Barcelona duo outed by Real Madrid icon for breaking same golden rule as Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi was once guilty of breaking this rule (Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The fierce rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona has given rise to an unwritten code of conduct during the fiery encounters of El Clasico.

This match transcends the realm of football, and emphatically symbolises nearly a century of political and cultural tensions; with Barcelona embodying Catalan pride and Real Madrid seen as the emblem of Spain’s central authority. Decades of historical significance have been woven into this fixture, charging it with raw emotion every season.

On the pitch, both teams have consistently dominated La Liga, collectively clinching 64 out of 94 titles. Such deep-rooted rivalry and sporting supremacy have led to an unspoken rule.

Players from either side are forbidden from exchanging jerseys with their adversaries on the field. Yet, this convention has been discreetly defied by a few Barca stars in recent times.

Michel Salgado, a stalwart for Real Madrid, admitted to TNT Sports: “Yeah I swapped some of them, so [Carles] Puyol, Xavi.

“We swapped but never on the pitch, in the tunnel. I never wore it, no way!”

Messi once asked for Zidane’s shirt (Image: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite the intense rivalry, friendships formed within the Spanish national squad allowed Salgado to connect with Xavi and Puyol beyond the El Clasico battleground. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi once disclosed that as a young starlet at Barcelona, he had requested the jersey of a Real Madrid great, reports the Mirror.

“I don’t ask for shirts, I usually swap them, but I asked once. I asked Zidane”, he revealed to TyC Sports.

“If there is an Argentine I swap it with him, but, unless someone asks me, I’m not asking anyone.”

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Messi and Zidane only went head-to-head once during their illustrious careers, a match that ended in a 3-0 victory for Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2005. This was Zidane’s final season before hanging up his boots and a then-18 year old Messi wanted a keepsake from their single encounter on the field.

Intriguingly, despite ruling the football world for over a decade and establishing a fierce rivalry, it seems that Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have never exchanged shirts.

Given their high demand, and both players’ preference not to approach many opposition members, this act of sportsmanship never occurred during an El Clasico or any other match.