With 16 European Cup crowns between them, Real Madrid and Internazionale of Milan are European football royalty.
Sure, Los Blancos lays claim to 13 of those triumphs, but nobody will ever forget the Inter class of 2010 that swept all before them to claim a European treble under José Mourinho. Any side that has collected European club football's most coveted prize more than once is a major player.
As you can expect, the best players to have represented both of these enormous footballing institutions are pretty special themselves. Here is the cream of the crop.
The great man. Two-time Ballon d'Or winner. Two-time World champion. Plenty of supporters around the globe often stop to ponder how much more he might have achieved if not for the persistent knee injuries. To this day, one of the most complete strikers in the history of the game, and he was the best player in the world during stints at both Inter and later Real Madrid.
🇨🇲 Samuel Eto'o
Arguably the greatest footballer to ever hail from the African continent, and definitely the only player in history to win back-to-back European trebles with different clubs. The baby-faced assassin was frighteningly clinical in front of goal, but his tactical intelligence and adaptability also made him one of Mourinho's most trusted lieutenants in battle. It's often forgotten that Eto'o even played for Real Madrid; he only turned out for them seven times in four years.
🇵🇹 Luís Figo
Figo's then-world record €60m move from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2001 made him one of the most hated men in Catalunya, but that only spurred him on to help write one of the most successful chapters in Real Madrid's history. The flamboyant Portuguese sorcerer enjoyed a successful four-year stint in Italy after his glory years at the Bernabéu and is anothrr of the former Ballon d'Or winners in this list, having been named the best player on earth in the year 2000.
🇮🇹 Fabio Cannavaro
Speaking of the Ballon d'Or, Italian legend Cannavaro is the last defender to have won it and that was all the way back in 2006. The Azzurri's inspirational leader at their triumphant run to World Cup glory in 2006, Cannavaro was a small player with a huge heart.
🇳🇱 Clarence Seedorf
Dutch dynamo Clarence Seedorf is the only player in Champions League history to win the competition with three different clubs. He did so with Ajax as a teenager in 1995 and repeated the trick with Real Madrid in 1998 and then with Inter's fierce rivals AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. Seedorf could do it all on a football pitch, such was the complete nature of his skill set in the heart of the battle. Will there ever be a player who claims European Cup glory with three different teams again? It's highly unlikely.
🇧🇷 Roberto Carlos
Find us a man with a rocket of a left foot that rivals Roberto Carlos and we'll be surprised. Often lauded as one of the best attack-minded full-backs of all time, the Brazilian also knew how to defend and wasn't given enough credit for that. Truly helped to revolutionize a position and make the world see it in a different light.
🇳🇱 Wesley Sneijder
One of the most technically gifted players of the modern era, Dutch maestro Sneijder was the creative orchestrator for Inter in 2010 but he coupled that finesse with a handy mean streak, which made him a nightmare opponent. Desperately unlucky not to win the 2010 Ballon d'Or, and equally unfortunate not to have won the World Cup in South Africa.
🇦🇷 Esteban Cambiasso
Many Los Blancos fans point to the sales of Claude Makélélé in 2003 and then Cambiasso a year later as the major driver behind their downturn. Two of the finest defensive midfielders of their generation, Real Madrid struggled to fill the void and looked lost in their absence. Their loss was Inter's gain, as Cambiasso became the heartbeat of the Nerazzurri for a decade with his cultured left foot and astonishing composure.
🇦🇷 Walter Samuel
Cambiasso's fellow Argentine, hard-man centre-back Walter Samuel, was another key pillar of that fabled 2010 treble-winning side. His best years certainly didn't come at the Bernabéu but at his best, Samuel was one of the toughest and most uncompromising defenders on the planet. His teammate at Inter and with Argentina, the legendary figure of Javier Zanetti, said that Samuel was the hardest player he had ever shared a pitch with, and Zanetti saw a handful of those in his time.
🇨🇱 Iván Zamorano
One of Chile's favourite sons, Zamorano was part of the Inter side that lifted what was then the UEFA Cup in 1998, and he was paired in attack with none other than R9 in that final. He also collected silverware in the early 90s for Real Madrid, scoring 101 goals in 173 appearances for the Spanish giants. With 34 goals in 69 Chile caps, Zamorano was one of the most accomplished yet underrated players of his time.
Now that we've walked down memory lane, it's back to the future where these two super clubs meet again tonight, with modern superstars looking to make their mark.