Hat-tricks, hell-raising and high treason: 10 huge Clásico debuts

1. Alfredo Di Stefano (1953)

He may have been usurped by Lionel Messi as the most prolific marksman the fixture has ever seen, but Di Stefano managed a feat not yet achieved by the Barcelona No.10 – scoring four in one Clásico.

The late Real Madrid legend symbolised the intense rivalry between the two teams. He caught the attention of both Spanish giants playing for Millonarios in Argentina and both made overtures to sign him. After appearing in a couple of charity matches for Barcelona, he eventually joined los Blancos and the rest is history. 

He gave Barcelona a devastating demonstration of what they had missed out on by smashing four past them in his first derby, en route to Real winning the title ahead of their rivals by four points. Legendary.

RECOMMENDED Alfredo Di Stefano: Icon

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2. Johan Cruyff (1974)

Before masterminding Barcelona's 'Dream Team' in the 1990s, Dutch legend Cruyff graced El Clásico as a player, after refusing to sign for Real Madrid due to their association with Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. 

Because of this, fans at the Camp Nou embraced the Dutchman and he quickly became a legend in Catalonia, helping them hammer Madrid 5-0 en route to their first La Liga title since 1960. 

His influence in that Clásico was monumental. By setting up three and scoring another, Cruyff quickly ensured a memorable place in history with a virtuoso performance that left Real trembling.

3. Gary Lineker (1987) 

Lineker signed for Barcelona after his Golden Boot-winning exploits at the 1986 World Cup and did not disappoint, netting 21 goals in 41 games during his first season in Spain. 

That included a remarkable Clásico hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Real Madrid with three typically clinical finishes. His first was predatory instinct, after stretching to meet a cross from the right to send the Camp Nou into a frenzy. 

Then came the second after some wing wizardry from Roberto Fernandez Bonillo, who evaded two challenges and saw his shot palmed away, only for Lineker to follow it in from close range once again. 

He completed his treble by capitalising on a defensive error before dinking over goalkeeper Francisco Buyo. Welcome to Spain, indeed. 

4. Ronald Koeman (1989)

Koeman remains the greatest goalscoring defender of all time, and his Clásico début was a sign of things to come. The Dutchman joined Barcelona from PSV in 1989 and set the tone for a fruitful spell with the Catalan giants by netting twice from the spot in his first appearance against Madrid. 

After Hugo Sanchez slotted the visitors into an early lead from 12 yards – a penalty given away by Koeman – Barca hit back through Julio Salinas, before the Dutchman displayed his own nerves of steel.

The first spot-kick was placed inch-perfect into the far corner; the second slotted coolly down the middle to set his team on their way to a 3-1 victory. He netted 14 goals that season but it wasn't enough to launch Barca any higher than third, Real finishing 11 points ahead as champions. 

5. Romario (1993) 

Romario's first goal of this legendary 5-0 drubbing was a thing of pure footballing artistry, and emblematic of Cruyff’s outstanding side.

Receiving the ball with his back to Real Madrid’s Rafael Akorta, the Brazilian dragged the ball round him in one mesmeric motion before slotting through Buyo’s legs into the bottom corner. 

The second was a tap-in, courtesy of some fine control and a layoff by Michael Laudrup to make it 3-0.

The Catalans were expecting goals from their summer signing – he'd scored a devastating 127 in 142 games for PSV, after all – and he'd carry that form into his first season at the Camp Nou. His hat-trick came with nine minutes remaining; a simple rifle into an empty net to wrap up one of the greatest Clásico débuts of all time. 

And there was still time for more from the free-scoring striker as he teed up Ivan for goal number 5 with four minutes to play. His maverick displays earned him the FIFA World Player of the year award in 1994, before a rift with boss Cruyff cut short his Barca stay in early 1995. 

6. Michael Laudrup (1995)

Laudrup had been instrumental in the formation of Cruyff's Dream Team and enjoyed five hugely successful years at the club. Needless to say, his switch to Real Madrid in 1994 came as a huge shock: he'd fallen out with Cruyff for omitting him from the line-up before the embarrassing European Cup final 4-0 defeat to AC Milan. 

His Clásico introduction for Real was shattering for his former employers; Laudrup was central in a 5-0 demolition – the scoreline he had helped Barca achieve a season earlier. He scored and played creative roles in Ivan Zamorano’s hat-trick, helping Madrid clinch their first La Liga title since 1990. 

7. Davor Suker (1996)

Suker arrived at the Bernabeu from Sevilla in 1996 and had an instant impact, scoring 29 goals in 43 games and spearheading Real Madrid’s title-winning charge under Fabio Capello.

In his first Clásico, he led the line brilliantly as Madrid triumphed 2-0 over their despairing foes. In the end, this result proved decisive; Real finished the season only two points better off than Barca in the La Liga standings. 

Suker opened the scoring after meeting a wicked Roberto Carlos free-kick at the far post, and enjoyed a role in the move for Predrag Mijatovic’s second to finish Barca off.

The match is also notable for being Ronaldo’s first Clásico for Barcelona, but the Brazilian endured a frustrating evening compared to the man who would later beat him to the Golden Boot at France 98.  

8. Luis Figo (2000) 

Comfortably eclipsing the fallout from Laudrup and Luis Enrique’s transfers, Figo remains the definitive dividing figure between these two clubs. The vitriol from Barcelona supporters after their Portuguese ace opted to join Florentino Perez’s Galactico project for £60 million is now infamous. 

Upon his return to the Camp Nou, Figo was greeted by banners displaying the words ‘Traitor’ and ‘Scum’. It was a harrowing experience for the midfielder and one that clearly got to him and his team-mates as Barcelona ran out 2-0 winners. Nevertheless, Real went on to win the title at a canter that season, finishing 17 points ahead of their fourth-placed rivals. 

On Figo’s second return to Catalonia the abuse reached dangerous heights. He was relentlessly bombarded with missiles as he attempted to take corners for Real, with a pig’s head spotted near the corner flag. It remains one of the defining images of the Real-Barca rivalry. 

9. Zinedine Zidane (2001)

In 2001, the sense of excitement and glamour surrounding Real Madrid was astounding as Perez’s Galactico project began to take shape. Zidane was one of the high-profile acquisitions who helped the Clásico pendulum of power swing in Madrid’s favour. 

Unsurprisingly, he made his first appearance in such a game look easy. The Frenchman was Real's creative hub in midfield, unlocking the Barcelona defence for Fernando Morientes’s opener and sticking to the ball every time his team poured forward.

The second goal was created without Zizou, but the free-flowing football involved represented Madrid’s burgeoning confidence; something the Frenchman helped create with his arrival.

Madrid went on to win the Champions League in his first season at the club, thanks in no small part to his breathtaking volley in the final against Bayer Leverkusen.

10. Neymar (2013)

When Neymar signed for Barcelona in 2013, he was widely expected to become a Barcelona legend. One of the best avenues to achieve such a status would be perform in the biggest games... like the ones against Real.  

The young Brazilian duly obliged on his first outing, scoring the opener in Barca's 2-1 win on home soil and terrorising the Madrid defence with his pace, dribbling and trickery. 

His opener helped pave the way for another Barca triumph, on a night where Gareth Bale struggled to make an impact for los Blancos.

The Welshman would make his mark in spectacular style later in the campaign. Here, though, Alexis Sanchez added a second before Jese grabbed a late consolation for Carlo Ancelotti's men. 


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