Los 40 USA
NewslettersSign in to commentAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA


Real Madrid: Four unexpected heroes against Barcelona

As this quartet has proved, it's not always been the leading lights who've made their mark on Real Madrid's clashes with Barcelona...

El exjugador brasileño, Julio Baptista, durante un partido entre el Real Madrid y el Barcelona.
Javier SorianoAFP

El Clásico is one of the most-followed sporting events in the world: football fans across the planet make sure that they're watching as Barcelona and Real Madrid face off in a box-office clash featuring many of the game's top stars. Sometimes, however, it is not the sides' leading lights who pop up to make the difference...

Here are four occasions over the years when an unexpected Real Madrid hero has grabbed the headlines against Barcelona:

Camacho: a thorn in Cruyff's side

In early 1975, Barcelona visited Madrid with their 5-0 win over Real the year before still fresh in the memory, and with three-time Ballon d'Or winner Johan Cruyff leading their ranks. Real's coach, Milan Miljanic, opted to man-mark the Dutch master, with 20-year-old defender José Antonio Camacho entrusted with the job.

"I had nothing to lose," Camacho recalled years later. "He was the best player in the world; I was just a kid!" Followed everywhere he went by the tireless Camacho, Cruyff was driven to distraction as Real ran out 1-0 winners, and his marker - who went on to play at the Bernabéu for 15 years - announced himself on the big stage.

Aragón arrows home long-range beauty

In 1990, Barcelona and Real Madrid met in the Spanish Super Cup. Los Blancos triumphed 5-1 on aggregate after a 4-1 second-leg thrashing of their arch rivals, and it was club youth product Santi Aragón - beginning what would be his only season in Real's first team - who rounded off the comprehensive victory, with a wonderful strike from all of 40 yards out. After winning the ball in the midfield, Aragón stepped forward, spotted Andoni Zubizarreta off his line and pinged a precision shot over the Barça goalkeeper and into the top corner.

Following loan spells at Espanyol, Logroñés, Real Valladolid and Real Zaragoza, the midfielder finally moved permanently to Zaragoza in 1993, spending a decade at La Romareda.

Anelka breaks his duck in LaLiga

Keen to add firepower to his Real Madrid attack in the summer of 1999, president Lorenzo Sanz placed his faith in Nicolas Anelka, signing the young French striker from Arsenal for a then-eye-watering fee of in excess of 30 million euros.

However, Anelka's time at the Bernabéu proved to be a bumpy one, and in his first season there he failed to find the net in LaLiga until the end of February. He at least chose a good game to break his league duck in, though, grabbing the second goal for Vicente del Bosque's side as they claimed a 3-0 win over Barça, Roberto Carlos and Fernando Morientes also scoring for Los Merengues.

The 'Beast' beats Barcelona at the Camp Nou

Julio Baptista, a.k.a. the 'Beast', spoke to AS this week about his memorable goal against Barcelona in late 2007 - one that gave Real Madrid a 1-0 win at the Camp Nou, put Bernd Schuster's side seven points clear of the Catalans, and was crucial to securing the Spanish-capital club's second straight league title. "It was one of the most important moments in my life," the Brazilian said. "[Iker] Casillas played the ball up the field, one of the Barça players cleared it - but only as far as Raúl, who headed to me. I played a one-two with [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, and then I hit it with everything I had."

Full classification
Upcoming matches

Full classification
Upcoming matches