El Clasico will have a very different feel this weekend as neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing, the first time both have been absent for a clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid in more than a decade.
Ronaldo was always going to miss Sunday’s meeting at Camp Nou after joining Juventus but Messi’s absence feels more seismic, the Barca captain sidelined for three weeks due to a fractured arm sustained against Sevilla.
Real Madrid were 1-0 winners at Camp Nou in December 2007 in the last Clasico without both Messi and Ronaldo, Julio Baptista scoring the winning goal for Bernd Schuster’s men on that occasion.
But who else was in the Barca and Madrid XIs on that day – and where are they now?
Victor Valdes: The Spanish goalkeeper remained Barca’s number one until he joined Manchester United in 2015, although he only acted as backup to compatriot David de Gea. An improbable short spell at Middlesbrough followed before retirement in January 2018.
Gabriel Milito: Argentina defender Milito won two LaLiga titles in a four-season spell at Camp Nou. He left Barca in 2011 to return to former club Independiente but retired after a single season. Milito has coached Independiente and is now in charge of Chilean club O’Higgins.
Rafael Marquez: Veteran centre-back Marquez featured for Mexico at the 2018 World Cup and is still playing regularly for Atlas at the age of 39, having had spells with New York Red Bulls, Leon and Verona after leaving Barca in 2010 following seven years with the Catalans.
Carles Puyol: One of the great captains in modern football history, Puyol retired in 2014 after spending his entire playing career at Camp Nou. Puyol is now an ambassador for LaLiga.
505 – Xavi
421 – Iniesta
393 – Messi
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) November 4, 2017
Eric Abidal: France left-back Abidal lost two years of his career after undergoing treatment for a liver tumour. He returned to former club Monaco in 2013 and had a short spell with Olympiacos before retiring. Abidal was appointed Barca’s sporting director in June.
Ronaldinho: Samba superstar Ronaldinho spent three years in Serie A with AC Milan before returning to his homeland to play for clubs including Flamengo and Fluminense. Ronaldinho retired in January 2018 having last played for an Indian futsal team.
Deco: Portugal midfielder Deco also played for Fluminense at the end of his career, claiming the Campeonato Brasileiro in 2010 and 2012, while he won the 2009-10 Premier League with Chelsea.
Andres Iniesta: Former Barca captain Iniesta signed for Japanese side Vissel Kobe. With nine LaLiga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Copas del Rey, Iniesta will go down as a Barca legend. He also won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships with Spain but retired from international duty after Russia 2018.
— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) June 23, 2018
Xavi: So often Iniesta’s fellow midfield conductor, Xavi left Barca in 2014 and is now plying his trade in Qatar for Al Sadd and working on his coaching badges. He is widely seen as a future Barca boss.
Yaya Toure: Ivory Coast midfielder Toure left Barca in 2010 and became an icon at Manchester City, where he won three Premier League titles before falling out of favour under Pep Guardiola. Toure rejoined Olympiacos in September.
Samuel Eto’o: Like Xavi, striker Eto’o is also playing in the Stars League having signed for Qatar SC in August. The Cameroon international left Barca in 2009 and won the treble in his first season at Inter, while a nomadic career in recent years has taken him to Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea, Everton and Sampdoria, as well as Turkish sides Antalyaspor and Konyaspor.
Frank Rijkaard (Coach): Although he led Barca to the Champions League title in 2005-06, Dutch legend Rijkaard quit his coaching career in 2016 after unsuccessful stints with Galatasaray and Saudi Arabia.
Substitutes: Mexico international Giovani dos Santos is in MLS with LA Galaxy, Bojan plays in the Championship for Stoke City and Gianluca Zambrotta retired in 2014 after spells with AC Milan and Swiss side Chiasso.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) October 25, 2018
Iker Casillas: Among the modern era’s great goalkeepers, Casillas is now in his fourth season with Porto having won five LaLiga titles and a trio of Champions League crowns with Madrid.
Fabio Cannavaro: Italy defender Cannavaro won the World Cup in 2006 but was forced to retire in 2011 due to a knee injury. He is in his second spell in charge of Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande.
Sergio Ramos: Madrid captain Ramos is still the defensive lynchpin for Los Blancos, a cornerstone of the team that has won the Champions League in four of the last five seasons. He is also Spain’s captain.
El camino del cambio se recorre todos unidos y de en . Hoy, el primer paso.
— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) October 23, 2018
Pepe: Ramos’ partner for many years, Pepe represented Portugal at the World Cup in Russia. At 35 he is now playing in Turkey for Besiktas.
Gabriel Heinze: Argentina defender Heinze played for Roma and Marseille before returning to his homeland, where he ended his career at Newell’s Old Boys. The 40-year-old coaches Velez Sarsfield and is approaching the one-year anniversary of his appointment.
Wesley Sneijder: A team-mate of Eto’o in Inter’s treble-winning season under former Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, Sneijder is in Qatar with Al Gharafa after a long spell at Galatasaray ended last year.
— Wesley Sneijder (@sneijder101010) July 12, 2018
Mahamadou Diarra: Former Mali captain Diarra returned to Ligue 1 by signing for Monaco on his Madrid departure in 2011, but he made only nine league appearances before joining Fulham, where he was on the fringes for three Premier League seasons.
Robinho: Brazilian forward Robinho never fulfiled his potential with a big-money move to Manchester City failing to work out. He returned to Santos and has also played for Atletico Mineiro in his homeland, with Milan among his other former clubs. At 34, he now plays for Sivasspor in Turkey.
Ruud van Nistelrooy: Prolific Netherlands striker Van Nistelrooy had injury problems towards the end of his Madrid spell and he joined Hamburg in 2010, spending 18 months in the Bundesliga before signing for LaLiga outfit Malaga, where he ended his career in 2012.
Raul: One of the greatest strikers in Madrid’s storied history, Raul ended a career-long stay at the Santiago Bernabeu by joining Schalke in 2010. He scored double figures in both his Bundesliga campaigns before heading to Qatar to join Al Sadd, wrapping up a glorious career with New York Cosmos.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) October 25, 2018
Julio Baptista: Robinho and Ronadinho’s compatriot will always be able to say he scored the winner in a Clasico. Baptista played for Roma and Malaga before heading home to play for Cruzeiro, where he spent three years. Now 37, he is in Romania with Cluj.
Bernd Schuster (Coach): Madrid won the LaLiga title in 2007-08 under Schuster’s leadership, but the German left the club under a cloud in December 2008. Chinese Super League team Dalian Yifang appointed Schuster in March and he has also coached Besiktas and Malaga.
Substitutes: Fernando Gago plays for Boca Juniors, Miguel Torres is with Malaga and a certain Arjen Robben is seeking an eighth Bundesliga title at Bayern Munich.
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