Returned to conquer: Five players who came back to Real Madrid

Mariano Real Madrid

After spending one season with Real Madrid’s first team, Dominican Republic striker Mariano Diaz was sold to French outfit Olympique Lyonnais with a view to getting more first team action. Real didn’t insert a buyback clause, but they did include a ‘right to first refusal’ on him if any club came knocking. The Spanish giants also held 25% of the players’ rights.

With the iconic Cristiano Ronaldo no longer, Real fans were demanding some attacking signings. When Sevilla approached Lyon for Mariano, Real refused the deal and bought him themselves. Now, ‘La Bete’ (The Beast) has inherited the Legendary number 7 shirt of Real; previously worn by Legends like Ronaldo, Raul and Juanito. But, he isn’t the first player to be sold and bought back by Real.

Today, we take a look back at top 5 Real Madrid players who were sold and bought back by the club. These 5 exploded in their new clubs, almost forcing Real to eat a humble pie and buy them back. All of them have succeeded for the ‘Los Blancos’ at some point.

1. Alvaro Arbeloa

The veteran Spanish full-back joined the youth system of Real Madrid aged 18 back in 2001. After spending three seasons there, Arbeloa was finally called up to the first squad for the 2004-05 season. Arbeloa did make his debut, but due to the lack of chances, he then moved to Deportivo La Coruna. From there, he joined Liverpool in the ’06-’07 season. After two years of consistency, Real were attracted to sign him back. After much consideration, Arbeloa was signed during the ’08-’09 season. Thus began a journey of emotions and silverwares.

Alvaro Arbeloa Real Madrid

Arbeloa was handed the number 2 jersey, once worn by the legendary Michel Salgado. Arbeloa was brilliant for Real. Eight years of nonstop service from a player signed for just 5 million pounds. But what was more lovable about him for the Bernabeu faithful was his astonishing passion for the whites. He defended the club like a guardian angel. Once Dani Carvajal was signed, Arbeloa fell out of favour from the starting line up. But that didn’t leave a dent. He stayed on, winning silverwares.

During the ’15-’16 season, Arbeloa announced this would be his last season for his boyhood club. During a League match against Valencia, Arbeloa came on for Real the final time; replacing a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. That is exactly how much Real respected the veteran. There were banners in honour of him. His teammates even gave him a guard of honour after the match.

Arbeloa may not be the most flamboyant of fullbacks, but he is definitely a Real Madrid legend who came back home to prove his credentials.


2. Dani Carvajal

Certainly one of the world’s best right backs, Dani Carvajal was sold to Bayer Leverkusen before the start of ’12-’13 season. Joining the club at just 10 years old back in 2002, Carvajal came up through all the ranks of the Spanish giants. And he impressed so much in his two seasons with Real’s reserve team that they decided to hand him the Captain’s armband. A callup to the starting eleven looked inevitable, until Carvajal saw the other part of the coin. But that didn’t break him.

Dani Carvajal Real Madrid

Carvajal started firing from the get go in Bundesliga. In his only season in Germany, he was named as the third best right backs behind Phillip Lahm and Atsuto Uchida. With Arbeloa as the only right back in the ranks, Real decided to buy Carvajal back. And four seasons on, he’s become an undisputed starter for Real. Players like Danilo, Odriozola came; but none were of any match to Carvajal. He still remains Real’s number one right back and looks set to succeed Sergio Ramos as Real’s captain one day down the line.


3. Casemiro

When Jose Mourinho picked a certain Brazilian named Casemiro during his last season against Real Betis, many were left scratching their heads. The 21-year old had just been taken on loan from Sao Paulo. That season, Casemiro impressed so much that Real penned down the deal as permanent. But it wasn’t all rosy dosy for him. Casemiro hardly played in the ’13-’14 season, resulting him being shipped out to Porto the following season.

Casemiro Real Madrid

But when Rafa Benitez was named Real’s coach, he jumped in to sign back Casemiro. Rafa handed him a starter role in midfield with Toni Kroos and Luca Modric. The Spanish coach was eventually sacked that very season, but Casemiro kept on impressing. Under Zidane, he realized his full potential. Forming a dominant trio with Kroos and Modric, Casemiro gave these two extremely talented midfielders license to attack as he reassured the ‘destroyer’ role for Real.

Casemiro was extremely vital for Real’s hat-trick of Champions Leagues, as well as their first La Liga triumph in five years. Be it Benitez, Zidane or Lopetegui; everyone knows Casemiro’s importance to Real. This is why he still remains an undisputed starter for Los Blancos.


4. Lucas Vazquez

Like Carvajal, Spanish winger Lucas Vazquez also joined Real as a teenager back in 2007. Three years in the reserve teams, Vazquez climbed up the ranks faster than many of his companions. With his speed, dribbling and eye for goal; he was called up for the ‘C’ and ‘B’ teams for Real Madrid.

Lucas Vasquez Real Madrid

After seven years in various reserve and youth teams, Vazquez was looking for top level football; something Real couldn’t assure him. Therefore, the winger was loaned to RCD Espanyol for the ’13-’14 season.

Once again, Real have Rafa Benitez to thank as he was instrumental in bringing the Galician winger home for the ’14-’15 season. Vazquez’s chances were limited, but he made sure he made each one of them count. From 2015-16 to last season, he shined whenever he was handed a chance. It came to one point when he was over Bale in the pecking order for Zidane’s Real.

He’s very much known for his unselfish play and amazing understanding of the game. He even got called up for Spain in the Russia World Cup thanks to his consistency. Yet another player using the motivation of proving himself to Real after being shipped out and succeeding in coming back.


5. Alvaro Morata

Beautiful depression. Mixed feelings. These are the phrases that’s most likely to pop up on Madrid fans’ minds whenever they hear Morata’s name. Having joined the youth setup of Real aged just 16, Morata debuted for the first team just two years later. His first goal for Real was a match winning one back in 2012 against Levante. Under Mourinho, he was used mainly as a backup forward which he did perfectly. But under Ancelotti, Morata struggled to get game time.

Alvaro Morata Real Madrid

Ancelotti’s preference for Benzema brought about a transfer to Juventus for Morata for around 20 million euros. In Italy as a valuable squad member who started many matches, Morata started to shine. He won the Serie A, Italian Cup and Italian Supercup in his first season. He even scored an infamous goal against Real at the Bernabeu to knock his boyhood club from the semifinals. Morata excelled in his second season in Italy, winning the Italian league and the cup as well. These performances made Real convinced about his development. They exercised the buyback clause to bring him back. He was signed for around 30 million euros before the 2016-17 season. Morata proved his worth in Madrid as well.

With limited opportunities and playing second fiddle to Karim Benzema, he managed to score more than 20 goals that season as he played a major role in Real winning the Champions League and the Spanish League. But game time was a serious issue for Morata with the World Cup looming large. He wanted more game time, something Real or Zidane couldn’t ensure. So, it was a case of deja vu once again. Morata left Real again, this time for Chelsea, becoming the most expensive Spaniard ever. Morata had a forgettable first season as he misfired for Chelsea and missed out on Spain’s World Cup squad. But he proved Real Madrid wrong, as they were forced to sign him again seeing his abilities to deliver when being first choice.