Al Ittihad's Karim Benzema greets fans during his team match against Al Raed in the Saudi Professional League, in Buraidah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023.

The 6 players that left Real Madrid in the summer – & how they’ve fared since

Jude Bellingham dominated the headlines when it came to Real Madrid’s transfer dealings in the summer. But what about the players that left?

Los Blancos’ record signing and one of their all-time greats were among those who departed the Bernabeu as Carlo Ancelotti’s squad was given a shake-up ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

We’ve taken a closer look at the six senior players who left Real Madrid in the summer and how they’ve fared since.

Antonio Blanco

A relatively lesser-known name, Blanco developed his skills in Madrid’s famous La Fabrica academy and progressed to make a few appearances for the first team.

The defensive midfielder even appeared for Spain back in June 2021, a 4-0 victory over Lithuania, having taken up the opportunity after a Covid-19 outbreak in Luis Enrique’s squad.

But Blanco never progressed past the fringes of Madrid’s senior squad and the vast majority of his opportunities came for their B Team. Last season he went out on loan to Alaves in search of first team minutes and was signed by the club for a €4million fee after helping them get promoted via the play-offs.

This season the 23-year-old has made seven appearances (four starts) for the relegation-battlers but is currently serving a suspension after receiving a (somewhat harsh) straight red card in a recent 2-0 defeat at home to Osasuna.

Alvaro Odriozola

The right-back was talked up as one of the future stars of Real Madrid, anointed the long-term successor to Dani Carvajal when he was signed as a 22-year-old back in 2018.

Odriozola had his moments but he just never really kicked on to make the position his own. The writing was on the wall for his future at the club when he made a grand total of just six appearances last term.

His boyhood club Real Sociedad bought him back for a nominal fee in the summer but he once again finds himself on the periphery. He’s made just two substitute appearances totalling 63 minutes for La Real this season.

Karim Benzema

Still the current Ballon d’Or holder, Benzema had the option to extend his stay in the Spanish capital – but he unsurprisingly took the offer to move to Saudi Arabia and become one of the best-paid players in the world.

The 35-year-old was given a lavish farewell ceremony when the move was announced – too right given his 354 goals in 648 appearances, five Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles.

Benzema has notched a respectable tally of three goals and two assists in seven appearances for reigning Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad.

The build-up to his latest goal suggests that the Saudi Pro League is a step or two behind the level he was accustomed to at Madrid.

Marco Asensio 

Having arrived as a fresh-faced teenager from Mallorca back in 2014, Asensio went on to make almost 300 appearances for Los Blancos – his nine years at the Bernabeu coincided with one of the most successful periods in the club’s storied history.

The winger reportedly turned down more than one contract renewal offer before waving goodbye in search of a new challenge at PSG.

He scored two goals in his first three appearances for Luis Enrique’s side, having deputized as a centre-forward during Kylian Mbappe’s early-season absence, but a bruised foot injury has kept him out of action since early September.

Eden Hazard

Still Real Madrid’s record signing, the Belgian spent four years with the club. He scored just four La Liga goals and never once featured in El Clasico.

Los Blancos unsurprisingly agreed to terminate his contract a year early in the summer, prompting speculation that he might look to rekindle his career elsewhere. Finally, in October, he came to the decision to hang up his boots at the age of 32.

“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time. After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer,” Hazard posted on social media.

“I was able to realise my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world.”

Madrid, Spain. 13th May, 2023. Eden Hazard of Real Madrid CF during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Getafe CF played at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on May 13, 2023 in Madrid, Spain.

READ: The six players Real Madrid signed alongside Hazard & how they fared

Mariano Diaz

Madrid exercised their buy-back option on the striker back in 2018. He was only ever a back-up to Benzema but a return of just three goals in the last four seasons demonstrated he was not the man to step into the legendary striker’s shoes this summer.

Diaz was released at the end of his contract in June and replaced by Joselu. On deadline day he agreed to join Sevilla, linking up with his former Los Blancos team-mate Sergio Ramos.

He’s played just 26 minutes across two substitute appearances this season and is yet to score or assist.

READ NEXT: The ex-Real Madrid hype machine courted by Man City & Chelsea that wants a second chance

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player Real Madrid have signed from the Premier League?