The success associated with Real Madrid is largely due to the numerous world-class names that have featured for them. Stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, and Karim Benzema are just a few of Real's powerhouses in the recent past.
Real Madrid are the most successful club in Spain
Real Madrid have been one of the mightiest teams across Europe in the past several decades. Los Blancos have a rich history in both domestic and European competitions, having won 34 La Liga titles and 13 Champions League trophies.
However, amongst these gargantuan names, the club has also witnessed players that have had forgettable spells. No club is perfect and the La Liga giants have also indulged in the services of players that didn't quite fit in.
On that note, here are five players you might have forgotten played for Real Madrid:
Emerson joined Real Madrid in the summer transfer window of 2006 from Juventus, following their infamous Calciopoli scandal. The Bianconeri’s officials were found guilty of networking with footballing authorities to influence referees to favor Juve. The club were relegated and had to offload players and Emerson was one of them.
A reliable defensive midfielder, Emerson had a decent career in Serie A with Roma and Juve. However, the Brazilian struggled to make an impact at Real Madrid and the transfer backfired on Los Blancos.
Despite being part of the 2006-07 La Liga winning side, Emerson hardly made any significant contributions in the 34 appearances he made for Real. The Brazilian was sold to AC Milan a year later. He then signed for Santos in 2009 but retired after just three months in Brazil.
#4 Hamit Altintop
Hamit Altintop joined Real Madrid from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich on a free transfer in 2011. The Turk was versatile, having played in attacking midfield, central midfield, and also on the right flank. Altintop was tipped to have an influential campaign with Real but things sadly did not work in his favor.
After a respectable spell with Bayern, Altintop failed miserably at the Santiago Bernabeu. Manager Jose Mourinho mainly resorted to keeping him in the reserves.
The Turkish midfielder made just 12 appearances for Los Blancos, including five in La Liga. Altintop won La Liga with Real, although he had little to no contribution.
Altintop was sold to Galatasaray after a year with Real Madrid. He spent five years with the Turkish side before moving to Darmstadt, who were in the Bundesliga at the time. After a year in Germany, Altintop announced his retirement.
#3 Roberto Soldado
Not many fans will remember Roberto Soldado's time with Real Madrid. The Spaniard was part of Real’s youth team and made his first appearance for the club in a 1-2 win against Tenerife in the 2004-05 Copa Del Rey.
Soldado made 27 appearances for Los Blancos over the course of three years, which also included a loan spell with Osasuna. The Spaniard was part of Real’s 2007-08 La Liga title-winning team but made just five appearances that season.
After a dismal spell with Real, Soldado joined Getafe in 2008 and moved to Valencia at the start of the 2010-11 season. The Spaniard scored 82 goals in 141 appearances for Valencia, a display that was in stark contrast to his time in the Spanish capital. The 36-year-old currently plays for Levante after spells with Tottenham Hotspur, Villareal, Fenerbahce, and Granada.
#2 Jose Antonio Reyes
Jose Antonio Reyes will always be fondly remembered by football fans for the legacy he left behind following his untimely death in 2019. Reyes had a phenomenal run with Arsenal in the Premier League and with Spanish sides Sevilla and Atletico Madrid. However, the Spaniard also had a stint with Real Madrid that is often forgotten.
After two successful seasons with Arsenal that included a Premier League title and FA Cup victory, Reyes spent the 2006-07 season on loan with Real. He made a total of 38 appearances for Los Blancos across all competitions. He managed to score seven goals during his time at the Bernabeu.
Reyes’s performances for Real were sporadic, and he was relatively anonymous for most of the games he played in. He won the La Liga title with Real during his loan spell. He then played for Atletico Madrid the following season and won two Europa League titles with the Colchoneros.
While most people associate Juanfran with Atletico Madrid, there was a time when he played for rivals Real Madrid. The Spaniard began his career in Real’s youth team and made his first appearance for the senior team in 2004.
Juanfran’s first game for Real was in the Copa del Rey round of 16 against Eibar. The Spaniard put in a commendable performance on the wing, providing an assist in the game which eventually ended 1-1. However, Juanfran would find no further success in Real’s first team and ended up making just 10 more appearances.
The versatile right-back was then loaned out to Espanyol in 2005 and was signed by Osasuna at the start of the 2006-07 season. Juanfran’s most successful career spell was with Atletico Madrid, for whom he signed in the 2011 summer transfer window. The Spaniard won the La Liga, Spanish Cup, Spanish Super Cup, and two Europa League trophies with Atelti.