The fact that many players dream of playing for Real Madrid is a given – who doesn’t want to live in sunny Spain, hunting trophies, glory and earning huge salaries, right? Well, sometimes things don’t go according to plan, as the sea of quality players flowing through Real becomes just a touch too overwhelmed. We’ve compiled a list of some great players who didn’t make it during their time in Madrid.
Cambiasso’s first club in Europe was Real Madrid – the Argentine midfielder helped the ‘Galacticos’ win La Liga, the Spanish Supercup and reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2003. This wasn’t enough to secure him a place in the team, though, so he signed for Inter Milan after completing 41 games for Real.
Rafael van der Vaart
When Harry Redknapp bought Rafael van der Vaart for his Tottenham side in 2010, no one expected him to impress as much as he did. The Spurs were playing their best football in years, spearheaded by the young Gareth Bale, as well as Van der Vaart. The Dutchman would go on to play for HSV and Betis in the years to come.
Raul is truly one of the all-time greats in Real Madrid. Known for his loyalty, fierce habit of giving it all on the pitch and an almost unmatched skill for scoring, it was a bit of a surprise seeing him sign for German side Schalke near the end of his career. This doesn’t mean he’s lost the adoration of all the fans back home.
Football fans across the globe were quite surprised when Real Madrid decided to sell Fernando Morientes to Liverpool in 2005. The Spaniard had previously been a key piece of Monaco’s side that nearly won the Champions League in 2004. Morientes was considered a deadly striker at the time, but obviously couldn’t convince “Los Blancos” to keep him.
Ah, Luis Figo, the man labeled as a traitor and liar upon his transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid. Figo would establish himself as one of the most important Real Madrid players in the “Galacticos” era, but would eventually be sold to Inter Milan, most probably due to his age. Figo played a total of 164 games as a Real Madrid footballer.
Sneijder played 52 games for Real Madrid between 2007 and 2009, scoring the winning goal on his debut against city rivals Atletico Madrid and establishing himself as the side’s number 10 – the primary playmaker. Then the time came for Kaka to sign Real. Sneijder was barely talked into leaving, as he believed Serie A could not provide him with the level of competitiveness he had in Madrid, but he eventually signed with Inter Milan.
Ozil is another victim of Real’s over-encumbering transfer policy – the creative midfielder had to leave in 2013, when he signed for Arsenal: he was and still remains the most expensive German player in history. Ozil’s passing prowess and skill obviously weren’t enough to convince Florentino Perez of his worth to the team. It remains to be seen whether Mesut can bring the Gunners the Premier League title, and right now it’s not looking very likely.
Clarence Seedorf was a midfielder capable of many things: the Dutchman was physically unstoppable, able to rifle in long shots and free kicks, and an excellent passer. Unfortunately for him, Guus Hiddink preferred other players, so Seedorf had to leave for Inter in 2000. He would later go on to win a plethora of trophies with Milan, so no worries, eh?
Gonzalo Higuain is one of the most prolific scorers in Europe wherever he plays – right now, it is Napoli fans he makes rejoice and chant with his ability. Not so long ago, Higuain signed a contract with Real Madrid that should have lasted until 2016. But, according to the striker, Madrid was never a place he felt loved. The constant flow of criticism thrown Higuain’s way was simply too much, and the Argentine was sold in 2013.
Arjen Robben enjoyed his time at Real Madrid, becoming an important first-team player and winning La Liga in 2008/09, dominating Barcelona in the process. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, the arrival of Florentino Perez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka meant he was no longer needed at the club, so he was sold to Bayern. Arjen later claimed he was “forced out” and that he never wanted to leave Spain. We bet he doesn’t mind joining Bayern now.
Have you ever heard of a player being so good at what he does, his name becomes synonymous for an on-pitch role? Well, that’s Claude Makelele in a nutshell for you. The holding midfielder became an indispensable player for Mourinho’s Chelsea side after being labelled a failure at Real Madrid. Makelele’s former teammate and Real Madrid captain Fernando Hierro has since lauded him by saying:
I think Claude has this kind of gift – he’s been the best player in the team for years but people just don’t notice him, don’t notice what he does. But you ask anyone at Real Madrid during the years we were talking about and they will tell you he was the best player at Real. We all knew, the players all knew he was the most important. The loss of Makélelé was the beginning of the end for Los Galacticos…
Which Real Madrid transfer do you remember best? Tell us in the Top Eleven comment section!