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Five of Real Madrid’s worst signings

They can’t all be Ronaldo now can they?

Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Real Madrid like to splash the cash in the transfer market. They’ve broken the world record for transfer fee’s more than any other club on the planet. Case in point: in the span of 13 years they broke their own record 4 times.


These have been a staple of the Real Madrid way for years, under this policy Los Blancos have managed to win 3 Champions League trophies in 5 years. But lets face it for every great signing there’s been some real stinkers.

Here is five of the worst signings that Real Madrid have made over the years.

#5 Nuri Sahin

Real Madrid v Ponferradina - Copa del Rey Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

In May of 2011 Real Madrid announced that they had signed Borussia Dortmund starlet Nuri Sahin to a deal that would keep him in Madrid for six years. A star at Borussia Dortmund, Sahin helped them win the Bundesliga by dominating the midfield.

The expectation was that Sahin would continue dominating the midfield upon his arrival in Madrid. He became injury prone once in the capital, disrupting his first season with the royal whites. In August of 2012 Real Madrid would send him out on loan to Premier League side Liverpool.

In his five month loan spell Sahin would collect 3 goals and 3 assists in 12 games. Far better than anything that he’d done at the Bernabéu. It was about halfway through his loan spell that he was recalled by the club and then sent back out on loan to BVB.

He would eventually go on to make the move back to Dortmund permanent. Saying that he didn’t care for his time at Real Madrid or Liverpool. Currently this season he has only made 4 appearances for a total of 186 minutes through all competitions.

#4 Kaka

Real Madrid v Tenerife - La Liga Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

On June 8th of 2009 newly elected President Florentino Perez signed without a doubt one of the most talented midfielders in the game at the time from Serie A side AC Milan.

The price tag? A record breaking €68.5 million.

That record wouldn’t stand for long as that same summer Los Blancos would pull the trigger, bringing in the Dark Invader himself - Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. Kaka came with a resume that included winning the World Cup with his home nation of Brazil, a Champions League title and a little award known as the Ballon d’Or.

While Ronaldo was finding massive success, Kaka was not. He scored 29 goals and 35 assists in 120 matches (in all competitions) he played for the club. He failed to deliver on the goods that he had at AC Milan. After 4 injury plagued seasons he returned to AC Milan on a free. Meaning that there was no return on their investment. Only a club like Real Madrid could take it in the pants like that, and not bat an eye.

Kaka just never lived up to expectations/hype upon which he was brought in. He is currently playing for Orlando City SC in Major League Soccer. He is, if you can imagine it - injured with no timetable for a return.

#3 Nicolas Anelka

Bayern v Real X

In the summer of 1999 Anelka was brought over to Real Madrid from Arsenal for £22.3 million. The (at the time) 20 year old forward broke into the PSG first team at the age of 17, and picked up his first cap for France two years later at the ripe old age of 19.

He would fail to score in the first five months with the club. His first goal for Los Blancos would come in the Club World Cup in January of 2000. It would be a month later that he would find the back of the net in La Liga.

He would find himself suspended for arguing with the manager and was never really seen from again. In July of 2000 he would be sold to his boyhood club PSG. Real Madrid would pretty much break even on the deal as the transfer fee was set £22 million.

#2 Royston Drenthe

Barcelona v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

He was one of the best young talents from Feyenoord in the Eredivisie. Drenthe would join Real Madrid in 2007 at the same time as fellow countryman Wesley Sneijder. Drenthe would feature a lot during his first campaign with the club. He played both left back and left wing depending on the opponent.

But he would find his way into the manager’s dog house by arguing with him and that left him riding the pine. This also coincided with the development of Marcelo at the time.

It was more of the same in his second season at the Bernabéu albeit it as a sub. But then the fans basically booed him off the pitch, and wasn’t really seen again in the 08/09 term.

One of the things he suffered while in the Spanish capital was a case of anxiety that started with getting booed by the Bernabéu faithful. So much so that he asked coach Juande Ramos, to keep from selecting him for the three games after the fixture he was booed in.

Things haven’t didn’t go any better for him after Real Madrid.

He spent time out on loan, sold, and even moved to Russia.

Before hanging up his boots he’s played in the English lower leagues, he would play for Kayseri Erciyesspor in Turkey and even the United Arab Emirates before announcing that he was retiring.

He’s now trying his hand at being a rapper.

#1 Jonathan Woodgate

Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao
This is just after he scored an own goal.
Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

To this day I find this transfer a definite head scratcher.

I wasn’t the only one as this transfer also boggled the minds of football pundits and fans a like. Known as a player that was plagued with injuries, to this - when Real Madrid signed him for £13.4 million from Newcastle he was injured.

When Woodgate finally did make his debut with the first team it would be a match to forget. He scored an own goal and got sent off in the same night (double yellow). He would never get over that howler of a match.

Woodgate only played a grand total of 10 matches in his two years with the club. Eventually he was sold for half of what Real Madrid had originally payed for him to begin with. For a player who was once touted as England’s next defensive mainstay, he was rated in a poll by Marca as the worst signing of the Century.

He now plies his trade as an assistant coach with Bournemouth FC in the Premier League.

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