Ten of the most bizarre signings by Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona in the 2000s


Real Madrid and Barcelona are two of the most successful, decorated and popular teams in the world.

The plethora of talent that have put on either the white of Madrid or the red and blue of Barca is simply beyond belief.

From the era of Johan Cruyff in the '70s, the domination of Patrick Kluivert, Rivaldo and Pep Guardiola in the 90's all the way to the genius of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta in recent years.

Barca have had some of the best players to have ever laced a pair of boots, arguably only rivalled by Madrid.

Los Galacticos, ever since Alfredo Di Stefano in the '50s and '60s have seen era upon era of greatness.

Who can forget the team of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Raul, the list goes on.

Then came the turn of Cristiano Ronaldo, who with help from Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale turned Madrid into Champions League juggernauts - or should I say even more so than before.

Despite all of this and all the history that fans are fond of remembering, there have been some rocky and somewhat bizarre patches, most notably in the form of some peculiar signings over the years.

Girona FC v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga

It seems Barcelona could be surprising us once again with former Middlesborough striker Christian Stuani tipped to be the Catalan side's next back-up striker as well as an assortment of unusual alternatives, per the Daily Mail.

So with that in mind, here are 10 Madrid and Barca transfers that GiveMeSport have highlighted as the most bizarre.

10. Paulinho - Barcelona (£36 million) 2017-2018

A bizarre one, but a successful signing nonetheless.

Paulinho struggled at Tottenham and moved to Guangzhou Evergrande in China where he unsurprisingly thrived amongst lesser opposition.

In 2017, after several unsuccessful bids, Barcelona triggered the Brazilian's release clause of £36 million.

Paulinho impressed in his sole season at the club playing 49 times but surprisingly went back on loan to Guangzhou.

He is now there permanently. 


9. Javier Saviola - Real Madrid (Free) 2007-2009

This is an interesting one as it includes both sides.

A few years prior and this would've been a top signing.

However, Javier Saviola was clearly over the hill by the time Madrid snapped up the Argentine from their Catalan rivals, Barcelona.

Saviola scored 70 goals in 158 games for Barca during his five-year spell, but proved to peak early in his career and by the age of 26 - when he signed for Madrid - he had lost his eye for goal.

He left Madrid after two years, scoring just five goals in 29 games.

Real Madrid football club's new forward...

8. Alex Hleb - Barcelona (£12 million) 2008-2012

A player who has since said he regrets moving from Arsenal to Barca back in 2008.

Alexandr Hleb played 36 games for the Catalan side in his first season, but was always on the fringes not helped by the fact that he failed to bag a goal.

He remained on their books for a further three years but failed to make another appearance, instead going on loan to Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg.

Even at the ripe age of 37, Hleb still plays in his home country of Belarus with BATE Borisov.

Barcelona's new player Alexander Hleb po

7. Royston Drenthe - Real Madrid (£9 million) 2007-2012

Does anyone remember the unbridled potential of Roysten Drenthe?

Madrid signed the Dutchman from Feyernoord for £9 million and he looked promising early on, if only Real knew what was to come.

Drenthe played 64 times in his first three seasons before being sent out on loan to Hercules and Everton, before long he was out the door.

Not only did Drenthe's fall from grace see him play for Reading and Sheffield Wednesday, but he even temporarily retired from football at 29 to focus on his rap career.

It obviously didn't go too well, as he is back playing with Sparta Rotterdam.

Real Madrid v Espanyol - La Liga

6. Dmytro Chygrynskiy - Barcelona (£10 million) 2009-2010

Another confusing one.

Dmytro Chygrynskiy had been at Shakhtar Donetsk for seven years before he was surprisingly sold to Barcelona.

The long-haired centre back remained at the club for just one season, playing 14 games and quite frankly looking exactly as you would expect, out of his depth.

The Ukrainian returned to Shakhtar for a further five years and now the 32-year-old plays for AEK Athens.

Barcelona's new player Ukrainian Dmytro

5. Thomas Gravesen - Real Madrid (£2.5 million) 2005-2006

The Danish brute who Everton fans will remember fondly.

Thomas Gravesen's transfer seemed to come out of nowhere during the January transfer window of 2005.

Gravesen was brought in to strengthen what was to be a new-look Madrid midfield by then-boss Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

The midfielder played 49 times for Los Galacticos and was even a regular starter at one point but after a scuffle with promising youngster Robinho, new manager Fabio Capello decided to sell the Dane.

Gravesen moved to Celtic, then after a brief return to Everton on loan he called it quits.

Real Madrid's Thomas Gravesen (L) eyes u

4. Alex Song - Barcelona (£15 million) 2012-2016

Alex Song was a solid holding midfielder for Arsenal and was actually missed slightly by Gunners fans when his seven-year spell at the club came to an end, after Barcelona put a £15 million bid in for the Cameroonian.

Song failed to live up to his price tag though and despite being at the club for four years, he only played in two of them.

39 games for Barca followed by two season-long loans at West Ham, saw Song's stock fall further.

He now plays for Sion in the Swiss Premier League.


3. Jonathan Woodgate - Real Madrid (£13 million) 2004-2007

Jonathan Woodgate was considered one of England's top defenders whilst playing for high-flying Leeds United in the early 2000s.

However, injury cut his time at the club short and became a recurring theme throughout Woodgate's career.

It was a shock to the footballing world when Real Madrid signed Woodgate for £13 million, because of his injury problems.

The Englishman did not feature at all in his first year at the club and then when he did eventually play the following campaign, he famously scored an own goal and got sent off on his debut.

Woodgate ended his time in Spain with just nine league appearances and played his last ten years in England including clubs such as Middlesborough, Tottenham and Stoke.

Real Madrid v Major League Soccer All-Star

2. Thomas Vermaelen - Barcelona (£15 million) 2014-present

Another Arsenal player who moved to Catalonia.

Thomas Vermaelen was a great defender for the Gunners - when he was fit - and formed a reliable partnership with Laurent Koscielny.

After five years at the club and already showing signs of injury-proneness, Barcelona took a chance splashing £15 million.

The risk did not pay off, as Vermaelen has been injured for the most part since joining the club and is somehow still on the books.

The Belgian has made 47 appearances since joining in 2014 and at 33-years-old there seems to be no way back for him.


1. Julian Faubert - Real Madrid (£1.5 million loan) 2008-2009

Our number one - none other than Julian Faubert.

A Frenchman who was not always a regular at West Ham was unbelievably signed by Madrid on loan in January 2009 until the end of that season.

Not only that, but the Spanish side paid £1.5 million for those 5 months.

Faubert made no more than two appearances for the club and quite frankly was a non-factor.

The ex-Hammer should have been honoured to have been signed by such a club but was found asleep on the bench during a game against Villarreal as well as missing training when he thought he had the day off.

The type of signing you laugh about years later, so that's why we are.

Real Madrid's French midfielder Julien F
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