The Best Players to Join the Premier League From Real Madrid - Ranked

Claude Makelele
Claude Makelele was a huge hit at Chelsea | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Since the dawn of time, Real Madrid have been poaching some of the Premier League's most talented footballers for astronomical fees. David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Julien Faubert - the list is endless.

However, there's also a long list of players who have moved in the opposite direction - and with Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon moving to Tottenham Hotspur this window, that list has just got a bit longer.

How will the pair do in north London? That remains to be seen, but the omens are...not encouraging. The list of players who swapped the Bernabeu for the Barclays is a little bit underwhelming to say the least (who remembers when Esteban Granero went to QPR?).

Nevertheless, there have still been some success stories, and here they are: the ten most successful transfers after leaving Madrid for the Prem.

10. Angel Di Maria

FBL-ENG-PR-ESP-MAN UTD-REAL MADRID-DI MARIA
Di Maria joined Utd with so much expectation | STEVE PARKIN/Getty Images

It really says it all when notorious Manchester United flop Angel Di Maria makes the top ten. Then again, it was either him or Alvaro Morata here, so I'm sure you can forgive this selection.

9. Robinho

Robinho
Robinho made the move to Manchester City | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Now THIS was exciting.

Deadline day, 2008. Sheikh Mansour gets a bit bored and buys Manchester City. First thing he does? Splashes out £32m on Robinho. It was the beginning of a new era for the Cityzens. Fast forward a dozen years, and they're 14 trophies richer.

As for the player himself, he did alright I guess. His first season was pretty good, and his second season wasn't. Then off he went to Milan for less than half the price that they bought him for.

8. Dani Ceballos

Dani Ceballos
Ceballos has just begun his second year on loan at Arsenal | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Yes, I know, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel here. But...Ceballos, he's pretty tidy, eh? Quite handsome, too.

7. Michael Owen

Michael Owen
Owen's best days came before his return to the Premier League | Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Once one of the most feared forwards on the planet, Ballon D'Or winner Michael Owen joined Newcastle United for a then-club record fee of £17m in 2005, after an unsuccessful year at Real Madrid.

He did...okay, but a series of injury troubles ensured that his best days were well and truly behind him. Still though, got a last minute winner in a Manchester derby in 2009, so it wasn't all bad.

6. Geremi

Geremi
Geremi spent seven years in the Premier League | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Initially coming to England on loan at Middlesbrough, Chelsea paid approximately £7m for Geremi's services in 2003, and he ended up being a fairly reliable player.

While not spectacular, the Cameroonian helped the Blues to two Premier League titles in four seasons, making 109 appearances in all competitions.

He spent two and a half years at Newcastle United before departing for Turkey in 2010.

5. Ivan Campo

Ivan Campo, Mark Clattenburg
Campo picks up one of many, many cards | Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Moving from Madrid to Bolton is not exactly the most glamorous upgrade, but it's the move that Ivan Campo made in 2002. And, to be fair to him, it worked out fairly well.

In his six seasons at the Reebok Stadium, Campo became a cult hero, helping the club to four successive top-eight finishes, a League Cup final, and European football. There's a 40-yarder against Spurs somewhere in there, too.

4. Mateo Kovacic

Mateo Kovacic
Kovacic has done well at Chelsea | Steve Bardens/Getty Images

A few eyebrows were raised when Chelsea shelled out £40m for Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic, but it has proven to be a shrewd piece of business.

Making exactly 100 appearances for the club at the time of writing, Kovacic has become a popular figure at Stamford Bridge, winning the club's Player of the Year in 2019/20.

3. Rafael van der Vaart

Tottenham Hotspur's Dutch player Rafael
Van der Vaart was immensely popular at Tottenham | IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

The Dutchman's two full seasons at White Hart Lane were very productive, scoring 28 times from midfield. Then, for some reason, Spurs sold him to Hamburg. Makes perfect sense.

He has since taken up a career in darts. No, I did not make that up.

2. Mesut Özil

Mesut Ozil
Özil doesn't play much football at the moment | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Given his turbulent time at the Emirates in recent seasons, it's easy to forget just how good Mesut Özil used to be.

Arguably the best playmaker in the world at one point, the German's career in England peaked in the 2015/16 campaign, scoring six and assisting 19 in 35 league outings.

His arrival at the Gunners helped end an eight-year trophy drought, later earning himself three FA Cup medals in four seasons.

1. Claude Makelele

Claude Makelele
Undeniably the best player to make the switch from Real Madrid to the Premier League | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

So good they named a role after him.

Undoubtedly the best player to join the Premier League from Real Madrid was Chelsea's Claude Makelele.

The Frenchman was a crucial part of Jose Mourinho's back-to-back title-winning sides from 2004 to 2006. His defensive ability gave the likes of Frank Lampard and Arjen Robben full attacking freedom.

His contribution did not go unnoticed. In 2005, he was named in the FIFPro World XI, while he won Chelsea's Player of the Year in 2006.