Where the stars from first-ever Man City vs Real Madrid clash are 10 years on

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It is just under a decade since the first-ever meeting between Manchester City and Real Madrid back in September 2012.

The two clubs meet for a seventh time on Tuesday night as the Spanish giants travel to the Etihad Stadium for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. Just one player from their starting line-up 10 years ago remains at the Santiago Bernabeu, whilst none of the players City used are still at the club.

The 3-2 thriller a decade ago was actually scoreless after nearly 70 minutes before Edin Dzeko sent the supporters from Manchester wild. Marcelo swiftly equalised, but City went back in front with just five minutes to go through Aleksandar Kolarov.

Sadly for Roberto Mancini's men, they couldn't hold on for a second time and the game ended in heartbreak thanks to two quick late goals from Real legends Karim Benzema and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo.

So, where are the stars now from the two clubs' first-ever meeting in Madrid?

Real Madrid

Iker Casillas

Real's captain that night, Iker Casillas departed the club in 2015 after 19 years at the Bernabeu, during which time he won three Champions League and five league titles.

After five years at Porto, Casillas retired in 2020 at the age of 39 having suffered a heart attack in the summer of 2019 which kept him out of action for the final year of his career.

He reportedly suffered a suspected second heart attack whilst playing paddle tennis last summer after feeling chest pains but thankfully survived the scare.

What players had you totally forgotten about from the game back in 2012? Let us know in the comments section.

Alvaro Arbeloa

Alvaro Arbeloa remained at Real Madrid until 2016 before returning to England for one season, but underwhelmed at West Ham United.

The former Liverpool full-back retired at the end of the 2016/17 season and has since embarked on a career in management.

He has been the manager of Real Madrid's youth side since November 2020 and juggles the role with a position as a club representative at the Bernabeu.


The first player from 10 years ago still playing today, Pepe is currently the captain of Porto after returning to his former club in January 2019.

He had left Real Madrid in 2017 and spent a season and a half in Turkey with Besiktas prior to heading back to his native Portugal. Now 39, Pepe still has one season remaining on his contract with the club and won a league and cup double in 2020.

Raphael Varane

Having only been 19 at the time of the first meeting between the two clubs, Raphael Varane remains in the prime of his career a decade on.

The World Cup winner left Spain last summer, completing a £36million move to the Premier League to join City's fierce rivals Manchester United, where he has made 26 appearances so far this season.


The only player from Real Madrid's starting line-up in 2012 still at the club, Marcelo is now club captain and has made over 500 appearances for Los Blancos.

Now 33, he has been reduced to a bit-part role this season, making just six starts across all competitions, with his contract also set to expire in the summer.

Angel Di Maria

Angel Di Maria remained in Spain for a further season and a half after the win over City, before joining United in the summer of 2014 for a then club-record fee.

After struggling at Old Trafford, the Argentine winger headed to France and signed for Paris Saint-Germain, where he remains to this day.

He has enjoyed significant success domestically with PSG, winning five league titles as well as a host of cups in spite of their poor Champions League record.

Michael Essien

Michael Essien was one month into a season-long loan at Real from Chelsea when City came to town a decade ago and returned to Stamford Bridge at the end of the campaign.

After spells in Italy, Greece, Indonesia and Azerbaijan, the former Ghana international hung up his boots in 2020 at the age of 37. He has worked as an assistant manager for Danish side Nordsjaelland since announcing his retirement.

Sami Khedira

Yet another World Cup winner, Sami Khedira left the Bernabeu in 2015 on a free transfer to join Juventus before later heading back to Germany in February last year.

After a short spell with Hertha Berlin, he announced his retirement at the end of the season and immediately went into punditry, appearing as an analyst during the Euros for German television.

Xabi Alonso

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso left Real Madrid in 2014 to join Bayern Munich for a cool £8.1million and spent the rest of his career at the Allianz Arena before retiring in 2017.

He began his coaching career a year later as he returned to Real as a youth coach before becoming the manager of Real Sociedad B in July 2019, the role he still currently holds.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The scorer of the last-minute winner that secured victory for Jose Mourinho's side in September 2012, Cristiano Ronaldo joined Varane in signing for City's rivals United last summer.

This came after two seasons in Italy with Juventus, having left Real in the summer of 2018 after nine years in Spain. Since returning to Old Trafford he has scored 22 goals in 36 appearances and bagged his 100th Premier League goal against Arsenal on Saturday.

Gonzalo Higuain

The 2012/13 season proved to be Gonzalo Higuain's last at the Bernabeu, as he moved to Napoli at the end of the campaign. He has since spent time at Juventus, AC Milan and Chelsea with varying levels of success.

Higuain arrived in the MLS in 2020, joining David Beckham's Inter Miami and has since bagged 15 goals for the club in 45 appearances, with his contract set to expire in December this year.

Substitutes – Mesut Ozil, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric

Whilst Mesut Ozil now plays in Turkey for Fenerbahce, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric both remain at Real Madrid and starred in their quarter-final win over Chelsea. It was also Benzema who equalised in the 87th minute a decade ago prior to Ronaldo's late winner.

Manchester City

Joe Hart

Having been ushered out of the club following Pep Guardiola's arrival at City in 2016, Joe Hart has since embarked on a nomadic few years.

Loan spells with Torino and West Ham were followed by a move to Burnley in 2018 before he signed for Tottenham Hotspur on a free in 2020. Now aged 35, Hart is on the brink of winning the Scottish league title after joining Celtic last summer.

Gael Clichy

Gael Clichy won two league titles in Manchester before leaving the Premier League to head to Turkey in 2017, signing for Basaksehir.

He spent three months without a club after leaving Basaksehir in 2020 before signing for Swiss side Servette, where he has made 27 appearances this season across both league and European action.

Vincent Kompany

After eight years as captain of Manchester City, Vincent Kompany returned to his first club Anderlecht in 2019 for one final season before hanging up his boots.

Having spent time as player-manager during that season, Kompany has been the club's full-time boss since August 2020, finishing fourth in the Belgian First Division A last season. Anderlecht are currently third this season, one match into the league's championship round of matches.


Maicon spent just one season at City before leaving to join Roma in the summer of 2013, where he would remain until 2016. He went on to have three clubs in four years in his native Brazil before returning to Europe in 2021.

After six months with fourth division Italian outfit Sona Calcio, Maicon spent two weeks in San Marino with four-time champions Tre Penne before retiring in July last year at the age of 39.

Matija Nastasic

Serbian defender Matija Nastasic remained at the Etihad until 2015, when he was sold to Schalke following an initial six-month loan spell in Germany.

Nastasic was unable to save Schalke from relegation from the Bundesliga last season but left the club in the summer, heading back to Italy to re-join former club Fiorentina.

Gareth Barry

Leading all-time Premier League appearance maker, Gareth Barry made 653 appearances in the top flight across 21 years for a total of four clubs.

The former England midfielder left City on a free in 2014, joining Everton after spending the previous season on loan at Goodison Park. He later moved to West Bromwich Albion before retiring in August 2020.

Javi Garcia

A recent arrival at City when they headed to Spain to face Real a decade ago, Javi Garcia had previously progressed through Los Blancos' academy.

He departed City after two seasons in 2014, joining Russian side Zenit Saint-Petersburg before a three-year stint back in Spain with Real Betis. Now 35, Garcia has spent the last two years in Portugal playing for Boavista.

David Silva

David Silva went on to complete 10 years at City in 2020 before leaving the club after four league titles to return to Spain. He headed to Real Sociedad on a free transfer and has since made 56 appearances for the club.

This season could prove to be the 36-year-old's last as a professional, though, with his contract expiring in the summer.

Samir Nasri

Samir Nasri has had a turbulent career since leaving Manchester City in 2017 to join Turkish side Antalyaspor. After six months in Turkey, Nasri was banned for breaking doping rules before later having spells with both West Ham and Anderlecht.

The former France international has enjoyed himself since retiring in September after over a year without a club and was seen rocking a larger physique during a Marseille Legends match back in October.

Yaya Toure

Another winner of multiple league titles with City, Yaya Toure left the Etihad in 2018 after his third title triumph and eight years in Manchester.

He had spells in Greece and China before hanging up his boots in January 2020 at the age of 36. He has since held two coaching roles, working as an assistant manager for both Akhmat Grozny and Olimpik Donetsk in Russia and Ukraine, respectively.

Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez left City at the end of the 2012/13 season to join Italian giants Juventus, where he won back-to-back Serie A titles.

He went on to have two spells at former club Boca Juniors, either side of a one-year stint in China which earned him a mega pay-day worth £34m at £8m per goal scored, before leaving the club in July last year. Whilst he has not yet confirmed his retirement, Tevez remains without a club.

Substitutes – Aleksandar Kolarov, Edin Dzeko, Pablo Zabaleta

City's goalscorers at the Bernabeu, Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko, both gave their side the lead as they twice went in front before succumbing to defeat a decade ago.

The pair are both still playing and are team-mates once again having both joined Inter Milan within the last two seasons. Meanwhile, Pablo Zabaleta retired in 2020 after spending three years at West Ham having left City in 2017.

  • Manchester City FC
  • Real Madrid FC
  • Champions League
  • Cristiano Ronaldo

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