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Madrid derby

Raúl, Reyes, Courtois... six top players to cross Madrid

As Alvaro Morata returns to the Spanish capital, we look at the best players to have played for Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Raúl, Reyes, Courtois... six top players to cross Madrid
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Alvaro Morata has ended his difficult time at Chelsea by securing a move back to Spain with Atletico Madrid.

The striker has signed a deal that will see him spend the rest of this season and 2019-20 on loan with Diego Simeone's side, who are reported to have the option of a permanent transfer.

Morata spent four seasons with Atleti as a youth player but made his breakthrough in world football with bitter rivals Real Madrid, with whom he won eight trophies, including two LaLiga crowns and two Champions Leagues.

He is certainly not the first to represent both of the capital's big boys, though. Here are six of the best players to have turned out for Atleti and Madrid in their careers...

Thibaut Courtois

Courtois enjoyed a superb three-season loan spell at Atletico, helping them to end an 18-year wait for a LaLiga title and reach the Champions League final in 2014, having also won the Copa del Rey and Europa League. He was similarly successful upon returning to Chelsea, adding two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the EFL Cup to his list of honours, but he has yet to hit those same heights at Madrid after leaving Stamford Bridge in August.

Theo Hernandez

Unlike older brother Lucas, who remains a key part of Atletico's team, Theo controversially left them for Madrid in 2017 having not played a professional game for Simeone's side. The left-back made 23 appearances in his debut season for Madrid, winning the Champions League, but was loaned to Real Sociedad for 2018-19.


Though he went on to secure a place as a legendary figure in Madrid's storied history, things could have been very different for Raul, who was in Atletico's academy until it was closed as a cost-saving measure. Madrid took advantage and got him on their books, and Raul went on to win six LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies with the club, becoming their record goalscorer with 323 strikes to his name before eventually being displaced by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jose Antonio Reyes

A disappointment at Arsenal, where he never seemed settled after moving from Sevilla, Reyes returned to Spain when he joined Madrid on loan in 2006 and wrote his name into club folklore by scoring twice on the final day of the season as they came from behind to beat Real Mallorca 3-1 and clinch the league title ahead of Barcelona. He subsequently made the move to Atletico for the following season, in which he failed to score a single goal. That led to him being loaned out to Benfica, but Reyes returned to help Atletico win the Europa League in 2010 and 2012.

Santiago Solari

Midfielder Solari made the move from River Plate to Atletico in 1999, but their relegation from LaLiga in 2000 led him to the Santiago Bernabeu, where he served as a workmanlike force for the 'Galacticos'. Solari won a pair of LaLiga titles and the 2002 Champions League, thanks to Zinedine Zidane's stunning volley, and will hope to have the same success his former team-mate enjoyed in the dugout, having taken over as Madrid head coach from Zidane's successor Julen Lopetegui.

Bernd Schuster

Schuster evidently did not mind making controversial transfers. After great success at Barca, he moved to the other side of the Clasico rivalry and won two LaLiga titles and the Copa del Rey. The German midfielder and future Madrid coach went on to claim a further two Copas with Atletico following his 1990 move across the city.


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