Any player scoring four goals in the same match is an extremely rare achievement. When a player scores four goals in a match, it is known as poker in Spain. 

Over the course of La Liga’s history, not many players have managed to achieve this feat, and even less so against the poster boys of the league Real Madrid.

Modern-day football fans, in fact, won’t have many memories of a player netting four goals past Real Madrid in the same game.

While Robert Lewandowski did manage to smash four past Real Madrid for Borussia Dortmund in a 2012-13 UEFA Champions League semi-final, it wasn’t in La Liga.

With that in mind here’s a look at the select few players who scored four goals against Real Madrid in a La Liga match.

Players who scored four goals in a La Liga match against Real Madrid

Marti Ventolra (Barcelona) - 1935

Martin Ventolra is part of a select group of players like Lionel Messi, Johan Cruyff, and Romario who have played in El Clasicos where Barcelona has beaten Real Madrid by a 5-0 scoreline. However, unlike his more well-renowned Catalan legends, Martin Ventolra is the only player to net four times in the same match for Barcelona during a 5-0 thumping of Real Madrid. Ventolra did so in 1935 and has created his name in history as the first person to ever score four times in the same La Liga game against heavyweights Real Madrid.

Vicente Martinez Catala (Espanyol) - 1940

Playing for Barcelona’s crosstown Catalan rivals Espanyol in 1940, Vicente Martinez Catala was the second player to score four goals in a La Liga game against Real Madrid. Vicente Martinez Catala netted four times to complete his poker in the second half but unlike Ventolra’s four strikes which made for an easy win for his team, Espanyol were made to work hard for their win against Los Blancos. The match eventually ended 5-4 in Espanyol’s favour. 

Emilin (Real Oviedo) - 1944

Third on this elite list of players with four goals in a La Liga match against Spanish giants Real Madrid is Emilin. Representing Real Oviedo in 1944, Emilin began the season for his team with four unanswered goals beyond Los Blancos. Playing against the backdrop of the ongoing Second World War, he scored a hat-trick in the first half and completed the poker in the second as Madrid was left without any answers.  

Esteban Echevarria (Real Oviedo) - 1947

Another Real Oviedo player and the last person to score four goals or more in a match against Real Madrid in the 20th century, Esteban Echevarria stands out from the rest of the players on this list. Unlike the rest, Echevarria netted five times in the same match against Real Madrid and not four. His five goals helped Real Oviedo register a 7-1 thumping over Los Blancos in what remains one of the Spanish giants’ heaviest defeats to date.

Taty Castellanos (Girona) - 2023

The first player to score four goals in La Liga against Real Madrid in the 21st century, Girona’s Taty Castellanos was on fire in front of his home fans. He scored all the goals in a 4-2 triumph over Los Blancos. Such was the forward’s efficiency that he found the back of the net with four of his five attempts on goal. By the end of the game, Taty Castellanos had scored as many goals as he had completed passes against Madrid.

Photo credit: Alamy