11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
In recent years, Real Madrid have been lauded for a transfer policy which has focused on securing elite young talent both within Spain and further afield. 11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
Brazilian teenage forwards Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes – along with January arrival Reinier – are rated as being the brightest talents in South America, while Takefusa Kubo and Martin Odegaard are also thriving on loan in La Liga despite their youth.
Much has been made about the transition from a team that won four of the last six Champions League titles to a fresh team of young, talented players.
However, despite the resources at their disposal and their success in Europe, they have won just two La Liga titles this decade.
Who were their 10 worst signings during that time?
Not only did Real Madrid pay £25million for the Portuguese left-back, but they included central defender Ezequiel Garay as part of the deal with Benfica.
Garay went on to make more than 300 appearances across spells with the Portuguese giants, Zenit and Valencia, but Coentrao’s career stagnated and then alarmingly regressed.
Coentrao made just 89 appearances for Madrid – where he was largely back-up to Marcelo – before loan spells at Monaco and Sporting CP, while he did not play at all for Madrid in his final three seasons before joining Rio Ave on a free in 2018.
Hamit Altintop-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
The Turkey international joined Madrid from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2011 and while he arrived on a free transfer, he only made 12 appearances for the club before departing for Galatasaray the following campaign.
Lucas Silva-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
Madrid paid Brazilian club Cruzeiro £12m – as reported by Marca – in January 2015 for the deep-lying midfielder, but he was limited to just nine first-team appearances.
He returned to Cruzeiro on a free transfer following a loan stint there. He spent the 2015/16 campaign on loan at Marseille and was diagnosed with a heart condition, which he has since recovered from.
James Rodriguez-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
The star of the 2014 World Cup joined Madrid from Monaco that summer but never replicated his form for Colombia in the Spanish capital.
James enjoyed good moments at Madrid but never came close to justifying his £63m price tag. Carlo Ancelotti’s exit in 2015 hit him hard and he failed to strike up a relationship with either Rafael Benitez or Zinedine Zidane.
He spent two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich between 2017 and 2019, while he has been on the periphery this campaign too.
He did not play a single minute of league football between October and June this season, despite steering clear of injuries and looks certain to depart this summer.
Danilo-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
The right-back made just 41 appearances for Los Blancos after joining for £27m from Porto in the summer of 2015. The Brazilian has had a strange career, moving to Manchester City two years later for a similar fee before switching to Juventus last summer, despite failing to convince at any club. He was an understudy to Dani Carvajal during his stint in Madrid.
Theo Hernandez-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
The younger brother of France international Lucas Hernandez, the left-back became the first player to switch between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid since 2000 when he moved in the summer of 2017.
Los Blancos triggered his £24m release clause after a starring spell on loan at Alaves but he failed to dislodge Marcelo as first-choice left-back. He joined Real Sociedad on loan in 2018/19 before moving to Milan permanently for £17m in 2019.
Alvaro Odriozola-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
Another unsuccessful full-back signing, Madrid paid Real Sociedad an initial £27m in 2018 for the right wing-back but he featured just 27 times before being loaned to Bayern Munich in January.
He played a similarly peripheral role at the German champions and is now linked with a permanent exit from Madrid this summer. Dani Carvajal and utility defender Nacho Fernandez were often both preferred to Odriozola.
Mariano Diaz-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
Madrid sold the Dominican to Lyon in 2017 and after he proved a hit in France – scoring 21 goals in his debut campaign – they re-signed him for £18m the following year.
However, he has started just three of a possible 69 La Liga games for Madrid and has failed to win the trust of Julen Lopetegui, Santiago Solari or Zinedine Zidane in the dugout.
He netted the second goal in the recent El Clasico fixture after emerging as an 87th-minute substitute in a rare outing.
Eden Hazard-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
Possibly the harshest inclusion on the list, but this is a bit of business which swiftly proved costly for Madrid in hindsight.
They parted with £100m to land the star from Chelsea last summer but had they waited 12 months, would have been able to get him as a free agent.
As it has turned out, Hazard has missed most of the season through injury and has failed to find form when he has been fit. Hazard has so far only scored one goal for the club – in October’s 4-2 win over Granada.
Luka Jovic-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
The Serbian striker netted 27 goals for Eintracht Frankfurt last campaign, including 10 in the Europa League on their way to a semi-final place.
That prompted Madrid to part with £54m to land the striker but, just as with Mariano Diaz, he has proven to be a fringe figure and has not come close to dislodging Karim Benzema in the starting 11. He has started just four league games this campaign.
Jonathan Woodgate-11 Worst Real Madrid Signings
Saving the best (or worst) for last…
The defender had enjoyed spells at Leeds and Newcastle before making a £13.4m transfer to the Bernabeu in 2004.
But injuries meant that the Englishman did not make his debut until the following season – which saw him score an own goal and get a red card against Athletic Bilbao.
14 appearances saw him become a regular first-team player, earning calls as “Madrid’s true leader” – but further injuries ended his hopers.
Heading for Middlesbrough in 2007 after a loan spell, he was voted that year by Marca as the worst signing of the 21st century.