Real Madrid won the European Cup for the tenth time in their history last season but between then and the ninth occasion they conquered the continent back in 2002 they have signed more than a few players who did not live up to expectations.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale may have cost a lot of money to help secure the Champions League last season, however, that does not always guarantee a player will be a success at the Bernabeu. There have been many good signings but plenty of other flop acquisitions since Real beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in Glasgow for that ninth European title around 12 years ago. Here, we look back at those who failed to make the grade.
When Real, favourites in the Bet365 La Liga betting to win the title this season, paid AC Milan £60million to buy Kaka (pictured) in the summer of 2009 it seemed like money well spent. But his career went into free-fall from the minute the Brazilian put pen to paper on his contract with the Spanish giants.In 2007, Kaka had received the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon D’Or awards. He was still only 27 years old when he signed for Real with surely his best years still ahead of him.But he failed to deliver, with his four years in Madrid being a massive disappointment as injuries and a loss of form took their toll.He re-joined Milan at the start of the 2012/13 season on a free transfer to bring the curtain down on a disastrous spell.
Woodgate was undoubtedly a classy central defender but his form and fitness were arguably already on the wane when Real decided to pay Newcastle United over £13million to acquire his services a decade ago.In hindsight, his best years were at Leeds United. But he left Elland Road in 2003 and injury problems have blighted him ever since.He should have been an England regular but made only sporadic appearances for his country. His Real debut summed up his career at the Bernabeu as he scored an own goal before being sent off.
Drenthe was only 20 when Real signed him from Feyenoord in 2007 for £13million but the talented left winger had made a big impression in Dutch football.However, the Bernabeu faithful failed to be impressed and he suffered abuse from his own fans when he did pull on the famous white shirt.He suffered from anxiety issues after being castigated by the club’s supporters during a 1-0 home win against Deportivo La Coruna and was eventually sent out on loan to Heracles and Everton before joining Russian side Alania Vladikavkaz, where he failed to resurrect what had been a promising career.
It seemed an odd move when Real decided to snap up Gravesen in 2005 and so it proved when he actually stepped on to the pitch.The shaven-headed Dane had been a terrier-like, hard-working midfielder in five impressive years with Everton but his style of play never seemed to fit into Real’s system.Gravesen often got forward for Everton but Real were determined to use him in a defensive midfield role, which frustrated him.
After an unhappy season with Real, he was offloaded to Celtic, and later returned on loan to Everton, where his career petered out. Gravesen went on to reportedly retire to Las Vegas.