Ranking the Stars Who've Played for Both Real Madrid and Juventus
The 2017 UEFA Champions League final will see Juventus and Real Madrid go head-to-head, with Juve hoping to end a run of final defeats and Real aiming to become the first side to retain the trophy in the Champions League era.
While the rich histories of these two clubs mean they've had world-class stars aplenty, there haven't been a whole lot of occasions when players have opted to represent both teams at different stages of their careers.
Of course, there's one in particular who has a huge affinity and enjoyed massive success for both clubs—he'll be on Real Madrid's bench as head coach in the final—but how do the rest stack up?
Here we've ranked the 10 players, ordered primarily by their peak performance levels at either club, but also factoring in how they fared at the other, the trophies they won and their longevity at the two sides.
10. Robert Jarni
Getting us underway is Robert Jarni, a peripheral figure at both clubs but a talented left-sided player nonetheless.
The Croatian only spent a year at either side, faring marginally better at Real Madrid—though still used as a sub or rotation player more often than not.
He enjoyed success in both Italy and Spain and was part of the Juve side that won Serie A in 1995, but the step up to the biggest club in each league ultimately proved too big a leap for him to win a regular place.
9. Nicolas Anelka
A big-money transfer not working out is one of the many pitfalls at the elite end of football, and that's pretty much the case with Real Madrid and Nicolas Anelka.
The Spanish side spent over £20 million to bring the then-youngster to the Santiago Bernabeu, but he didn't score for half a season, and his first La Liga strike took until February to arrive.
A suspension at the club topped off the campaign in typical style, and though he returned to help Real win the Champions League final, he was soon on his way out of Madrid.
Anelka's Juve spell amounted to just three games on loan in 2012/13.
Next up is Emerson, the Brazilian midfielder who could have been so much more but seemed to hit a wall after his move from Juventus to Real Madrid.
The aggressive, all-action central man was instrumental in the Italian side winning back-to-back Serie A titles in 2005 and '06—but, unfortunately, not as instrumental as match-rigging proved, and both those titles were revoked in the Calciopoli scandal.
Then-coach Fabio Capello valued him highly, and he followed the Italian boss to the Santiago Bernabeu—but the midfielder soon fell out of favour.
Emerson won La Liga, but not as a regular starter, and lasted just a single season in Spain.
7. Alvaro Morata
From seventh to third, in fairness, there is very, very little to separate any of the players.
Each has been involved in good sides at different stages of their careers and won plenty of trophies, so the ordering could be switched for different perceptions of the upcoming five players—starting with Alvaro Morata.
The striker will likely be on the bench for Real Madrid in the final, though he was a starter—and scorer—for Juve in their 2015 final loss to Barcelona.
Morata wasn't always a first-XI player at Juve, and certainly hasn't been since back at Real, but his strike rate has been impressive and his trophy haul between the two clubs comprises four league titles, four domestic cups and two Champions League finals, one lost, one won.
We've ranked him at the bottom of the pile of these similar players, as there's so much more to come from the 24-year-old.
6. Gonzalo Higuain
Next up, it's the man signed after Morata made way at Juventus: Gonzalo Higuain, the €90 million striker.
His single season at Juve so far has already yielded a league-and-cup double, with more than 30 goals along the way, but it's hard to put him any higher because he perhaps hasn't quite hit the absolute heights he managed last year at Napoli—and at Real, he was a rotation starter.
Despite seven years and over 100 goals at the Bernabeu club, Higuain joined as a young forward and never became the undisputed starter for more than a season or two.
Three campaigns yielded fewer than 15 goals, and he was eventually usurped by his opposite number on the final day, Karim Benzema.
5. Michael Laudrup
Michael Laudrup was an astonishingly good player, and in the context of how good players were in their entire careers, he'd probably be top two in this particular list.
But at Juventus and Real Madrid alone, time and inconsistency prevent him going any higher than No. 5.
His first two seasons in Italy were spent out on loan, then when Laudrup finally won a place, only two of his four campaigns in the side could genuinely be labelled successful. Injury robbed him of much of another, while he didn't score a single goal in the 1987/88 league campaign.
A sole Serie A title and the Intercontinental Cup were his medals with Juve, and while he left for a phenomenal spell at Barcelona, his move to Real Madrid five years later lasted only two seasons.
There he won another title in his first year, and continued to be seen as one of the best in La Liga, but after 1995/96 departed for Japan.
Neither team had Laudrup's absolute, long-lasting best, though Madrid saw a season of near-peak Danish genius.
4. Sami Khedira
Sami Khedira will be part of the engine room for Juventus, coming to the end of his second season since his move from Real to the Turin club—and he won the Champions League in 2014 with Real.
Having been a mainstay of Los Blancos' XI for several seasons, injury and new arrivals pushed Khedira down the order of preference for his final couple of seasons in Spain, but he still contributed an awful lot to one league title, two cups and the Club World Cup, as well as that European victory three years ago, which he came back to fitness for just in time to start.
At Juve, he's a guaranteed first pick in central midfield, a consistent performer and holder of four trophies from his two years: the double domestic double.
He, perhaps more than most, will have reason to show his former employers how wrong they were to let him go.
3. Luis del Sol
Time to turn back the clocks now to the 1960s and the first Spanish player to represent Juventus: Luis del Sol.
He had played for two years at Real Madrid, winning La Liga, before a (for the time) huge money move of around €200,000 to Turin.
In a recent interview with AS (in Spanish) ahead of the final, Del Sol has admitted the Real board of directors needed to sell him, as the club were short financially, but had told him he could return any time if he didn't settle in Italy.
Suffice to say, he did: eight years at Juve, winning two league titles and becoming captain of the team. He's regarded as a legend of the club's history—but in his interview, he opted for Real Madrid to win the final on account of them being Spanish!
2. Fabio Cannavaro
Closer to the present day now and Fabio Cannavaro takes second place, with the Italian centre-back an absolute colossus in the defence around the time he left Juve and joined Madrid.
He only had two seasons in Turin, winning the title in both seasons—like Emerson, revoked later due to Calciopoli—but that coincided with Italy winning the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a move to Real Madrid and an imperious first title-winning season...and, of course, winning the Ballon d'Or.
If judging by a player's peak form is our guide, it's hard to get much better than being labelled the best in the world.
Cannavaro won a second Liga title at Madrid before leaving after three years, when age had caught up with him and he was quickly declining with form.
1. Zinedine Zidane
Top of the charts, no question and no surprise—Zinedine Zidane.
Five years at Juventus, five years at Real Madrid, three league titles, eight minor cups and one very special, very memorable, UEFA Champions League final in which he scored one of the most iconic goals of all time—Zidane was the best for a period.
Between his time at the two clubs, he won the Ballon d'Or once and the FIFA World Player of the Year three times, was named the French Player of the Year once with each club, won La Liga's Best Foreign Player award...the list goes on and on.
And, on top of all that, he won the World Cup in 1998 and the Euros in 2000, both while with Juve.
His skill, breathtaking ability on the ball, penchant for spectacular goals and his vision as a playmaker made him unparalleled at the time and unmatched since for style, grace and panache on the pitch in his trademark, relaxed way of playing with the ball.
Zinedine Zidane, a hero at Juventus, a demi-god at Real Madrid, a legend of the football world as a player—and now attempting to win his second Champions League as head coach of Los Blancos, in just 16 months in charge.