When it comes to big clubs, there may not be one bigger on Earth, then Real Madrid. The Spanish giants have won the most European Cups/Champions League titles in history, and the most La Liga titles in Spain’s history. Their historic Galacticos players, and stories will forever go down in world football as they always try to bring in the best players. The best players in the world also have a craving to become one of the best, at the world’s best club. Madrid are always active in the transfer market, whether it’s buying or selling players. They’ve bought many players that just didn’t work out in the nation’s capital, and some that Madrid gave up on, or favored someone else. Many have put on the famous shirt, but many of them were forced to move on. Who are the top 5 players in the world right now, that were sold or given up on by Real Madrid (in no particular order).
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
I guarantee when Alonso came to Stamford Bridge last summer, no one had a clue that Alonso would become a key factor in Chelsea securing the title this season. Brought in from Fiorentina, the Spaniard had previously made appearances in the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland. But even before Bolton, Alonso was at Real Madrid, trying to break into the first team. Joining the youth academy in 1999, the Madrid born Alonso would represent Madrid at every youth level. Finally in 2010, Manuel Pellegrini would give Alonso a spot on the first team where he would come on as a substitute, late on for Gonzalo Higuain against Racing Santander. That would Alonso’s only appearance for Los Blancos in his career, and in July of 2010, Alonso would be sold to Bolton Wanderers. Alonso would be sold to Chelsea in late August of 2016, where he would score 6 goals and provide 3 assists in 36 games for Chelsea. 1 goal every 4 games from left back. Wow. Madrid may not miss him, with the second coming of Roberto Carlos in Marcelo, currently maning left back now a days. But Alonso sure is of quality, and you can never have too much quality.
Jose Callejon (Napoli)
Often the forgotten third wheel of Napoli’s incredible, attacking trident. Even with Arkadiusz Milik hurt, Napoli received a payload of offense in Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne. They both played at top class levels for Napoli this season but we cannot forget about Jose Callejon. Callejon registered 12 assists in the league this past season, which lead the team. He also put up 14 goals, which was good enough for 3rd. Responsible for 26 goals in 37 league appearances, Callejon was a beast this season alongside his teammates who were in superb form. Callejon was a product of Madrid’s youth academy but never broke through to the first team, instead opting to leave Madrid in 2009 for Espanyol with his twin brother Juanmi. After becoming Espanyol’s undisputed starting winger for current Tottenham manager, Mauricio Pochettino, he would go on to score 10 goals and 11 assists in 97 appearances for the Catalan club. His performances got him a move back to Real Madrid in 2011, where he would make 55 appearances for Los Blancos and scoring 8 goals. He wouldn’t be Jose Mourinho’s preferred starting winger, however, but would make an impressive impression in his first season where he would score most of his goals for the club and would win La Liga over rivals Barcelona in 2012. Since leaving Madrid in 2013, he has scored 54 goals for Napoli while becoming a full time starter. He even won the Coppa Italia in his first season with the club. Madrid has a multitude of wingers now, but if they had Callejon, would they have needed to splash the cash for Bale? Probably.
Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus)
Higuain had a decorated career at Real Madrid that included 3 La Liga titles. He was bought from River Plate in 2007 for 12 million Euros and would play at Madrid for 7 seasons. Making 190 appearances and scoring 107 goals, Higuain was successful at Madrid, but would garner the reputation of missing big chances in big games. He would establish himself as a starter in Madrid in September of 2008, after Ruud Van Nistlerooy went down with a serious injury. He would go on to score 22 goals in his first season starting for Madrid, and would gain international recognition as a promising young talent. In 2010, he would come in second in the Pichichi race with 27 goals, falling only to Lionel Messi and scoring more goals then Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 2nd half of his 2011 season was plagued with injury, which would welcome the ascendance of Karim Benzema as Jose Mourinho’s preferred striker. Higuain would score more goals then Benzema in 2012 with 22, but Benzema would establish himself as Madrid’s no. 9 in 2013. This led to Higuain being bought by Napoli in July of 2013 by outbidding Arsenal with a 40 million Euro bid for the Argentine. Higuain would go on to score 71 goals for the Italian club in 104 appearances, as he established himself as one of Serie A’s top goal scorers and winning the golden boot in Italy in 2016 when he netted 36 times. He would also win the Coppa Italia in 2014. Juventus would come calling for the big Argentine in summer 2016, and the club would buy him from Napoli for 90 million Euros (an Italian record). Higuain would score 24 goals in 38 league appearances for the Old Lady, as he achieved the Domestic Double, winning Serie A for the first time in his career, and winning the Coppa Italia for the 2nd time.
That’s right. Manchester United target and rock of a defensive midfielder, Fabinho of Monaco, once played for Real Madrid. Just once. He doesn’t count as a player sold by Madrid, but Madrid did have the option to buy him and they chose not too. He was bought by Portuguese side Rio Ave in 2012 but would never make a single appearance for the Primeira side. Instead he would be loaned out in 2012 to Madrid’s B team, Castilla. On May 8th of 2013, he would come on as a substitute for Fabio Coentrao and would assist the 6th goal of the game to Angel Di Maria in a 6-2 thrashing of Malaga. That would be Fabinho’s only appearance though, and he would later be loaned out to Monaco in the summer of 2013. He would spend the next two years on loan, before being bought permanently in 2015 by the French club. This past season, he won Ligue 1 and went as far as the Champions League Semifinals, while being arguably, Monaco’s best player. In a year full of attention on Kylian Mbappe, Fabinho has kept the defense rock solid, while being a passing threat from the midfield. Now Manchester United look to secure the Brazilian’s signature as they look to make him Michael Carrick’s replacement. Just to think, Madrid could’ve had a younger, more versatile version of Casemiro if they had just bought him in 2013. Oh well, at least they have Casemiro.
Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
Ah yes, the Flying Dutchman strikes again. Previously featured in the Top 5 Players, Chelsea Sold, article that I posted yesterday. Robben will also make it on this list, as Madrid purchased Robben from Chelsea in 2007, where he would spend two years at the Bernabeu and winning La Liga in his first season. Robben would be known for his flying runs down the left wing, and would be a lethal weapon for Madrid as he proved crucial in big matches for the club. But he would be shown the door once Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka were a part of the fold, where he would be sold to Bayern Munich. The rest, as they say, is history. Robben has won in every league he’s played in and has virtually every trophy you could win at club level. And although Madrid may not regret selling the Dutchman after acquiring one of the greatest of all time. But who knows what kind of career Robben could’ve had in Los Blancos’ shirt. One could only imagine as they stare in awe at the accomplishments he’s collected while in Munich.