Real Madrid are famous for spending millions of pounds every summer on the world’s best players.
The Spanish giants, who assembled a team of ‘Galacticos’ during the mid-2000s and are always in the hunt for world-class stars, are the most successful - and arguably the biggest - club side in football history.
But how successful have their most expensive players been?
We’ve gone through Madrid’s top 25 most expensive signings of all time and rated them out of 10 based on their performances and achievements at the Bernabeu.
All fees have been provided courtesy of Transfermarkt.
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25. Alvaro Morata | £27m
Real Madrid activated their buy-back clause to re-sign Alvaro Morata from Juventus in June 2016, but the Spanish striker only spent one season back at the Bernabeu before he was sold to Chelsea.
During that season, though, Morata scored an impressive 20 goals in 43 games for Los Blancos. Only Cristiano Ronaldo netted more during the 2016/17 campaign.
Because of that, he deserves at least a 7/10 rating.
24. Danilo | £28.3m
Danilo played 56 games for Madrid over two seasons, winning one La Liga title and two Champions League winners’ medals. He also contributed three goals.
The Brazilian full-back, who has since gone on to play for Manchester City and Juventus, was back-up for Dani Carvajal but still played a lot of games - particularly during his first season.
23. Asier Illarramendi | £28.8m
Some footballers can shrink at Real Madrid - and Asier Illarramendi was, unfortunately, one of them.
The Spanish midfielder had spent his whole career with boyhood club Real Sociedad up until 2013, when he joined Los Blancos on a six-year contract.
But he failed to produce his best performances in a Madrid shirt and was sold back to La Real for around £13 million in 2015.
‘Illarra’ still made 90 appearances for Madrid, scoring three goals, and won the Champions League in 2014.
22. Angel Di Maria | £29.7m
Angel Di Maria would have stayed at Real Madrid for longer had the club not splashed out big money on 2014 World Cup star James Rodriguez.
Months earlier, the Argentine midfielder had just produced a Man of the Match performance in the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid. But the signing of James convinced him that his time at the Bernabeu was over.
Di Maria, who also won one league title with Madrid, ended up joining Manchester United (although you get the impression he didn’t really want to) before signing for Paris Saint-Germain in 2015.
21. Xabi Alonso | £31m
A brilliant footballer, Xabi Alonso spent five happy seasons at the Bernabeu, winning one La Liga title and the Champions League.
The Spaniard, who joined Madrid from Liverpool in 2009, was named La Liga’s best midfielder in 2011/12.
Alonso went on to spend the final three years of his career with Bayern Munich before hanging up his boots in 2017.
20. Nicolas Anelka | £31.5m
Big things were expected from Nicolas Anelka after the French striker completed his move from Arsenal in 1999.
But he was a disappointment at the Bernabeu, scoring just seven goals in 31 games.
Two of those goals were, however, scored in both legs of the 1999/00 Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich. For that reason alone, he can’t be described as a total flop.
Anelka was also briefly suspended by club president Lorenzo Sanz after refusing to train, following a disagreement with head coach Vicente del Bosque.
19. Arjen Robben | £31.5m
A world-class footballer and one of the best Dutch players of his generation, Arjen Robben was a big coup from Chelsea in 2007.
However, the exciting winger only lasted two seasons at Madrid, scoring a slightly underwhelming 13 goals in 65 games.
Robben, who won the 2007/08 La Liga title, felt forced out of the club following the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.
But he went on to establish his status as one of the world’s best players at Bayern Munich, where he spent the next 10 years before retiring.
18. Karim Benzema | £31.5m
Karim Benzema has had plenty of ups and downs at Real Madrid. But now in his 11th season with the European heavyweights, he’s still plying his trade at the Bernabeu.
The Frenchman has scored 231 goals in 479 games for Los Blancos - only Ronaldo, Raul, Alfredo Di Stefano, Santillana and Ferenc Puskas have netted more - and has won a whole host of major honours.
An unselfish forward, there’s a reason why Ronaldo absolutely loved playing alongside the Lyon-born star.
17. Luka Modric | £31.5m
Voted the ‘worst signing of the season’ months into his Real Madrid spell, it’s incredible how Luka Modric managed to turn things around for himself.
The former Tottenham midfielder initially struggled in La Liga but soon found his feet and eventually cemented his status as one of the world’s best players.
Modric, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2018, can now be described as one of the greatest midfielders Real Madrid have ever had.
16. Thibaut Courtois | £31.5m
Thibaut Courtois has struggled more than most would have predicted since joining Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2018.
The Belgian shot-stopper, who looked like a phenomenon during his three-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid before becoming Chelsea’s first-choice ‘keeper, has been heavily criticised by the media and fans alike for his disappointing performances.
However, the 27-year-old has kept four clean sheets on the bounce at the time of writing and, like Modric, may just have needed a little time to find his feet at the Bernabeu. Time will tell…
15. David Beckham | £33.7m
Because he is *so* famous, it’s sometimes easy to forget that David Beckham was a genuinely excellent footballer.
The former England captain scored 20 goals in 155 games for Madrid during the club’s ‘Galactico’ era.
Beckham was cast aside by Fabio Capello shortly after announcing he’d signed a five-year deal to play for LA Galaxy, beginning in July 2007, but trained unbelievably hard and worked his way back into Capello’s plans during the final months of his final season with some eye-catching on-field displays.
He helped Madrid win La Liga that season and bowed out with the best wishes of the staff, his teammates and the club’s fans.
14. Mateo Kovacic | £34.2m
It’s hard to be too critical of Mateo Kovacic. He was part of the Real Madrid squad that won the Champions League in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
But he was never one of the squad’s standout players and only managed to score three goals in 109 games.
He joined Chelsea on loan in 2018 before completing a permanent move to Stamford Bridge a year later.
13. Ronaldo | £40.5m
One of football’s all-time great strikers, Ronaldo wasn’t at his explosive best at Real Madrid but still wowed the Bernabeu crowd over the course of four-and-a-half seasons thanks to his outrageous natural talent.
The Brazilian scored 104 goals in 177 games, including a stunning hat-trick against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Champions League, winning one La Liga title in the process.
Had he won a few more trophies during his spell at the Bernabeu, his rating would have been higher than an 8.5.
12. Vinicius Jr. | £40.5m
Give the young lad time. There’s a player of real quality and potential there.
Vinicius impressed during the first half of his debut season but struggled a little when Zinedine Zidane took over. The Brazilian winger is now suffering from ‘second-season syndrome’ and has received some heavy criticism in recent weeks.
That said, he is only 19 years old. Don’t write him off just yet.
11. Rodrygo | £40.5m
Rodrygo joined Madrid from Santos in 2019 and is currently being hailed as the ‘next Neymar’ following his excellent ‘perfect’ hat-trick against Galatasaray in the Champions League.
The Brazil Under-23 international looks a serious talent - and if he turns out to be anywhere close to Neymar’s level then Real Madrid have landed themselves some player.
10. Ferland Mendy | £43.2m
Ferland Mendy has only made a handful of appearances for Real Madrid following his move from Lyon, so the jury is still very much out.
The French left-back, who has made four appearances for his country, is only 24 and looks like a natural long-term replacement for Marcelo. But living up to the lofty standards set by the Brazilian certainly won’t be easy.
9. Eder Militao | £45m
Like Ferland Mendy, we need to give Eder Militao more time before judging him properly.
The defensive-minded Brazilian, who can play in midfield or defence, joined Madrid from FC Porto in the summer after impressing in the Portuguese league.
The 21-year-old will have his sights set on becoming a key player for club and country over the next couple of years.
8. Luis Figo | £54m
Luis Figo’s move from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000 is one of the most controversial transfers in football history.
The Portuguese winger, who was one of the world’s most revered players at the time, became a truly despised figure in the eyes of the scorned Barça faithful.
But Figo never looked back after his world-record move to the Bernabeu and went on to win two La Liga titles and the Champions League.
7. Luka Jovic | £54m
It’s still early days but the initial signs from Luka Jovic haven’t been particularly encouraging.
The Serbian striker, who scored 27 goals during his final season with Eintracht Frankfurt, has only netted one goal in his first 11 appearances with Los Blancos.
There’s already been talk that he could be moved on in the near future.
6. Kaka | £60.3m
When Real Madrid signed Ronaldo and Kaka in the same summer, it appeared to be game over for every other club - both in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
But while Ronaldo went on to become arguably the best player in Madrid’s history, Kaka flattered to deceive.
The Brazilian, who was unbelievably good during his six-year spell at AC Milan, failed to produce his best form in Spain. He scored 29 goals in 120 games, but the Madridistas expected so much more from the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner.
His days as a truly top player were over by 2013, when he returned to Milan.
5. James Rodriguez | £67.5m
James Rodriguez joined Madrid after lighting up the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
The Colombia international is blessed with a magnificent left foot and has shown plenty of glimpses of his world-class ability at Real Madrid.
However, he gradually fell out of favour and ended up joining Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal.
James, who has won two Champions League medals with Madrid, is now back at the Bernabeu but for how much longer remains to be seen.
4. Zinedine Zidane | £69.7m
Zinedine Zidane is one of the greatest footballers of all time and perhaps the only player capable of making the sport look like a form of art.
The Frenchman scored 49 goals in 225 games for Madrid, including one of the greatest goals we’ve ever seen to win the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen.
‘Zizou’ decided to end his career at the end of the 2005/06 season but returned to the club in a coaching capacity in 2014, before becoming the first-team’s manager in 2016.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo | £84.6m
What Cristiano Ronaldo achieved at Real Madrid may never be repeated.
Nobody could have imagined in their wildest dreams that he would go on to score a ridiculous 450 goals in just 438 games following his world-record move from Manchester United in 2009.
Similarly, nobody could have envisaged him surpassing club legends Alfredo Di Stefano and Raul.
Ronaldo inspired the club to four Champions League titles and two La Ligas. He was sold to Juventus for £100 million in 2018 but what a mistake that turned out to be.
2. Eden Hazard | £90m
Real Madrid fans hoped Eden Hazard would be their new Ronaldo, but it hasn’t really happened for the world-class Belgian winger so far.
Hazard earned his dream move to the Bernabeu in the summer after seven seasons in the Premier League with Chelsea but is still adjusting to life at Madrid, where the demands and expectations on the team’s stars are immense.
The 28-year-old has scored one goal in his first 10 appearances and really needs to start scoring on a more regular basis to convince everyone in Spain.
1. Gareth Bale | £90.9m
Gareth Bale has received so much stick since joining Real Madrid and the vast majority of it has been unfair.
The Welshman hasn’t been able to live up to the levels set by Ronaldo, but nobody in the world would be capable of doing that.
Bale has still scored 104 goals in 238 games - many of them crucial goals, too - and has won a host of major trophies, including four Champions Leagues and La Liga.
Now 30, it seems only a matter of time before Bale moves on. When he does, perhaps then he’ll receive the recognition that he deserves.
Rating: 8.5/10News Now - Sport News