We don’t often see British players move abroad to play outside of their cultural comfort zone, but over the years Real Madrid have signed their fair share of British-born talents. Some of them have lit up the Santiago Bernabéu while others have not. The Fan Park crew investigates these players.
Johnathan Woodgate’s transfer to the Spanish giants in 2004 surprised most football supporters to say the least. After a first season hindered with injury, the central defender failed to make a single appearance. Woodgate’s debut was one to forget as he scored an own goal and got sent off after receiving a second yellow. He went on to make nine competitive appearances in three seasons before returning to England.
Michael Owen burst on the scene for Liverpool in 1996 and was set to become one of the finest footballers to come out of England. After eight years in Merseyside, scoring over 100 senior goals, Owen was bought by Real Madrid in an £8 million move. The English forward was in a star-studded team and rarely made the starting line-up. He scored 13 competitive goals in his first, and last, season at the club.
Steve McManaman’s £14m move from Liverpool to Spain’s capital stole headlines and broke scouser hearts in 1999. He enjoyed four seasons at the club, winning two La Liga titles and two Champions League winners’ medals along the way. McMananam’s work rate and die hard attitude will always be remembered by the Real Madrid faithful.
When he made his move to Real Madrid in 2003, David Beckham was one of the world’s most popular footballers – and perhaps it wasn’t only his deadly right foot that earned him this title. With every month came a new haircut for the English deadball specialist, and Madrid definitely reaped the benefits in shirt sales. However, his ability on the field was as equally as impressive. He enjoyed four seasons at the club, making over 100 appearances and winning one La Liga title.
After world-class performances at Tottenham Hotspur, the Welsh superstar made history with his move to Real Madrid when he became the world’s most expensive player. He currently plays alongside some of the best international footballers at Real Madrid and many have tipped him to one-day win a Ballon d’Or. Bale already has three winners’ medals at Real Madrid.
Madrid have made successful and non-successful British signings over the last 15 years. Who was your favourite British player to play for Los Blancos, and who do you think was a waste of money? Let us know in the comments section below.