On this day: Real Madrid sign Jonathan Woodgate

Jonathan Woodgate is unveiled as a Real Madrid player on August 21, 2004
© Getty Images
Ten years ago today, Real Madrid complete the signing of English centre-back Jonathan Woodgate from Real Madrid.

A total of five Englishmen have turned out for Real Madrid, all with varying degrees of success. Laurie Cunningham was the first to make the switch, before Steve McManaman, David Beckham and Michael Owen moved to the Spanish capital.

While Madrid supporters will have different perceptions as to how that quartet served their club, there can be little doubt that the fifth English player to pull on the famous white shirt had the most disastrous stint at the Bernabeu.

It came as something of a surprise when rumours started to circulate that Madrid head coach Jose Antonio Camacho wanted to ease his defensive crisis by signing Newcastle United centre-back Jonathan Woodgate. There was no doubting that Woodgate had the ability to play for one of the game's biggest clubs, but his injury record meant that he could hardly be relied upon.

He arrived at Newcastle in January 2003 from Leeds United for £9m, but a succession of fitness setbacks limited him to just 37 appearances in all competitions during the next season-and-a-half.

That didn't put off Madrid, who signed Woodgate for around £13m 10 years ago today, despite the fact that he was suffering with a thigh problem at the time. A German specialist at the defender's medical had claimed that the injury would clear up shortly, but that didn't prove to be the case.

Speaking at the time, Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson said: "I don't blame Jonathan in a way because he's going to arguably the biggest club in the world, I think, at this moment," said the Magpies boss.

"The power of Figo and Ronaldo, Zidane, then Beckham and now Owen. If you were in his shoes, what would you do? This is an extreme, exceptional offer which basically we had to take. No-one is pleased that he's gone because we know what we've lost. At his best, he's the best in the country."

The thigh injury that Woodgate arrived in Spain with ruled him out of the entire 2004-05 season, with his debut eventually coming in September 2005 against Athletic Bilbao. It was a game to forget for the 25-year-old, though, as he scored an own goal, before later being red-carded.

He returned to score in a Champions League clash with Rosenborg, but injuries once again took hold and it came as little surprise when in 2006 when he was loaned out to Middlesbrough, whom he would join permanently 12 months later, having made just 14 outings for Madrid.

In 2007 he switched to Tottenham Hotspur, where he spent four campaigns and then moved to Stoke City. Two years ago he returned to Middlesbrough and he remains at the Riverside to this day.

David Beckham celebrates scoring for Real Madrid against Osasuna on November 12, 2006.
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