Spanish giants Real Madrid are a club almost every young footballer dreams of playing for, but some stars only reached their peak after moving on from Los Blancos. Samuel Eto'o is certainly one of them, but there are many more high-profile names on the list.
Click through the gallery above to see nine players who shone after quitting Los Blancos, according to Planet Football.
Before making a name for himself as one of the best strikers in world football, former Cameroon international Eto'o was on Real's books. Playing just seven times for the first team, the striker left permanently for Mallorca in 2000, where he spent four years before joining FC Barcelona in 2004.
Eto'o went on to become one of the Catalan club's greatest forwards ever, winning eight trophies and scoring 130 goals in 199 appearances. After winning a treble in his final year at the Camp Nou, the African superstar moved to Inter Milan, where he won yet another treble in his first season in Italy.
Former Netherlands international Wesley Sneijder is also considered in this category by Planet Football, having failed to stamp his authority on the team when he arrived in 2007 from Ajax Amsterdam.
It was no secret Sneijder was remarkably talented, but his time at the Spanish giants was fairly unsuccessful. The playmaker spent just two seasons in Spain before signing for Inter, where he formed a formidable partnership with Eto'o.
Current Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata was not even considered for Real's first team before his move to Valencia in 2007. Small in stature and far from pacy, the Spaniard surprised any when he took the Premier League by storm following a move to Chelsea in 2011.
The 31-year-old became an instant fan favourite at the Blues, with 2012/13 being his best individual season. Mata scored 19 goals and assisted a further 35 strikes in that campaign, but spent just one more season at Chelsea before joining Manchester United.
Several other high-profile names feature, such as Esteban Cambiasso and Fabinho – click through the gallery above to see all nine stars who shone after leaving Real!
Which of these stars do you think should have stayed at Real longer? Let us know in the comments section below.