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Real Madrid vs Man City: Five who played for both clubs

Real Madrid face Manchester City in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash on Wednesday night. 

This will be the 12th time the two sides have come face to face in the competition, with the Premier League champions boasting the better record. They have been victorious in four of their meetings, while the Spanish giants have won three.

Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City, there has been more regular crossover of players than before. Nine male footballers have played for both clubs, while two female players have turned out for both teams.

Just two of those came before the Abu Dhabi money poured into Eastlands, while two current players could make an impact in tonight’s tie.

Real Madrid vs Man City: Five who played for both clubs

Mateo Kovacic

Although he was only a semi-regular start at Real Madrid, Mateo Kovacic did win the Champions League in each of the three years he was at the club after moving from Inter Milan for €29 million. Not a bad hit rate.

The Croatian midfielder kept up his habit of winning European trophies when he moved to Chelsea on loan in 2018/19, helping the side claim the Europa League before lifting the Champions League for a fourth time as a permanent signing in 2021.

Last summer Man City announced the surprise arrival of Kovacic on a four-year deal – and it didn’t take him long to pick up European silverware yet again. The 29-year-old scored in the penalty shootout victory over Sevilla in the Uefa Super Cup last August, bringing his total of continental trophies to nine.

Brahim Diaz

It never quite got going for Brahim Diaz at Man City, and it was only when he left the club that his career got off the ground.

The Moroccan international joined the Premier League club from Malaga as a young teenager, but only went on to make 15 appearances in the first team before seeking playing time elsewhere.

The attacking midfielder joined Real Madrid for €17 million in 2019; the deal included a sell-on clause which would see City receive 15 percent of the profit on any future transfer fee, but that would rise to 40 percent if he he was sold to “another Manchester club”.


Diaz had to remain patient at the Bernabeu, featuring just 21 times in his first two seasons before being loaned out to AC Milan, where he really started to shine. He was key member of the Italian side over three years, helping them claim the Scudetto in 2022.

Although not a guaranteed starter upon his return to Madrid, Diaz has been a reliable squad member, even filling in for Jude Bellingham when called upon.


Man City spent £26.5m to bring Danilo from Real Madrid in 2017, but the Brazilian never quite lived up to his billing as an exciting full-back who was previously compared to Dani Alves.

The former Porto player had won the Champions League and La Liga during his two-year stint with Los Blancos. But he could never cement a starting spot at City, although he did pick up two Premier League winners medals.

Just two years after signing he was packed off to Juventus, who sent Joao Cancelo in return. That deal turned out pretty well for City, while Danilo now holds the distinction of winning four successive league titles in three different countries after picking up the Scudetto after his first season in Italy.


Nicolas Anelka

A controversial figure, Nicolas Anelka was a baller in his day. The French striker arrived at Arsenal as a mere teenager but made an immediate impact, scoring nine goals as they won the Double.

It wasn’t long before Anelka got his glamour move to Real Madrid, where he won the Champions League in his home city of Paris in 2000. His sole season at the Bernabeu was otherwise a nightmare. It took him five months to break his duck and it wasn’t until February he scored his first La Liga goal.

Moves to PSG and Liverpool followed, before he landed at Kevin Keegan’s Man City for a then club record fee of £13m. The forward scored 14 goals in his first season, including one in the last ever Manchester Derby at Maine Road.

After three years and 45 goals, Anelka moved to Fenerbahce as he engaged on a journeyman career that took in Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua, and Juventus before his top level career ended in an antisemitism scandal at West Brom.

Steve McManaman

One could have forgiven Man City fans for being excited at the prospect of a two-time Champions League winner arriving to their club for absolutely nothing in 2003, but the Liverpudlian’s spell at the club became notorious for non-footballing reasons.

Supporters became irked by his injury record and the amount of money he was earning for sitting on his backside – one fan wrote online that he was “too well off and too old to fight for his place” – but ‘Macca’ also found himself at the centre of a sordid story that became national news.

McManaman and City teammate Robbie Fowler enjoyed a wild night out in Colchester that ended with them in bed with “mother of three” Sharon Kelly. She sold her story to the News of the World, saying that the two players “think they’re gods, but they’re vultures”.

Every player to play for both Real Madrid and Man City:

  • Emmanuel Adebayor
  • Kosovare Asllani
  • Javi Garcia
  • Robinho
  • Danilo
  • Mateo Kovacic
  • Brahim Diaz
  • Nicolas Anelka
  • Steve McManaman
  • Hayley Raso
  • Caroline Weir

Read – Rodrygo admits Real Madrid ‘didn’t want’ Man City draw

See Also – The lowest Premier League points totals needed for Champions League qualification

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