Now that Raul has left the building, Real Madrid are left with only Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa, Esteban Granero and young backup keeper Antonio Adan as youth system products remaining in the senior squad. Iker Casillas is the only player in the whole squad who has been with Real for more than five years – since 1999. Sergio Ramos joined in 2005 and Mahamadou Diarra in 2006. All the rest? Three years or less. Lets see how much it has cost Real Madrid to build their usually ever changing squad –
Sergio Ramos – The 24 year old World Champions right back arrived at Madrid in the summer of 2005 for 27 million Euro, the only Spanish player purchased by Florentino Perez during his first stint at the club. From a shaky centre back Ramos had developed into one of the best full backs in the world, playing 211 times in all competitions for Real.
Mahamadou Diarra – The Malian defensive midfielder arrived at Real after winning four titles with Lyon in France back in 2006 for 26 million Euro, being a center piece in Real’s midfield during their two titles in 2007-2008 but hasn’t been playing much the last couple of seasons due to injuries and losing his place with the first team.
Pepe – The Portuguese international was born in Brazil and began his soccer youth career at Corinthians, but arrived in Spain from Porto, purchased for 30 million Euro in the summer of 2007. When healthy and not suspended, Pepe is one of the tougher defenders you can find. His temper and wild tackling style does get the best of him at times.
Fernando Gago – Came as a huge promise from Boca Juniors for 20 million Euro at the age of 20 in 2006, but after winning a place in the first team during Schuster’s first season in 2007-2008, has slowly regressed in stature and ability, becoming a backup for Xabi Alonso and Lass.
Marcelo Vieira – Simply Marcelo, the Brazilian left something (they thought he was a left back to start with, but Marcelo has nothing to do with defending) arrived at Real from Fluminense for 6.5 million Euro during the 2007 winter transfer window and has become a permanent fixture with the first team in the last two seasons, although his form is incredibly erratic, even within the match itself.
Jerzy Dudek – The 2005 Liverpool Champions League Final hero arrived at Madrid for free, but hasn’t been doing much, playing only one league game in three season he has been with Real.
Royson Drenthe – Not one of the most popular players in Madrid, like Marcelo, Drenthe is something of a left winger although he never seems to be looking quite in place whenever he’s playing. Drenthe arrived for 13 million Euro from Feyenoord in 2007 but hasn’t scored a league goal for the club since his first season in 2007-2008, when he scored two league goals in 18 matches.
Gonzalo Higuain – Another 13 million Euro signing, this time from River Plate. Higuain has been a phenomenal scorer the last couple of years, but the club has failed to win a league title or gain Champions League redemption since he has become a starter for the team, blamed many times for not showing up in big games.
Ezquiel Garay – Another Argentinian, purchased from Santander back in 2008 for 10 million Euro but played his first season for the club in 2009-2010, playing 20 matches and scoring one goal.
Rafael van der Vaart – The man with the most beautiful wife in the world will begin his third season with the club in 2010-2011 after arriving from Hamburg for 13 million Euro. Despite not being part of Pellegrini’s early plans last year, found himself starting quite often, especially after Kaka’s woes and injuries, scoring six goals in 26 matches.
Alvaro Arbeloa – Grew up in the clubs’ youth ranks and returned last year after playing for Deportivo and Liverpool, coming for a fee of 4.5 million Euro. Arbeloa, like his entire career, was a consistent starter or sub for Real playing on both flanks of the defense, and scored a now famous goal to win the Madrid derby against Atletico in Real’s 3-2 win.
Kaka – Another player who will start his second season with the club although there are still rumors of a switch in the air, with Kaka’s disappointing first season and World Cup in the background. Kaka arrived from AC Milan for 65 million Euro, scoring 8 goals and adding six assists for the club in 22 matches (only) due to injury.
Cristiano Ronaldo – The most expensive soccer player in history arrived from Manchester United for 94 million Euro and scored 26 goals in 29 matches for Real in the La Liga. It wasn’t enough for a title.
Lassana Diarra – Lass was just above average while playing in the Premiership, but after arriving at Madrid for 20 million Euro in the winter of 2009 he has become and evolved into one of the better defensive midfielders in Spain, although it is evident he still isn’t Makelele, the last time Real had a real world class stopper in the middle.
Karim Benzema – So far, Benzema is one of the least successful Galacticos 2.0 project, arriving for 35 million Euro and scoring only 8 goals in 27 matches for the club in his first year, a season which cost him his place with the French national team as of now.
Raul Albiol – The quiet central defender arrived from Valencia for 15 million Euro and was a regular feature for Real, aided by Pepe’s injury, playing 33 league matches.
Xabi Alonso – The Basque play maker had a very good World Cup and also had a good season for Real in 2009-2010 after arriving from Liverpool for 30 million Euro, although it is evident he needs a better and tougher partner than Lass to topple Barcelona and dominate in the Champions League.
Esteban Granero – Spent two years with Getafe before returning to Real last summer for 4 million Euro, starting mostly on the bench, managing 3 goals and 5 assists for the club in 31 matches.
Sergio Canales – The first of the four new arrivals at the club in the summer of 2010, Canales is a 19 year old attacking midfielder who had a very good season for Santander last year, scoring six goals, and has been fantastic for the Spain youth teams in the last three years, winning the UEFA U-17 title in 2008.
Angel di Maria – The Argentinian left winger didn’t have a very successful World Cup but was brilliant for Benfica in their title winning 2009-2010 campaign. He arrived at Madrid for 25 million Euro.
Pedro Leon – The 23 year old Spaniard had two very productive seasons with Valladolid and Getafe the last two years and arrived after a transfer fee of 10 million Euro was payed to their Madrid neighbours.
Sami Khedira – The 23 year old German of Tunisian roots (Tunisian dad) was brilliant for Germany in the 2010 World Cup and very impressive for Stuttgart during the last three seasons, earning him a 15 million Euro transfer fee.