When it comes to global fan reach, Real Madrid and Manchester United are two of the biggest and most powerful football institutions in the world.

The two clubs are full of rich history and a large following which stretches the furthest reaches of the earth.

Prior to Raphael Varane 's arrival at Old Trafford, there have been only eight privileged players who have donned both United 's famous red strip and Real Madrid's white.

MEN have taken a look at the previous eight players who represented both clubs and analyse their time at Old Trafford and the Bernabeu:

Laurie Cunningham

Cunningham became the first British player to sign for Real Madrid all the way back in 1979 from West Bromwich Albion.

Cunningham's life in Madrid got off to a perfect start with the England international scoring a brace on his debut.

However, he struggled throughout his time with injury niggles and as he fell on the periphery of the squad he was promptly loaned out to Manchester United.

His loan spell at Old Trafford was fairly unsuccessful. Cunningham made five appearances at United scoring one goal but struggled to break into the starting eleven.

He sadly suffered a premature death at the age of 33 in a car crash.

David Beckham

The United academy graduate enjoyed a stellar spell at Old Trafford, but in 2003, the temptation of a special Galacticos side assembled by Floretino Perez was too hard to turn down after a fall-out with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Beckham impressed for both United and Madrid. But in terms of a trophy haul, his time at Old Trafford far exceeded his years in Madrid.

At United, Beckham lifted six Premier League trophies and a famous Champions League title compared to just one Super Cup win and a La Liga title in Madrid.

Despite that, Beckham is held in high regard in Madrid and he is considered a true legend at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo and David Beckham during their time together at Real Madrid

Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Three years after Beckham's departure from United in favour of Madrid's Galacticos, Van Nistelrooy went the same way.

The Dutch goal-machine was a fan favourite at United, and his departure was a bitter stab in the wounds that had marked Beckham's departure for United supporters.

Van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals for United in 219 games. He excelled in Madrid too, scoring 64 in 96 games, although he did struggle with injury problems towards the end of his Real Madrid career. He was sold by the club to Hamburg in 2010.

Renowned for his astute finishing ability, Van Nistelrooy is still regarded as one of the best strikers in the Premier League era.

Gabriel Heinze

Heinze had an impressive start to his career at Old Trafford after arriving from Paris Saint Germain in 2004. He won the club's Player of the Season in his debut campaign.

However, after several injuries he fell down the pecking order and the arrival of Patrice Evra ultimately made the Argentine Ferguson's second choice left-back.

Heinze moved onto Real Madrid in 2007, having come close to a controversial Liverpool transfer, but again injuries followed him around and he struggled to cement a regular place in the starting 11.

At his best Heinze was an excellent player at Old Trafford, but injuries marred the talented left-back's career.

Michael Owen

Much to Liverpool fans' disdain, Michael Owen joined United after becoming a free agent in 2009 following a spell at Newcastle United.

Owen had moved to Madrid in 2004, where injuries prevented his career from following the upward trajectory he had began at Liverpool.

At United, an older and less Owen was always going to play a sporadic role. But he still caught the eye in glimpses during his spell at the club and finally managed to win the Premier League — a feat he was never capable of doing at Liverpool.

His memorable winner in the Manchester derby was undoubtedly his highlight during a three year spell under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Cristiano Ronaldo

United fans were left heartbroken when Ronaldo left to join Real Madrid in 2009.

It truly felt like the end of an era. Fans had watched him grow from a boy to a man and the Portuguese became a world star at Old Trafford.

At Madrid, Ronaldo established himself as one of the greatest players of all time.

Ronaldo has always kept United close to his heart and has spoken fondly of the club on numerous occasions since leaving. He is a club legend for both Madrid and United and his name will be indelible to both sets of supporters.

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Javier Hernandez

Hernandez was United's super-sub who loved to score against Liverpool and Chelsea — much to the club's supporters' delight.

The Mexican's capture was a masterstroke by Ferguson back in 2010. 'El Chicarito' became a fan favourite at Old Trafford. However, after the Scot's retirement, Hernandez fell out of favour and plummeted down the pecking order.

He was singed by Real Madrid on-loan during the summer of 2014. And his spell at the Bernabeu was fairly successful; despite playing a sporadic role for the club, Hernandez stepped up when he was needed.

But it was not enough to convince Real Madrid to sign him permanently.

Instead, Hernandez left for Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2015 and has been at West Ham and Sevilla, among other clubs, since his time in Germany.

Angel Di Maria

While there have been plenty of transactions between Real Madrid and United heading directly in the direction of the Bernabeu, only Cunningham and Di Maria had gone in the opposite way — prior to Varane.

Di Maria arrived with high hopes. He was regarded as the man finally capable of filing Ronaldo's void at Old Trafford after impressing at Real Madrid.

But none of that came to fruition. Di Maria struggled to adapt to English football and live up to his hefty price tag. He left after just one season at Old Trafford.

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