Neymar and the 10 Biggest Real Madrid Transfers Ever
Real Madrid are one of the biggest clubs in the world and no matter how you look at them, they have made hundreds of major signings throughout their existence. However, there are those few that stand alone as perhaps their best ever.
While the importance of homegrown players is not fully lost with Los Blancos, having developed their own talents such as Raul Gonzalez and Iker Casillas, the biggest club in the Spanish capital has a history of bringing in the best that money can provide from outside Spain.
From the Galacticos of today to the major finds of Real's first true golden era, there are some major deals that shocked the transfer market.
Honorable Mention? Neymar
Neymar looks to finally have agreed a £53 million initial fee to join Real Madrid following the Olympics next summer.
While he is anticipated to be a major signing, there is no way to consider him the top 10 signings for the club until he has produced some results.
While he has been prolific in the Brazilian Premier League for Santos, he is unproven in La Liga, or any other European league, and has a lot to prove before he can be considered one of Los Blancos' greatest signings ever.
Manchester United sold David Beckham to Real Madrid in 2003 for a fee of £25 million. His skills at both set pieces and as a delivery man from the wide areas was a key piece to their puzzle as they tried to topple Barcelona's rising challenge at the top of La Liga.
Beckham's biggest contribution happened off the field however, bringing in huge revenues for kit sales worldwide—as well as another major name drawing notoriety to the club.
During his four seasons in Madrid from 2003-2007 Beckham made 155 appearances for the Blancos, scoring 20 goals and contributing 25 assists.
While he was only at the club for three seasons, 2000-2003, French international Claude Makelele built his reputation as one of the best holding midfielders of the last decade during his time at Madrid.
When he departed from Madrid for Chelsea in '03, fellow clubmate and French international Zinedine Zidane said: "Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?"
The quote was partially directed at the signature of David Beckham that followed after the sale of Makelele.
Makelele scored just one goal for the club during his tenure, but he was part of multiple major accomplishments including two La Liga titles, a Champions League trophy, two Spanish Super Cups, one Intercontinental cup and one UEFA Super Cup.
Brazilian wonder boy Kaka was the first major signing of a second wave of Galacticos in 2008.
The former AC Milan playmaker joined on a fee of £56 million from his Italian Serie A home, and after having reigned supreme in the Champions League in '07 he was thought to be able to help take Real Madrid back to the heights of glory.
However, since his arrival for such a hefty price he has failed to live up to his former glory, as a string of injuries and setbacks have consistently kept him away from his top form.
His best season was his first, with 33 appearances and scoring nine goals. Since then he has managed another 33 appearances and 11 goals over the last two seasons, including the current campaign.
So far this year he has had a good start and will hope to keep that going as he hopes to retain his place in midfield.
Ronaldo ruled the world as a striker in the late '90s and the turn of the millennium. He is one of the few players to have played for either side of two of the footballing world's biggest rivals, as he separated stints with Barcelona and Real Madrid by playing for Inter Milan, and then AC Milan, following Real.
The Brazilian goal scorer signed with Real for €46 million in '02 and his kit sales broke club merchandising records on the first day. During five seasons he made 177 appearances, scoring 104 goals across all competitions.
He never was able to fire them to a Champions League final, but helped them to win La Liga in 2002-03 as well as the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, and the 2003 Spanish Super Cup.
Mexican international Hugo Sanchez joined Real Madrid in 1985 from local rivals Atletico Madrid.
He was the attacking firepower that led Real to five straight league titles from 1985-1990 and also won four consecutive Pachichi trophies for being the most prolific goal scorer in La Liga.
His overall goal tally is in the top ranks of the club, having scored 207 goals in 283 total appearances for Los Bloncos across seven seasons, until his return to Mexico in '92 to Club America.
Along with the five league titles he shared while at Real, he was also part of two Copa Del Reys, four Spanish Super Cups, and one UEFA Cup.
Carlos Alonso González, nicknamed "Santillana," played his first La Liga season in 1970-71 for Racing Santander, scoring 17 goals in 35 league appearances before catching the eye of Real Madrid.
He was signed by Real Madrid the following season at age 19—and would never look back. Santillana is another of the all time goal scorers for Los Bloncos, coming in third with 290 goals in 643 appearances.
There have been few who have been part of more trophies in their time at Real as Santillana. During his 17-year career at the Bernabeu, he led the club to nine La Liga titles, two UEFA Cups, four Spanish Cups, and one Spanish League Cup.
The biggest transfer fee in the history of Real Madrid was the £80 million paid to Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of '09.
After having helped the Red Devils to nine trophies from '03-'09, including a Champions League and three straight English Premier League titles, the Portuguese took his chance to take a step to the biggest stage in Spain.
His unveiling at the Bernabeu was unlike any other, as he was paraded out along side all nine of the club's European Championship Cups. So far he has lived up to all but a few expectations—those lacking being a La Liga and Champions League title.
With 103 goals in 106 games for the club, he is on pace to maintain one of the greatest strike rates the club has ever seen, even though he is a wide attacker and not a striker.
If he can get the right set up of supporting characters and teamwork under Jose Mourinho, he should be destined to deliver the rest of the goods he was thought to have been bringing, along with that £80 million price tag.
He was brought in as part of a new wave of Galacticos in hopes to return Real to the pinnacle of success—both domestically and in Europe.
Zidane is an icon of the French national team from 1998-2006 and was Real Madrid's midfield architect from 2001-06.
During his time at Real Madrid, he was part of five trophies, including the Blancos' ninth Champions League winning side in 2001-02.
Hungarian forward Ferenc Puskas has one of the greatest goal scoring records in history. His entire career he played 620 games between three clubs, scoring 616 goals.
His national team scoring record was equally impressive, with 84 goals in 85 appearances.
Puskas was signed in 1958 at the age of 31 and would go on to be part of 10 trophies for the club. He scored 242 goals in 262 games for the Blancos and formed a fearsome partnership with perhaps Real's greatest signing ever.
Alfredo Di Stefano
Signed in 1953, Alfredo Di Stefano is perhaps the biggest Real Madrid transfer in history based on the results he brought to the club.
From his first season in 1953-54, to his last in 1963-64, Stefano was one the leaders of Real through what could still be considered their greatest era in history.
He came to the Spanish capital from Colombian club Millonarios. Barcelona were initially the leaders for his signature, however, upon his arrival in Spain, Di Stefano was convinced to sign for Real by their stadium's namesake: Santiago Bernabéu.
During his time, he scored 307 goals in 396 appearances while being part of eight La Liga titles, one Copa Del Rey, and five straight European Cups from '55-'60.
He remains the all time leading goal scorer for the club to this day.
Real Madrid have been involved in some of the biggest transfers in the history of the game. Without a doubt all those mentioned before have had a major impact on the club and their success.
While some have been and are the flamboyant standouts, others remained behind the scenes, doing the dirty work that made the club a well-oiled machine.
There are many more great signings in the club's past, but all these have made a major contribution to the historic past of one of the world's greatest football clubs.