Playing for Real Madrid is a dream for most players, as Los Blancos are one of the biggest clubs in the game. They have one of the largest fan bases in world football and often attract the best players in the world.
Real Madrid's pedigree means winning trophies is a must for the club. Players join Real Madrid in the hope that they would win domestic and European titles.
Over the years, Real Madrid have been able to attract the likes of Ronaldo Nazario, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, to name a few, all of whom have helped the club win multiple trophies in various competitions.
Five players whose careers floundered after arriving at Real Madrid
Not all players achieve stardom and recognition after landing at Real Madrid due to various reasons like the pressure of playing for the club or a paucity of opportunities to prove themselves, among others,
On that note, let's take a look at five such players whose careers went downhill after joining Real Madrid.
#5 Michael Owen
Michael Owen joined Real Madrid in 2004 after eight successful seasons at Liverpool. During that period, he scored 158 goals in 297 appearances, won the 2001 Ballon D'or award and led the Reds to triumphs in the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup.
Despite being one of the most lethal strikers in Europe when he joined Los Blancos, Owen was behind Ronaldo Nazario and Raul in the pecking order. He was often used as an impact substitute and scored only 16 goals in 45 appearances in his only season at Real Madrid.
Owen was eventually sold to Newcastle in 2005, where he regained his goal-scoring touch. But he was unable to reach the heights he achieved at Liverpool, owing to recurring injuries.
#4 Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate was one of England's best defenders before he made a move from Newcastle United to Real Madrid in 2004. His chequered injury record, however, was a source of concern for fans and pundits.
Woodgate failed to make a single appearance for Los Blancos during his first season with the club due to recurring injuries. He made only 14 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid in his second season, getting sent off in his debut game before he was sold to Middlesbrough a year later.
Jonathan Woodgate became a key player for Middlesbrough during his two years at the club. He subsequently earned himself a move to Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to his consistent performances, but frequent injuries prevented him from realising his full potential at White Hart Lane.
#3 Nuri Sahin
Nuri Sahin was pouched by Real Madrid after he rose to prominence during his stint at Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund. He was one of the German club's standout players in their title-winning season under Jurgen Klopp in 2010-11.
The German's performances caught the attention of Real Madrid, who signed him that summer. However, Sahin was unable to impress then Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho during his solitary season at the club, making just four appearances before he was loaned out to Liverpool the next season.
Sahin was subsequently sent on a two-season loan spell to Borussia Dortmund in 2012 but could not recapture the form he displayed during his previous spell with the club. Sahin joined Dortmund permanently in 2014 and spent four seasons at the club before joining Werder Bremen in 2018.
#2 Eden Hazard
The jury is still out for Eden Hazard, as he is still a Real Madrid player and has time to revive his career with Los Blancos. The Belgian has, however, suffered a drastic fall from grace since joining Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2019.
A combination of injuries and lack of confidence has meant Hazard has had a forgettable impact at Real Madrid. He has played just 36 times for Real Madrid in almost two seasons.
Eden Hazard was widely regarded as one of the best players in the world prior to his move to the Spanish capital. However, the former Chelsea man is currently struggling to nail down a place in Real Madrid's starting line-up and could be deemed surplus to requirements by Zinedine Zidane in the summer.
Brazilian maestro Kaka joined Real Madrid in 2009 after six fabulous seasons at AC Milan. During that period, he became one of the best players in the world. Kaka won a Serie A title, the Champions League and the Ballon D'Or award during his time with the Italian giants before arriving at the Spanish capital.
However, Kaka's four-season stint at Real Madrid was plagued by injuries. He managed just 120 appearances in all competitions for the club and was unable to live up to the hype that surrounded him when he first arrived in Madrid.
After providing only glimpses of his prowess at Real Madrid, Kaka returned to AC Milan on a free transfer in 2013. He subsequently joined Orlando City in the MLS, where he played for three years before retiring in 2017.