Jude Bellingham signs with Real Madrid: What other English players have played with Los Blancos?
Bellingham will become the sixth Englishman to pull on the famous white jersey in Madrid. How have the five before him fared?
We all knew it was coming and it’s finally happened. Jude Bellingham is a Real Madrid player and is contracted to spend the next six seasons at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder is the sixth Englishman to sign for Los Blancos and will outlast all of his compatriots in the Spanish capital if he sees out his initial contract.
Real Madrid’s five previous Englishmen
We take a look at the five English players who have previously pulled on the famous white jersey, with mixed success. Madrid fans will be hoping Bellingham follows the lead of Steve McManaman rather than Jonathan Woodgate.
1979-1984, 20 goals in 66 appearances
Signed from West Bromwich Albion in 1979, winger Cunningham became the first Englishman to ever play for Real Madrid. He scored 20 goals in 66 games in all competitions, most of which came in his first season-and-a-half at the club, during which time Los Blancos won LaLiga. A serious injury suffered against Real Betis in December 1980 was followed by on-field and off-the-field disciplinary issues, which eventually led to him spending the last two years of his time as a Madrid player out on loan.
Cunningham was tragically killed in a car crash in Madrid in July 1989 during his second spell as a Rayo Vallecano player. He was only 33.
1999-2009, 14 goals in 158 appearances
McManaman made his name as a flying winger at Liverpool, terrorising defences in England with his pace and dribbling ability. However, he changed his game to suit the team in Madrid, who he joined on a free transfer in 1999. McManaman plugged a gap in central midfield and became a fan favourite due to his incredible stamina and work rate.
In four seasons at the Bernabéu, the former Red won two league titles and two Champions Leagues, scoring and being named MVP in the 2000 final against Valencia. McManaman has turned out for Real Madrid’s ‘legends’ team since retiring from playing.
2003-2007, 20 goals in 155 appearances
After Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo, Beckham was Real Madrid’s next ‘Galáctico’ signing, joining weeks before compatriot McManaman was sold to Manchester City in 2003. The then England captain was a regular in midfield in his first three seasons at the club and was a solid performer, but Los Blancos failed to win any major trophies in that time.
Beckham fell out with manager Fabio Capello midway through his final season and was frozen out for a spell but forced his way back into the team and inspired Los Merengues to the LaLiga title in 2006/07 before heading for LA Galaxy.
2004-05, 16 goals in 45 appearances
Owen’s peak came at an incredibly young age and it’s not too difficult to argue that his best days were already behind him by the time joined Real Madrid in 2004 at the age of 24. The striker’s had a respectable goalscoring return in his single season in Spain and scored against Barcelona in El Clásico, but many of his appearances came from the bench with Raúl and Ronaldo preferred in attack. Joined Newcastle United after the signings of Brazilian duo Robinho and Júlio Baptista.
2004-2007, 1 goal in 14 appearances
Woodgate didn’t play a single game in his first season at the club due to injury, then went on to score an own goal and get sent off on his debut against Athletic Club, which came 13 months after he had signed. Yet the defender was well-liked during his time in Spain, most of which was spent in the treatment room.
Woodgate made a big effort to learn Spanish and integrate into his new surroundings, even impressing in a brief run in a team in late 2005-early 2006. However, more injuries eventually saw him drop out of the team and loaned out to hometown club Middlesbrough, who he signed for permanently in 2007. Neither Owen nor Woodgate won any silverware during their time in Madrid.