When people mention Real Madrid signings, a glorious history in the transfer market comes to mind. Los Blancos’ recruitment history reads like a Ballon D’Or honour roll, with the Spanish side breaking the world record numerous times.
Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo, Cannavaro, Kaka, the list goes on and on. However, not every signing is a hit. Here are five of Real Madrid’s strangest transfer moves.
It wouldn’t be a Real Madrid bad transfer list without Thomas Gravesen, would it?
The now-retired Danish international joined Madrid in January 2005 for just £3 million. Gravesen’s arrival at the Bernabeu certainly raised eyebrows.
So why did they sign him?
Madrid still had a gap in their team of Galacticos from the mid-2000s. They had struggled to replace Claude Makelele after his transfer to Chelsea in the 2003 summer transfer window. They saw Gravesen as the guy to provide defensive cover for the headline-grabbing stars in the attack.
Former Man United striker Chicharito once had a curious loan spell at Real Madrid. Having fallen out of favour under Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, the Mexico international somehow made it to the then-Champions League holders.
Hernandez was brought in on loan as backup cover for Karim Benzema. His move did include an option to buy, which Madrid did not pick up. Chicharito scored nine goals in 33 appearances for Los Blancos, who reportedly admitted that it was a mistake to sign the Mexican (Source: Eurosport).
It was harsh on Chicharito, who showed so much talent at Man United.
Fresh off the physio table, former Newcastle centre-back Jonathan Woodgate shocked everyone by moving to the Spanish capital in 2004. Despite suggestions that Woodgate may fail his medical, he moved in a deal worth around £14 million.
The English defender would be sidelined through injury for his first year in Spain, finally making his debut against Athletic Bilbao. His first appearance, however, was nothing short of a disaster. Woodgate started the game by scoring an own goal, then made his day even worse by getting sent off.
He never really recovered from the injuries and the debut. Woodgate made only 14 appearances for Madrid before returning to England with Middlesbrough.
After a starring role in the 2007 U21 European Championships, Real Madrid snapped up Drenthe for £12.5 million. Drenthe had a lot of potential, but the move was still odd to some, given his lack of experience. Many wondered if the pressure of playing for such a massive club would be too much.
Unfortunately, that appeared to be the case. Drenthe made just 65 appearances in five years at Madrid. It was a spell that included loans out to Everton and Hercules. Madrid ultimately released him in 2012.
Finally, we round the list out with polarizing forward Emmanuel Adebayor. The former Arsenal and Spurs man joined Real Madrid on loan from Manchester City. He had fallen down the pecking order at the Etihad, so wanted a move away.
Then Real boss Jose Mourinho was having a striker crisis at the Bernabeu, so surprisingly enlisted the services of the Togo international.
Adebayor’s sole season in Spain was relatively quiet. Acting as a backup for Karim Benzema, he scored eight times in 22 appearances for Real Madrid.
Following this mixed loan spell, Adebayor moved to Spurs in a transfer that only served to gain more hatred from Arsenal fans.