Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Jonathan Woodgate scored an own goal and was sent off on his Real Madrid debut
There is a theme developing here: Englishmen struggling at Real Madrid. In the summer of 2004, there were three at the Bernabeu, Owen, David Beckham, and Jonathan Woodgate, who joined from Newcastle United for £13.4 million.
While Beckham’s time in Madrid was a success, Woodgate, like Owen’s, was most definitely not.
A persistent thigh injury meant the central defender didn’t play a single game in his first season in Spain, before he eventually made his debut in September 2005, 13 months after his arrival, only for it to get a lot worse for him.
In this first game against Athletic Bilbao, Woodgate scored an own goal and then was sent off after receiving two yellow cards.
A year later, after playing only 14 games, Woodgate was shipped out on loan to Middlesbrough, and he never returned.
"The club where there is the biggest 'what if' is obviously Real Madrid, but I cannot dwell on that and I have to put that out of my mind," Woodgate has said. "I do not even like talking about Real Madrid and all that ****. It does my head in. I was there years ago. I was at Stoke last season. In my mind, let's just forget about all that. I get embarrassed about it to be honest."
Woodgate was rather harshly voted the worst signing of the entire 21st century in a poll on the Spanish website marca.com, according to Reuters.
Injuries have continued to blight his career in spells at Middlesbrough, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City, and now this season he’s back playing with Middlesorough again in the Championship.