The most intense rivalry in football kicks off this weekend when Barcelona faces Real Madrid in El Clasico. There have been over 250 clashes between the two sides, with Los Blancos winning 103 of them, three more than the Blaugrana. The remaining 52 are draws. Given all the excitement around the annual matchups, let's look at which players made the most stunning debuts in El Clasico.
1. Lionel Messi
Messi made his El Clásico debut at 18 on November 23, 2005. Although he didn't score, Messi, as we know him, was on full display. Barcelona dominated the match, winning 3-0, with Messi showing glimpses of the 26 strikes he'd bag in El Clasico yet to come.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo's El Clásico debut came in 2009 after his record-shattering transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid. The Portuguese star had a decent outing, but Barcelona came out on top, winning 1-0. While Ronaldo couldn't mark his debut with a win or a goal, he set the stage for numerous electric performances in future El Clásicos. He finished the great rivalry with 18 goals.
3. Jude Bellingham
Real Madrid's newest $130 million Galactico, Jude Bellingham, stole the show in his first El Clasico match. The midfielder scored a brace, with the second one in stoppage time as the game-winner. With 13 goals in 13 matches for Los Blancos (tying Ronaldo's goal tally in his debut at Madrid), 20-year-old Bellingham has been an absolute sensation.
In 1994, 17-year-old Raúl made his El Clásico debut as a sub. Years later, the Real Madrid legend silenced 100,000 Barca fans at Camp Nou when he scored the equalizer (his second) in the 86th minute and silenced the crowd.
Talk about unforgettable El Clásico debuts. Ronaldinho's performance in April 2004 was just the beginning of his razzle-dazzle displays for the Blaugrana. The Brazilian made a beautiful chip pass to Xavi for the team's second goal and nearly bagged a remarkable goal in stoppage time.
He'd score two mesmerizing solo goals, dribbling past multiple Real Madrid defenders in El Clasico 2005. He even received a standing ovation from the Madrid fans, a rare feat.
Who else? Part of the famous “MSN” alliance front three at Barcelona, Neymar scored in his first debut match against Real Madrid. He also assisted in a 2-1 victory for the Blaugrana. The Brazilian scored a total of 105 goals and assisted 76 times in 186 appearances across all competitions for the Catalan club.