son, who he stated would no longer be teased in school about the 14-year drought!

🇪🇸 Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, 2005-present)

Another goal-scoring centre-back, Ramos broke Atleti hearts in Lisbon and in Milan in the Champions League finals these teams contested in 2014 and 2016. In the first, he equalised in stoppage time with a header to force extra time, after which Los Blancos ran out 4-1 winners.

Two years later, he opened the scoring in a match that Real Madrid won in a penalty shootout… in which he also scored. In the last final between the two, the 2019 Spanish Super Cup, he once again scored the decisive goal in the penalty shootout to hand Real Madrid the title.

📲 Follow Atlético de Madrid vs Real Madrid this Sunday 

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