Englishmen that have played for Real Madrid

Amid reports linking Wayne Rooney with Real Madrid, Sports Mole looks at how other English players have fared in the Spanish capital.

Reports over the last few hours have claimed that Real Madrid are considering a summer bid for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.

Should the transfer come to fruition, the 28-year-old would become the sixth Englishman in recent times to have represented Los Blancos.

Below, Sports Mole has looked at how Rooney's five compatriots fared at the Bernabeu.


Laurie Cunningham in action for Real Madrid against Liverpool on May 27, 1981.© Getty Images
1. Laurie Cunningham, 1979-1984
Having impressed in a UEFA Cup tie for West Bromwich Albion against Valencia, Madrid were convinced to part with £950,000 to sign the left winger. Cunningham scored twice on his debut and went on to win a La Liga and Copa del Rey double during his first campaign with the club. However, his undoubted highlight was receiving a standing ovation from all four corners of the Camp Nou, having played a major role in Madrid's 2-0 victory over their bitter rivals in 1980. The latter part of his stint was hampered by injuries and after loan spells with Man United and Sporting Gijon, he was sold to Marseille. At the age of 33 in 1989, the North Londoner died in a car crash in Madrid.

Steve McManaman in action for Real Madrid during the 2002 Champions League final.© Getty Images
2. Steve McManaman, 1999-2003
He may have only spent four years in the Spanish capital, but McManaman is revered by the Madrid faithful, arguably more so than he ever was in England. Alongside the likes of Raul, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo, the Scouser won two La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues, as well as the UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup. His finest hour came during the Champions League final in 2000, where his goal and all-round performance during the 3-0 victory over Valencia in Paris earned him the man of the match award.

David Beckham celebrates scoring for Real Madrid against Osasuna on November 12, 2006.© Getty Images
3. David Beckham, 2003-2007
In terms of trophies, Beckham's time with Madrid was not overly successful, with just one La Liga title and a Spanish Super Cup to show for his and the team's efforts. Yet, the Madridistas by and large took to the former Man United midfielder, who impressed with his passing ability and work rate. Despite having been initially frozen out by Fabio Capello over his decision to join the Los Angeles Galaxy, Beckham's attitude to training convinced the Italian boss that he was still committed to the Madrid cause and he returned to the team to help the club wrestle away the title from Barcelona in 2007.

Michael Owen, then of Real Madrid, celebrates his goal against Barcelona on April 10, 2005.© Getty Images
4. Michael Owen, 2004-2005
A fee of £8m for a player with Owen's scoring record appeared to be a snip, but it never really worked out for the striker in Madrid. Despite having a respectable record of 16 goals from 45 appearances (many of which came from the bench), he was often overlooked in favour of the Brazilian duo Ronaldo and Robinho. As a result, when Newcastle United offered Madrid the opportunity to double their money on the centre-forward 12 months after his arrival, he was soon heading back to the Premier League.

Jonathan Woodgate is sent off on his Real Madrid debut on September 22, 2005.© Getty Images
5. Jonathan Woodgate, 2004-2007
To use a line from the BBC sitcom Blackadder: "It started badly, tailed off a little in the middle and the less said about the end the better." That, in a nutshell, sums up Woodgate's Madrid career. He arrived injured and when the centre-back did recover fitness to make his debut against Athletic Bilbao in September 2004, he scored an own goal and was later sent off. Injuries limited Woodgate to just 14 appearances for the club, which in turn saw him voted the worst signing of the 21st century by Madrid fans in a poll conducted by Spanish newspaper Marca.

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