Ranking all 12 of Zinedine Zidane’s signings as Real Madrid manager

Quick Reads

Zinedine Zidane has announced his departure from Real Madrid after failing to win a trophy in the 2020-21 season. Despite this, Zidane has been the most successful manager in Madrid’s recent history, winning three Champions Leagues, two La Liga titles and six other trophies. 

His success has been based upon a core of stalwarts like Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, with Madrid’s recent record in the transfer market best described as mixed.

We’ve ranked all 12 players Zidane signed during his two spells in charge of Real Madrid.

12. Luka Jovic

€60million, 32 appearances, two goals and a temporary move back to Eintracht Frankfurt where he matched that goal tally in one game.

Ladies and gentleman, introducing bottom place.

11. Eden Hazard

€100million, 43 appearances, five goals. 

There’s a case for putting Hazard last here; he was one of the world’s best players when he joined from Chelsea in 2019 and the only impact he’s made is underlining that Real Madrid lack any semblance of humour.

There’s still hope that the Belgium international can showcase his immense talent under a new manager and he avoids the bottom spot for that reason alone.

10. Alberto Soro

Soro may turn out to be the next Raul, but we cannot rank somebody who never played for Real Madrid any higher (we’re a serious publication you know).

Signed on a four-year contract in 2019, he was immediately loaned back to Real Zaragoza before joining Granada permanently last summer.

Still, at least he turned a profit.

9. Reinier

He’s struggled for minutes on loan at Borussia Dortmund this season, which isn’t a huge surprise when he’s competing with Jadon Sancho for a starting spot.

But we can’t think of Reinier without thinking about his emotional unveiling video upon joining Real in January 2020.

Seriously, you cannot help rooting for him.

8. Alphonse Areola

Moving to Spain as part of the deal that took Keylor Navas to PSG, Areola was never going to live up to his predecessor’s standards.

Predominately used as back-up to Thibaut Courtois, the goalkeeper made just nine appearances before pitching up at Fulham the following season.

Hardly the most memorable signing in Real’s history, but at least he was less disastrous than others on this list.

7. Takefusa Kubo

Rather excitedly described by some as the ‘Japanese Messi’, Kubo is another who hasn’t played for Real yet.

But the winger has made a positive impression during loan spells with Real Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe and is definitely one for the future.

READ: ‘Japanese Messi’ Takefusa Kubo only needed 30 mins to shine at Getafe

6. Theo Hernandez

Hernandez was another player bought in 2017 and won the Champions League in his debut season at Real.

The French full-back was a bit-part player during his single season for the European Champions and was sent on loan to Real Sociedad for the 2018-19 season.

Madrid may not have fancied Hernandez, but Paolo Maldini clearly thought otherwise. The legendary defender persuaded him to join Milan during an informal meeting in Ibiza and Hernandez has been part of Milan’s tentative revival ever since.

5. Dani Ceballos

He may have underwhelmed at Arsenal, but there was a reason their fans were so excited by his arrival two years ago.

Ceballos won the Champions League in his first year with Real Madrid, although he only made 22 appearances during the 2017-18 season.

But the midfielder established himself as a useful member of the squad at the Bernabeu and only fierce competition prevented him from playing more often.

Real are reportedly open to offers for Ceballos now his loan spell in England has finished.

4. Rodrygo

Born when ‘Touch Me’ by Rui Da Silva topped the charts, Rodrygo has made more of an impact than other youngsters Zidane has signed.

After establishing his reputation at Santos, Real Madrid signed the Brazil international for €45 million in 2018 and made his mark after moving to the club a year later.

Seven goals in his debut season were evidence of his potential, but Rodrygo has found things more difficult in 2020-21 having only scored twice despite making more appearances.

3. Alvaro Morata

He may have the demeanour of Eeyore whose ice cream has just fallen on the floor, but Morata’s time at Real Madrid is strangely underrated.

After impressing at Juventus, Zidane exercised a buy-back clause in the summer of 2016 and Morata proved himself to be a more than useful backup to Karim Benzema. The Spain international scored 20 goals across all competitions in 2016-17 as Madrid won La Liga and retained the Champions League.

They even doubled their money by selling him to Chelsea for €60million – what more can you ask for?

2. Eder Militao

For all the cliches about samba football and Jogo Bonito, Brazil have produced extremely good centre-backs for the last three decades. Militao is the latest example.

His composure and discipline won him plenty of admirers at Porto and it was no surprise when Real secured his signature in 2019 for €50 million. 

He’s yet to fully unseat Ramos and Raphael Varane as Madrid’s premier centre-back partnership but, at just 23-years-old, there’s every chance that Militao will become the club’s first-choice defender over the coming years.

1. Ferland Mendy

As the only player on this list to establish themselves in the first team, Mendy was the only realistic choice to top this list.

Cousin of Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, the France international left Lyon to join Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 and has usurped Marcelo as the club’s first-choice left-back.

He’s even chipped in the odd crucial goal, such as this effort against Atalanta in the Champions League.

A worthy winner.

More Real Madrid

Comparing Gareth Bale and Zinedine Zidane’s Champions League stunners

Six Real Madrid players vilified by the Spanish press: Bale, Hazard, Owen…

A forensic analysis of Ronaldo’s hat-trick vs Manchester United in 2003

Can you name every Real Madrid manager since the start of 1997-98?