Tchouameni next: The 9 players Real Madrid have signed from Ligue 1

Quick Reads
Real Madrid's Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema after Champions League Final v Liverpool at Stade de France in Saint Denis, Paris, France. 28th May, 2022.

Real Madrid are set to sign Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni for a whopping €100million – and they have a pretty good record with signings from the French top flight. 

Tchouameni, who is regarded as one of the best young talents in Europe, was also linked with Liverpool and Manchester United but Madrid will pay an initial €80million for his services with €20million to follow in potential add-ons.

We’ve taken a look at the nine previous players Madrid have signed from Ligue 1 to see how they have fared.

Eduardo Camavinga

Camavinga became Rennes’ youngest ever player when he made his debut at the age of 16 in 2019 and was snapped up by Madrid in a £34.4million deal two years later.

The 19-year-old was eased into life at Madrid in 2021-22 and is yet to break up the iconic midfield trio of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

But he has shown glimpses of his talent, coming off the bench to produce brilliant performances against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the Champions League. 

“Camavinga is the present and the future of this club. This is quite clear for him and for us,” Carlo Ancelotti said in March 2022.

“The day that Modric, Casemiro and Kroos are older, we will have Camavinga, [Federico] Valverde, the youngsters who are in the Castilla, like Antonio Blanco.”

Alphonse Areola

Areola came through the academy at Paris Saint-Germain and made over 100 appearances for the club but failed to cement himself as their first-choice goalkeeper.

After the Ligue 1 side signed Keylor Navas in 2019, he joined Madrid on a season-long loan deal and was used as back-up to Thibaut Courtois.

The France international made a handful of appearances as Madrid won La Liga in the 2019-20 season but failed to impress enough to earn a permanent move.

Ferland Mendy

After legendary left-back Marcelo began to show signs of slowing down in the 2018-19 season, Madrid planned for the future and signed Mendy from Lyon in a £47.1million deal.

“I will be his successor,” Mendy confidently told Real Madrid TV in 2019. “He has a lot of time left, but if they’ve brought me here, it’s because they see potential.”

While the France international had a difficult start to life in Spain, he has since made good on his promise and is Madrid’s first-choice left-back.

Mendy, who has made over 100 appearances for Los Blancos, is now regarded as one of the best defensive full-backs in the world and helped neutralise Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the 2022 Champions League final.

Mariano Diaz

A Madrid academy graduate, Mariano made 14 appearances for their first team before joining Lyon in an €8million deal ahead of the 2017-18 season. 

The striker returned to Madrid a year later after scoring 18 Ligue 1 goals and had the daunting challenge of following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps as the club’s No.7.

He’s scored just seven goals in his second spell at Madrid and has spent most of the last four seasons on the bench, starting just 11 La Liga games.

The 28-year-old looks set to leave Madrid for a second time in 2022 and has been linked with a return to Lyon.

James Rodriguez

While Rodriguez impressed during his solitary season at Monaco, it was his incredible performances at the 2014 World Cup that caught Madrid’s attention and convinced them to pay £63million for his services.

The Colombia international registered 17 goals and 18 assists in all competitions in 2014-15 and was also named La Liga’s best midfielder that year.

But he failed to maintain those high standards and often found himself on the periphery following Carlo Ancelotti’s departure at the end of the 2015-16 season.

The midfielder still won two La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups at Madrid before joining Everton on a free transfer in 2020.

Raphael Varane

Varane was technically a Ligue 2 player following Lens’ relegation at the end of the 2010-11 season, but he never played in the second division so we’re still including him here.

The centre-back was eased into the Madrid first team by Jose Mourinho but eventually managed to usurp Pepe at the heart of the backline, forging a brilliant partnership with Sergio Ramos.

He made 360 appearances and won everything on offer during his 10 years at Madrid, including four Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles. 

Madrid also made a healthy profit on their €9million purchase when Manchester United paid €40million for the France international in 2021.

Karim Benzema

After starring for Lyon and establishing himself as one of Europe’s best young strikers, Benzema rejected Manchester United and signed for Madrid in the summer of 2009.

During his first nine years in Spain, the France international selflessly modified his own game to be the perfect foil for Cristiano Ronaldo.

But he’s become Madrid’s main man up top in recent seasons and enjoyed a sensational 2021-22 campaign, helping Los Blancos secure their fourth league and European Cup double.

The 34-year-old has now won 22 trophies for the club and has also scored 323 goals in all competitions, making him their joint-second highest goalscorer of all time alongside Raul.

Karim Benzema celebrates after Real Madrid win the Champions League final. Stade de France, 28th May, 2022.

READ: 13 crazy stats that show why Karim Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or

Mahamadou Diarra

After starring in that impressive Lyon side of the mid-2000s, Diarra was snapped up by Madrid after Fabio Capello asked club president Ramon Calderon to sign “three players”, “Diarra, Diarra and Diarra”

The €26 million man became a staple in the middle of the park for Madrid, helping them win the La Liga title in both 2007 and 2008.

But a knee injury on international duty with Mali effectively ended his career at the Bernabeu. Madrid bought Lassana Diarra in his absence and gave him Mahamadou’s No.6 shirt for good measure. Charming.

Diarra eventually returned to Ligue 1 in early 2011, signing for Monaco before a later spell at Fulham.

Rafael Martin Vazquez

Vazquez was a product of the Madrid academy but made his reputation abroad.

The attacking midfielder left for Torino in 1990 after a row over money but failed to settle in Italy and then had a short stint at Marseille before returning to Madrid in October 1992.

Despite winning another La Liga title, his second spell at the Bernabeu was rather underwhelming as he struggled with injury problems and was allowed to leave in 1995.


More Real Madrid

How Carlo Ancelotti ended Real Madrid’s 12-year wait for La Decima

Can you name Real Madrid’s XI from the 2014 Champions League final?

8 of Guti’s filthiest assists for Real Madrid ft. backheel for Zizou & more

The story of Capello, Suker, Mijatovic & the Real Madrid team of 96-97