Real Madrid has long been known for its ‘Galactico’ recruitment policy, which includes the acquisition of established superstars to form the core of their squad. While financial constraints and the ongoing pandemic have prevented them from spending lavishly in the previous two windows, Los Blancos will act in the market soon. They have had to bear the cost of some subpar signings over the years as a result of their penchant for spending big bucks.
Real Madrid has made some of the most extravagant transfers in history.
Real Madrid’s pursuit of young talents The saga of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland has recently picked up steam and has the potential to completely destabilize the transfer market. They know a thing or two about making extravagant signings, having broken the transfer record three times this century.
Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Kaka, and Cristiano Ronaldo were signed during their 2009 buying spree. Real Madrid spent €355.5 million on transfers a decade later, with mixed results.
Real Madrid, which often pays world-record transfer costs, has probably made some duds. Los Merengues have spent absurd amounts of money on one guy.
On that note, here are five instances when Real Madrid grossly overpaid for a player:
Number 1: Danilo (€31.5 million)
Danilo, a Brazilian full-back, starts us off in fifth place. Danilo, a highly-rated defender during his time with Porto, piqued the interest of several elite-level clubs in 2015 due to his potential. According to various reports, both Real Madrid and Barcelona were keen to sign the youngster in order to secure their right-back spot for the foreseeable future.
Los Blancos were successful in acquiring their man after a heated transfer market battle, paying a hefty fee of €31.5 million. Danilo, who was 24 at the time of the transfer, had only played for Porto and Santos, making this a risky gamble.
The gamble, as expected, backfired spectacularly, as Danilo failed to make an impression at the Bernabeu in his two seasons there. The Brazilian failed to impress both fans and the coaching staff, who clearly preferred Dani Carvajal to the erratic right-back. The only positive aspect of this transfer was that Real Madrid was able to recoup a significant amount when he was sold to Manchester City in 2017.
Number 4: Asier Illarramendi (€32 million)
A young Spanish midfielder was making waves in the Basque region shortly after 2010, attracting the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Real Sociedad appeared to have discovered a rare gem in Asier Illarramendi, as the defensive midfielder became one of the year’s hottest properties.
Due to his status and experience with Los Txuri-Urdin, Illarramendi was considered Xabi Alonso’s heir. Real Madrid paid €32 million for a 23-year-old inexperienced player, making him Sociedad’s record departure.
Illarramendi, on the other hand, tanked hard at the Bernabeu, failing to displace Alonso from the base of the midfield. His 90 appearances for the club yielded little to no benefits for either party, and Real Madrid decided to cut their losses after only two seasons. Illarramendi was sold to his former club for half the price Madrid paid for him in 2015.
Number 3: Luka Jovic (€63 million).
Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s sale in 2018, Real Madrid strangely decided not to enter the market in search of a direct replacement for their all-time leading scorer. This strategy, however, backfired spectacularly, and Los Blancos were forced to take out their checkbook the following summer.
Among other high-profile signings, Luka Jovic‘s €63 million fees was one of the most intriguing transfers of the summer. The Serbian international had recently burst onto the scene, scoring 27 goals in Eintracht Frankfurt’s final season in 2018-19. Jovic, who was 22 then, was labeled a long-term replacement for Karim Benzema.
Fast forward two years and Jovic is as far away from Real Madrid’s first team as he was with Frankfurt. The youngster has struggled to adjust to life in the Spanish capital, amassing only two goals and three assists in 38 appearances.
Earlier this year, a half-season loan back to Germany did little to rekindle his career. With Benzema in such good form, Jovic could find himself on the chopping block if things don’t change soon.
Number 2: James Rodriguez (€75 million)
James Rodriguez’s €75 million move to Real Madrid demonstrates the disadvantage of big-money transfers after international tournaments. Rodriguez led Colombia to the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals with six goals.
His efforts earned him the competition’s Golden Boot as well as interest from all of the superclubs. Real Madrid wanted to sign the young Colombian after his outstanding performances. Angel Di Maria was sacrificed for the up-and-comer.
Rodriguez’s dream move to Real Madrid swiftly soured owing to injuries and a rumored quarrel with manager Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman refused to play the Colombian forward, loaning him to Bayern Munich for two seasons. He later joined Everton on a free transfer and is now at Al-Rayyan.
Number 1: Eden Hazard (€115 million)
Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid has been a nightmare. Hazard, Chelsea’s star, has lost his magic touch at the Bernabeu.
The Belgian superstar inherited Cristiano Ronaldo’s No. 7 jersey at Real Madrid after being signed from Chelsea for €115 million. He would replace the Portuguese superstar in Madrid. Hazard is leaving his present team because he did not meet expectations.
Injuries have decimated the forward’s Real Madrid career, with only five goals and nine assists. Hazard’s fall from favor is modern history’s most dramatic. Hazard, once valued €150 million with Chelsea, is now worth €25 million, less than his brother Thorgan.