Real Madrid’s 8 £50m+ signings & how they fared: Bale, Ronaldo, Kaka…

·6-min read
Gareth Bale in action for Real Madrid against Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, London, April 2022 Credit: PA Images
Gareth Bale in action for Real Madrid against Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, London, April 2022 Credit: PA Images

Real Madrid haven’t been afraid to spend big on transfers in the past but how have all their signings made for £50million or more fared at the Bernabeu?

The club, and President Florentino Perez, have taken great pride in their ‘Galactico’ signings over the years and players have found it very difficult to resist the allure of Real Madrid. The latest is Aurelien Tchoumeni, who will sign from Monaco for an initial fee of €80million.

Not all of Tchouameni’s fellow superstar signings have been successful, but some have played important roles in the history of the club, and almost all of them are Champions League winners.

Big-name stars want to play for big teams, and the white kit of Real Madrid is the most coveted shirt in the world.

We’ve listed the eight signings that cost Real Madrid £50million or more over the years, sorted from lowest to highest, and there’s a fairly even split between successes and flops.

Luis Figo

The most controversial transfer on this list, Figo arrived for £54million directly from Barcelona in 2000. The move made worldwide headlines in an era before huge-money moves were commonplace.

The Portuguese midfielder was a star at Barcelona and picked up where he left off at Madrid, but this move did not go down well with the fans at all.

Figo had a hugely successful five years at the Bernabeu, but did also have a pig’s head thrown at him during El Clasico…

Luka Jovic

Jovic starred as Eintracht Frankfurt reached the Europa League semi-final in 2019, scoring 27 goals in all competitions and prompting Real Madrid to spend £56million on the forward as competition for Karim Benzema.

However, Benzema has been so good that Jovic found himself starved of minutes and has rarely impressed when given an opportunity.

With just three goals in 51 appearances, it’s safe to say Jovic has been a complete flop, and the 24-year-old looks set to depart in the summer of 2022.

Kaka

One of many big-name arrivals in the 2009 summer splurge, Kaka joined Real Madrid from AC Milan as one of the leading footballers of his generation.

A £60million fee seemed fair at the time, but Kaka never truly settled in Madrid and encountered problems with his fitness and form.

The arrival of Mesut Ozil a year later meant his starting spot was in jeopardy, and he ultimately departed the club in 2013.

With 29 goals and 32 assists in 120 appearances, his record at Madrid wasn’t awful but he never lived up to expectations and rarely played with the same magic that lit up San Siro.

“I have good memories of Real Madrid,” he said. “Professionally it was a difficult period, but my experience there was very good in all senses as I grew a lot, learned many things, and lived with great champions,” Kaka stated in 2017.

“They were four years where we won La Liga, Copa del Rey, the Spanish Supercopa, and I scored goals. Although I expected more, my time at Real Madrid was very good. To be able to say I played four seasons there is a great pleasure.”

James Rodriguez

Real Madrid have made a habit out of signing the latest shiny toy from the World Cup and, in 2014, it was Rodriguez who was brought to the Bernabeu.

A £67million deal to sign him from Monaco was agreed upon after the Colombia star won the Golden Boot in Brazil and Los Blancos fans were eager to see their new superstar in action.

However, while James played a part in winning two Champions Leagues in a row, he was eventually loaned out to Bayern Munich after failing to gain consistency or nail down a starting place ahead of Luka Modric or Toni Kroos.

James returned to Madrid for one season after his two-year loan, before briefly reuniting with Carlo Ancelotti at Everton, of all places.

He was great in flashes but, ultimately, a disappointment.

Zinedine Zidane

Nearly £70million was spent to bring Zidane to the Spanish capital in 2001, and years later that looks like a bargain.

One of the most gifted players of all time, the French midfielder scored that goal against Leverkusen and lit up Madrid with his silky skills before retiring in 2006.

He would then return to the club as manager and win three Champions Leagues in a row.

The term ‘legend’ is banded around too easily these days, but even that doesn’t quite sum up what Zidane has brought to Real Madrid as a player and manager.

 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

READ: Zinedine Zidane and the sacred first touch that separated him from the rest

Cristiano Ronaldo

An £85million fee, 438 games and 450 goals. Four Champions Leagues. One ridiculous overhead kick. Enough said.

Gareth Bale

The Welshman has departed Real Madrid after becoming one of the most decorated British footballers in history – but it was a mixed tenure for the forward.

A world-record £90million was spent to sign Bale from Tottenham in 2013, and he was electric for his first few years.

Injury, fitness and form problems meant that he had a strained relationship with the Real Madrid fans, and he even went back to Spurs on loan in his penultimate season.

However, he was given a good farewell in the end and the Madrid fans eventually recognised his many contributions to the club.

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Liverpool at Olympic Stadium, Kyiv, May 2018. Credit: PA Images
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Liverpool at Olympic Stadium, Kyiv, May 2018. Credit: PA Images

READ: Comparing Gareth Bale and Zinedine Zidane’s CL final stunners for Madrid

Eden Hazard

Real Madrid paid £103million to sign Hazard from Chelsea in 2019, even though he had just one year left on his contract. Three years later, he’s not even come close to repaying that.

While he is respected in the dressing room, he will have to do a lot more just to avoid the label of Real Madrid’s biggest ever flop.

Hazard has confirmed that he wants to stay at the club and prove his doubters wrong, but with Vinicius Jr in such fine form, it remains to be seen whether he will be given many first-team opportunities next season.

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