In a big club like Real Madrid where the roster is filled with superstars, it is easy to forget a few prominent names. The amount of competition in Real Madrid means that even the most gifted players do not always get consistent opportunities. In this article, we will look at five surprising names who once represented Real Madrid.
#5 Samuel Eto’o
Eto’o was a clinical striker at Barcelona and was often among La Liga’s top goalscorers. He also scored for the Blaugrana in their Champions League victories in 2009 and 2011. Eto’o is also one among the surprising names who once represented Real Madrid. Eto’o is a Real Madrid youth product and he trained regularly with the Real Madrid B team.
In 1997, he was loaned out to Leagues, and he represented them in the second division of Spanish club football. The next season he was again loaned to Mallorca and played for Real Madrid just seven times in his career. Mallorca made his loan move permanent, and he went on to represent Barcelona, Chelsea and Everton in his illustrious career.
#4 Julen Lopetegui
Lopetegui is one of the few to have represented both Barcelona and Real Madrid at a senior level. From 1985 to 1988, Lopetegui represented Real Madrid Castilla. Lopetegui’s only appearance for Real Madrid came against bitter rivals Atletico during the 1989-90 La Liga.
Julen Lopetegui resigned as the manager of Spain in the summer of 2018 to take charge of Real Madrid. His tenure ended with disappointment as he was sacked mid-season and Solari was appointed as a replacement.
#3 Javier Saviola
Saviola was the youngest player in Pele’s 125 greatest living footballers list released in 2004. After a six-year spell with Barcelona in which he enjoyed moderate success, Saviola moved to Real Madrid in 2007. Since he moved for free, his transfer did not attract a lot of attention. He has mainly used a substitute during his two-year tenure at Real Madrid.
Saviola played just 28 games for Real Madrid and was transferred to Benfica in 2009. He enjoyed decent success at Benfica and Olympiacos, before retiring at River Plate. He did not live up to the early hype he generated and now coaches a Futsal side in his local community.
#2 Nuri Sahin
Sahin made his debut for Dortmund in the Bundesliga as a 16-year-old in 2005. He gradually grew popular among fans and achieved a lot of success under Klopp. After being named the Bundesliga player of the season in 2011, Sahin transferred to Real Madrid.
His transfer did attract attention, but the transfer fee for such a talented player was a meagre 10 million euros. He played just four games for Real Madrid and was loaned out to Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund in the subsequent seasons. Sahin is among the surprising names who once represented Real Madrid, as his tenure at the club seems to be completely forgotten by football fans.
#1 Walter Samuel
Samuel was a towering presence at the back for Inter Milan for much of his career. In 2010, his center-back partnership with Lucio is one of the main reasons for Inter’s UCL victory. Samuel started his career in Argentina, playing for Newell’s Old Boys and Boca Juniors.
In 2004, he was purchased by Real Madrid from Roma for 25 million euros. He did not justify his price tag as he failed to settle in a new team. He then moved to Inter Milan and won five consecutive league titles and a continental treble.