Where are they now? The XIs from the last El Clasico without Messi & Ronaldo
Barcelona and Real Madrid played out the first El Clasico in over a decade to feature neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo this weekend.
With Messi injured and Ronaldo now at Juventus, Barca thrashed their fierce rivals 5-1 at the Camp Nou to pile the pressure on Julen Lopetegui.
The game was in stark contrast to the previous El Clasico without Ronaldo or Messi, in which Julio Baptista bagged the only goal in a 1-0 victory for Real at the home of the Catalan giants.
Victor Valdes: The goalkeeper spent another seven years at Barcelona before an unhappy spell at Manchester United. He ended his career with a season at Middlesbrough and is now youth coach at Madrid-based side Moratalaz.
Carles Puyol: As a player, Puyol was a talisman for both Barcelona and Spain, but he has upset his former club since retiring after an agency he set up with Ivan de la Pena oversaw promising La Masia product Eric Garcia join Manchester City in 2017.
Gabriel Milito: A serious knee injury suffered at the end of 2007-08 wrecked Milito’s career and the defender was forced to retire in 2011 at the age of 31. He has since managed Estudiantes and Independiente in Argentina and is currently in charge of the brilliantly named Chilean outfit O’Higgins.
Rafael Marquez: The defender became only the third man in history to appear in five World Cups this summer before hanging up his boots to become sporting director at Mexican side Atlas. There is also the small matter of being blacklisted by the USA amid allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering, which he denies.
Eric Abidal: A heroic story, Abidal battled liver cancer which required a transplant but managed to make a succesful return as a player. In June 2018, he was named Barca’s director of football.
Xavi: Another legend of Barcelona and Spanish football, Xavi continues to play for Al Sadd SC and has even won the lottery in Qatar.
Yaya Toure: After eight years but fewer birthday cakes at Manchester City, Toure left the Etihad this summer to rejoin Olympiakos.
Deco: The former Portugal international left Barcelona at the end of 2007-08 to join Chelsea before retiring in 2013 after a three-year spell in Brazil, the country of his birth, with Fluminense. He is now an ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and has also set up his own charity.
Ronaldinho: The main man in Barcelona, and the world, for a number of years prior to the emergence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the game’s superstars. Barca recently moved to distance themselves from club ambassador Ronaldinho after his support for Brazil’s controversial presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.
Andres Iniesta: Xavi’s partner in crime left the Camp Nou in the summer to move to Japanese side Vissel Kobe. In fairness, there really wasn’t anything left for him to achieve in Spain.
Samuel Eto’o: He’s still playing. Of course he is. After leaving Barca in 2009, Eto’o has appeared for eight different clubs and now plies his trade for Qatar SC.
Iker Casillas: The goalkeeper remained at Real Madrid until 2015, when he joined Porto, where he continues to play.
Sergio Ramos: A very successful sh*thouse, although he will probably want to forget the most recent Clasico.
Pepe: Another very successful sh*house and part of a very ‘Football Manager 09’ Besiktas team which also features Ricardo Quaresma, Ryan Babel and Vagner Love.
Fabio Cannavaro: After retiring as a player following a year in the UAE with Al-Ahli, Cannavaro has managed in China and Saudi Arabia, returning for a second spell with Guangzhou Evergrande in 2017. The World Cup winner is also in the midst of an appeal against a 10-month prison sentence for breaching court orders that banned him entering his home amid a fraud and tax evasion investigation.
Gabriel Heinze: The former Manchester United defender – who was once knocked out by then team-mate Roy Keane – ended his career back at Newell’s Old Boys and has remained in Argentina as a manager, where he is currently in charge of Velez Sarsfield.
Mahamadou Diarra: We have absolutely no recollection of Diarra retiring after a spell at Fulham in 2014, nor his subsequent (failed) attempt at a comeback with Brentford, but we are very much into it.
Wesley Sneijder: Perennially-linked with Manchester United for what seemed like a lifetime, Sneijder spent five years at Galatasaray before joining Al Gharafa in Qatar via an ill-fated spell at Nice.
Julio Baptista: The matchwinner on the day, Baptista is best remembered in England for a four-goal haul against Liverpool while on loan at Arsenal. Remarkably, the 37-year-old is still playing, having joined Romanian outfit Cluj in the summer, while he was also recently named a La Liga ambassador.
Raul: The top goalscorer in Real Madrid’s history until a certain Mr Ronaldo came along and blitzed his record, Raul returned to his old stomping ground in the summer as a youth coach.
Robinho: Currently playing for Sivasspor in Turkey while he appeals against a nine-year prison sentence for participating in a gang rape in 2013.
Ruud van Nistelrooy: The striker made his name initially at PSV, and he returned to the Dutch club in 2016 as under-19 head coach after a spell as Holland assistant manager under Guus Hiddink.