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EL CLÁSICO

How many American soccer players have played in El Clásico?

Barcelona vs Real Madrid may be a rivalry unlike any other, but it’s global reach has brought players from around the globe to experience it first hand.

Update:
Barcelona vs Real Madrid may be a rivalry unlike any other, but it’s global reach has brought players from around the globe to experience it first hand.
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On Saturday, Barcelona welcome Real Madrid to Montjuïc for the first clash of the Spanish giants this season. El Clásico is known around the world and players from all corners of the globe have featured in it. Clearly there have been a plethora of stars from the country itself featuring (think Ramos, Xavi, Casillas), and then we have had the headline names from the likes of Brazil (Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho), France (Zidane, Henry, Benzema), Argentina (Di Stefano*, Messi, Maradona) and so on.

Barcelona vs Real Madrid live online: El Clásico score, stats and updates

But what about the United States of America? Surely a population of that size has contributed to some of the 296 games that have been played out between the two eternal rivals over the last 120 years. Well, as it turns out, the growth of soccer in the U.S., while moving in the right direction, is yet to make a significant statement on this game, with just a single American taking part.

A Clásico Dest

Sergiño Dest is the only United States men’s player to ever have featured in this high-profile clash. He joined Barcelona in 2020, signing from Ajax in the Eredivisie, the top flight of the Netherlands. And that October move meant that less than a month later he was lacing up his boots to face Los Blancos in front of a home crowd at the impressive Camp Nou.

Things didn’t go so well for Dest and his teammates - including Messi, Piqué, Busquets - that day, losing 1-3 with goals from Federico Valverde (4′), Sergio Ramos (62′ pen) and Modric (89′) cancelling out the seventh minute strike from Ansu Fati.

The 22-year old (he turns 23 in a few days) didn’t have much luck against the capital rival, playing in another couple of Clásicos before heading off on loan to AC Milan and then PSV. He did, however, become the first American to score for the club, in a 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League group stage.

Dest will always be the first American to play in El Clásico and there is still time for him to return though and get some Culés smiling.

(*Yes, while Alfredo was born in Argentina, he did represent Spain)