Real Madrid: 24 Premier League Stars Who Moved to Los Blancos & How Successful Each Player Was

​When Eden Hazard sealed his long-awaited move from Chelsea to Real Madrid, he added his name to the lengthy list of Premier League stars who have made the jump to Madrid.

Before Hazard, there have been 24 players to leave England for Madrid. Some have been huge successful, but others…not so much.

Here are all 24 players, and how well each managed to do for Los Blancos.


Steve McManaman

Steve McManaman of Real Madrid

Signed From:​ Liverpool (1999)

Cost: Free

Appearances: 158

Hit or Miss?: HIT

As the first ​Premier League player to turn out for ​Real, Steve McManaman was an instant hit. He got off to a hot start, and the highlight of his career was a stunning volley in the 2000 ​Champions League final.

He managed to lift eight trophies at the Santiago Bernabeu, even if he fell down the pecking order towards the end of his stay there.


Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka,Thorsten Fink

Signed From: Arsenal (1999)

Cost: £22.3m

Appearances: 33

Hit or Miss?: MISS

Nicolas Anelka was supposed to be the next superstar at Real after his £22m move from ​Arsenal in 1999, but it took him until January 2000 to net the first of his seven goals for Los Blancos.

After a bust-up with manager Vicente Del Bosque, he was swiftly sold to Paris Saint-Germain the following summer, bringing an end to a thoroughly underwhelming year for all involved.


David Beckham

David Beckham

Signed From: Manchester United (2003)

Cost: £25m

Appearances: 159

Hit or Miss?: HIT

When David Beckham joined Real as part of the ‘Galacticos’ in 2003, the plan was for the club to dominate Europe. However, as a team, Real endured a challenging few years during Beckham’s stay in Madrid, only lifting two trophies across four seasons.

Nevertheless, Beckham was an important player for Los Blancos, both on and off the pitch. He managed 20 goals and 48 assists, before being allowed to join LA Galaxy.


Michael Owen

Michael Owen

Signed From: Liverpool (2004)

Cost: £8m

Appearances: 45

Hit or Miss?: HIT

Often resigned to the super-sub role, Michael Owen endured a slow start to life in Madrid. However, he eventually found form after a few months, proving why Real had been so delighted to sign him for such a small fee.

He ended the 2004/05 ​La Liga season with 13 goals, which was the best minutes-per-goal ratio in the league. He probably would have stayed longer, but ​Newcastle United offered Real the chance to double their investment just one year later, and they could not turn it down.


Jonathan Woodgate

Jonathan Woodgate

Signed From: Newcastle United (2004)

Cost: £13.4m

Appearances: 14

Hit or Miss?:​ MISS

Why Real thought spending £13.4m on an injured Jonathan Woodgate in 2004 was a good idea is anyone’s guess. It took him an entire year to make his debut, and he rewarded Real’s patience by ending the game with an own goal and a red card to his name.

Unsurprisingly, Los Blancos leapt at the chance to ship him off on loan to ​Middlesbrough, who he joined permanently for £7m in 2007. It’s probably for the best if everyone forgets this happened as soon as possible.


Thomas Gravesen

Thomas Gravesen

Signed From: Everton (2005)

Cost: £2.5m

Appearances: 49

Hit or Miss?: MISS

Seemingly not learning from their mistake with Woodgate, Real somehow decided that ​Everton midfielder Thomas Gravesen was the man to solve their midfield problems. Believe it or not, he wasn’t.

He soon found himself benched amid concerns about his tough-tackling style, and one such challenge in training brought about a furious reaction from Robinho. Seemingly the last straw, Real shipped him off to Celtic in the summer of 2006, after just 18 months at the club.


Ruud van Nistelrooy

Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Signed From: Manchester United (2006)

Cost: £10.2m

Appearances: 96

Hit or Miss?: HIT

As one of Europe’s finest forwards at the time, Ruud van Nistelrooy waltzed straight into Real’s starting lineup and did what he did best – score plenty of goals.

He struck an impressive 64 goals in 96 games, steering the club to two La Liga titles during his four-year stay. His final season was marred by injury, before he left for Hamburg in January 2010.


Jose Antonio Reyes

Juanfran,Jose Antonio Reyes

Signed From: Arsenal (2006)

Cost: Loan

Appearances: 38

Hit or Miss?: HIT

Real created a media frenzy with their pursuit of former Arsenal star Jose Antonio Reyes in 2006, and they finally landed their man on a season-long loan. Never viewed as a starter, the Spaniard did a fantastic job of adding some fire-power from the bench.

He managed seven goals and three assists in all competitions, and it was Reyes who netted twice in the final game of the season to bring Los Blancos another La Liga title. 


Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben

Signed From: Chelsea (2007)

Cost: £24m

Appearances: 65

Hit or Miss?: HIT

After several seasons of starring for ​Chelsea, Arjen Robben was the next Premier League star to make the move to Madrid, and the Dutchman quickly made his presence known. His energy on the left wing earned him a regular place in the lineup, and his return of 13 goals and 14 assists in 65 matches does not do him justice.

Robben would have almost certainly remained at Real for longer, had it not been for the arrival of a certain ​Cristiano Ronaldo. Losing Robben was tough, but having Ronaldo certainly softened the blow.


Gabriel Heinze

Gabriel Heinze,Fabio Cannavaro

Signed From: Manchester United (2007)

Cost: £8m

Appearances: 60

Hit or Miss?: MISS

​Manchester United were legally forced to sell Gabriel Heinze in 2007, so they quickly accepted a bid from Real instead of allowing the defender to join rivals ​Liverpool.

He started plenty of games, but rarely added anything to the team. He was a core part of the team for the 2008/09 campaign, but Los Blancos came away without any silverware, and Heinze was subsequently sold to Marseille after just two seasons.


Jerzy Dudek

Jerzy Dudek

Signed From: Liverpool (2007)

Cost: Free

Appearances: 12

Hit or Miss?: HIT

Real needed a backup goalkeeper in 2007, so they turned to Liverpool veteran Jerzy Dudek. He made just 12 appearances over four seasons, but always did his job admirably. As far as reserve goalkeepers go, Dudek was a hit.

He instantly became a hugely popular figure amongst fans and players, who adored his attitude throughout his time in Madrid. He was given a guard of honour in his final game, and will always be fondly remembered.


Lassana Diarra

Barcelona's Cameroonian forward Samuel E

Signed From: Portsmouth (2009)

Cost: £18.9m

Appearances: 116

Hit or Miss?: MISS

The ultimate journeyman, Lassana Diarra enjoyed a bizarre career path, including a three-year spell with Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.

He was decent for Real. Thoroughly decent. However, much of his time in Madrid was shrouded in transfer speculation and doubts over how he would fit into the team, before he was finally sold in 2012.


Julien Faubert


Signed From: West Ham United (2009)

Cost: Loan

Appearances: 2

Hit or Miss?: MISS

In perhaps the worst transfer of all time, it’s hard to say who should take the most blame for Julien Faubert’s loan move to Los Blancos. Was it the scouts? The president? Perhaps an agent? Regardless, Faubert was not turning this move down.

He once fell asleep on the bench, seemingly so certain that he was too out of his depth to be used. And if that doesn’t tell you how much of a flop he was, then we don’t know what will.


Alvaro Arbeloa

Madrid's defender Alvaro Arbeloa plays t

Signed From: Liverpool (2009)

Cost: £5m

Appearances: 238

Hit or Miss?: HIT

Alvaro Arbeloa returned for a second spell with Los Blancos for the modest fee of £5m. Operating at left-back, the Spaniard waltzed straight into Real’s team and instantly improved them.

He switched to right-back once ​Sergio Ramos was trained as a centre-back, but he continued to impress. He offered Real seven years of reliable service, before falling down the pecking order and leaving for ​West Ham.


Xabi Alonso

Xavi Alonso

Signed From: Liverpool (2009)

Cost: £30m

Appearances: 236

Hit or Miss?:​ HIT

The world was left stunned when Xabi Alonso left Liverpool in 2009, but their loss was Real’s gain.

The coolest man in football was already a star, and he continued his impressive form in Madrid, making 236 appearances over five successful years. ​Bayern Munich came calling in 2014, but Alonso had already earned the respect of the fans.


Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Signed From: Manchester United (2009)

Cost: £80m

Appearances: 438

Hit or Miss?: HIT

Real paid for a superstar in 2009, and they got even more than that in Cristiano Ronaldo. He instantly dominated Europe, firing a stunning 450 goals in just 438 games.

They paid a lot of money for him, but got 15 major trophies in return. As one of the greatest to ever play the game, it’s safe to say that Real struck gold with Ronaldo.


Ricardo Carvalho

Ricardo Carvalho

Signed From: Chelsea (2010)

Cost: £6.7m

Appearances: 77

Hit or Miss?: MISS

As one of Jose Mourinho’s favourites, Ricardo Carvalho opted to swap Chelsea for Real in 2010 to link up with the boss once again. He made 48 appearances in his debut campaign and was a huge success, but things went downhill very quickly.

A combination of injuries and age saw Carvalho fall down the pecking order and, in 2012, Mourinho told a press conference (via ​Goal) that Carvalho had no place at the club. He opted to stay for a further year, before leaving for free in 2013.


Emmanuel Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor

Signed From: Manchester City (2011)

Cost: Loan

Appearances: 22

Hit or Miss?: MISS

Brought in as a temporary backup to ​Karim Benzema, Emmanuel Adebayor wasn’t given many chances to really impress. He faced criticism from fans for a handful of poor performances and spent most of his time coming off the bench towards the end of games.

In total, he managed eight goals in 22 appearances, which doesn’t actually sound that bad. Three of those strikes came on the final day of the season in an 8-1 mauling of Alaves, before the Togo international returned to ​Manchester City.


Luka Modric

FBL-ESP-LIGA-LEGANES-REAL MADRID

Signed From: Tottenham Hotspur (2012)

Cost: £30m

Appearances: 303

Hit or Miss?: HIT

Luka Modric endured a challenging start to life in Madrid, earning the unwanted award of ​Marca’s worst signing of the season in his first year. He eventually won fans over by starring against Manchester United in 2013, and the rest is history.

Still going strong to this day, Modric has enjoyed an obscene amount of success, both individually and as part of the team. The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner probably isn’t too concerned about his slow start as part of Los Blancos, and I can’t imagine most fans are either.


Michael Essien

Essien

Signed From: Chelsea (2012)

Cost: Loan

Appearances: 35

Hit or Miss?: HIT

Another of those to leap back in Mourinho’s arms, the out-of-favour Michael Essien arrived at Real on loan in the summer of 2012 to reunite with his ‘daddy’ (​his words, not mine) and proved to be an inspired signing.

The Ghanaian was a regular starter for Mourinho’s side, filling in in midfield and even defence, which came as a huge surprise to many fans, who feared his injury struggles had derailed his career. There was no silverware at the end of the season, but Essien had managed to save his reputation.


Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale,Nacho

Signed From: Tottenham Hotspur (2013)

Cost: £85m

Real Madrid Appearances: 231

Hit or Miss?: HIT

When ​Gareth Bale became the world’s most expensive footballer, he was supposed to hit Ronaldo-levels of greatness. He has had a great career with Los Blancos, but he has never really lived up to expectations.

Injuries have littered his time in Madrid, preventing him from ever reaching his true potential. There have been some immense highs and some frustrating lows, and it feels as though there has always been something missing for the Welshman. Still, three winning goals in Champions League finals is impressive. 


Javier Hernandez

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez

Signed From: Manchester United (2014)

Cost: Loan

Appearances: 33

Hit or Miss?:​ MISS

With Manchester United desperate to offload ​Javier Hernandez, he ended up joining Real on loan, with a view to a permanent move. He started just 12 games all season, and he simply could not force his way into the starting lineup.

He finished the season with nine goals and nine assists, which is incredible when you consider his lack of minutes. However, seemingly not looking for a super sub, Real declined to sign him permanently.


Thibaut Courtois

FBL-EUR-C1-AJAX-REALMADRID

Signed From: Chelsea (2018)

Cost: £35m

Appearances: 35

Hit or Miss?: MISS

After winning the Golden Glove at the 2018 World Cup, ​Thibaut Courtois managed to force his way out of Chelsea, but his time with Los Blancos has been somewhat of a nightmare.

Courtois has been guilty of some poor mistakes, even if some of those should be attributed to his underperforming teammates. The Belgian has failed to impress a large part of the club’s fan base but, after just one season, he still has plenty of time to turn that around (just look at Modric).


Brahim Diaz

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-EIBAR

Signed From: Manchester City (2019)

Cost: £15.5m

Appearances: 11

Hit or Miss?: TBD

Real’s signing of Brahim Diaz in January felt like it went on forever but, after weeks of speculation, they eventually got their man.

He managed one goal and two assists in 11 showings last season, but he was always intended to be one for the future. Fortunately, the early signs are promising.


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