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Catalan Players who Succeeded at Real Madrid

The number of Catalans who have starred for Madrid is very small. The following players, who are of Catalan descent, are the select few to don the whites of Madrid and make a name for themselves.

Last updated: 16.08.2019
Catalan players who succeeded at Real Madrid | Sports Social Blog

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Spain have had (and still do), a tense relationship with Catalonia, that started in the year 1922. It was during that time the Catalan Independence Movement began and Catalonia, the eastern most part of Spain, decided to obtain autonomy within the Spanish state. There have been many political issues regarding this and some of it has, naturally, spilled into the most celebrated footballing rivalry in Spain. 


Real Madrid were based in the heart of Spain associated with Spanish nationalism while FC Barcelona were based out of Catalonia and were associated with Catalan nationalism. The political scenario has greatly influenced the fixtures between these two teams, one of which comes to mind during General Francisco Franco’s reign as Head of State in Spain. We are talking about the 1943 Copa del Generalisimo (Copa del Rey was renamed in honor of the General) where Real Madrid won the 2nd leg by a hardly believable score line of 11-1. Rumours say that there were political undertones to this game but there seems to be no concrete evidence to support the statements.



While things have definitely cooled down since then, there remains a certain cold animosity when Catalan players take to the field for Spain’s national fixtures. The likes of Gerard Pique have been seen celebrating victories whilst donning the Catalan flag. 


Let’s take a look at the Catalan players who succeeded at Real Madrid:




The legendary goalkeeper was born in 1901 in Barcelona. He is probably the only player to have played for Barcelona, Real Madrid and both the Spanish and Catalonia National teams.


He started his career at Espanyol & joined Barcelona in 1919. 


In 1930, he signed for Real Madrid. During his tenure at Real Madrid, he won 2 La Liga and 2 Copa de España. 


The honor of best goalkeeper in La Liga, the Ricardo Zamora Trophy (awarded to the goalkeeper that conceded the least number of goals in a season) is named after him.




Another goalkeeper, Vicente was born in 1931 in Barcelona. He was discarded by the youth teams of Barcelona and started his career at Espanyol and after spending five seasons, he joined Real Madrid. 


At Real Madrid, he became one of Spain's best goalkeepers. As Los Blancos goalkeeper he won four consecutive La Liga titles, the Spanish Cup, the Intercontinental Cup, and three Zamora trophies. He left Madrid after four seasons in 1964 and joined Mallorca.




José Samitier Vilalta was born in 1902 in Barcelona. He played for Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Nice in his senior career. He started his career as a midfielder at Barcelona, where he stayed until 1932. 


In 1932 he found himself in dispute with the Barcelona management & was dropped from the first team. Real Madrid took advantage of the situation and signed Samitier. His career at Real Madrid was short but he helped the Whites win La Liga in 1933 and Copa de España in 1934.




Born in Cerdanyola, Catalonia, Garcia was a graduate of Real Madrid's youth academy. He received his first-team debut in 1994 against Deportivo. Next year, he was loaned out to Real Zaragoza where he got constant game time but was only able to score 8 goals in two seasons. He came back to Madrid in 1997, then was sold to Mallorca, where he scored 12 goals in one season helping Los Bermellones achieve its first-ever Champions League qualification. He also helped the team reach 1999 UEFA Cup Winners Cup final. 



Honorable mentions:




The current coach of Albacete Balompié, Ramis belongs to Tarragona, Catalonia. He joined Real Madrid's reserve team in 1991 and managed few La Liga appearances following season. The center back was able to manage 24 games in two seasons with the senior team and moved to CD Tenerife in 1994. 




The Catalan defensive midfielder was a product of Barcelona's youth academy. After a year at Celta, he joined Real Madrid in 2000. During his four years stay, he was used sparingly but he managed to make it to the 2002 Champions League winning squad. 




Another player from the Tarragona region, Casilla represented Real Madrid's reserve teams in the early stages of his career. In 2007, he was signed by Espanyol on a free transfer. 


In 2015 Casilla returned to Real Madrid on a 5-year deal. He mostly played as an understudy to Keylor Navas. This winter Leeds United signed him for free.


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