Where are they now? The 11 players who left Real Madrid alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018

The footballing world stood still when Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid was confirmed in the summer of 2018, off the back of winning his fourth Champions League with the club.

A five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Los Blancos had likely extracted the very best out of Ronaldo in his mammoth nine-year spell, but he still had plenty of life left in him as perhaps the most lethal goal scorer in world football.

Juventus – desperate to taste European success once again – tempted Real to sell with a mammoth £99.2million deal and, just like that, Ronaldo was headed to Turin.

It was difficult at first, but Real quickly acclimatised to life after Ronaldo and the Old Lady’s deal to sign him largely blew up in their face. Real sold a further five players that summer and loaned out several who ended up leaving permanently. We’ve checked in on how they’ve fared since.

To clarify – we haven’t included Andriy Lunin, who left in the same summer as Ronaldo, but only on loan as he also signed for the first time that summer.

Fabio Coentrao

Ronaldo’s fellow countryman, Coentrao had long been surplus to requirements by the time he left Real upon the expiry of his contract in 2018, having joined back in 2011.

He returned to Rio Ave for a third spell that summer, spending a year back with the Portuguese side before retiring after not finding a club for the 2019-20 season, only to go back on his decision and sign with them again in January 2020. He’s remained retired since 2021.

Philipp Lienhart

Lienhart has had a strong career since leaving Real in 2018, spending four years with the club and eventually featuring as a substitute in the Copa Del Rey, but being unable to break in beyond that.

Los Blancos had loaned him out to SC Freiburg for the 2017-18 campaign and that deal was made permanent in the same summer Ronaldo departed. Lienhart, now 27, has remained at Freiburg ever since and can be considered one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga right now. He’s also been capped 24 times for Austria.

Omar Mascarell

Playing at just about every level for Real from the youth teams right through to the first team, Mascarell was sold in 2016 to Eintracht Frankfurt, but Real activated his buy-back clause for just €4million in June 2018, only to sell him that same window to fellow Bundesliga side Schalke for a profit.

He’s now back in Spain and La Liga with Mallorca after three years with Schalke and a spell with Elche. Mascarell is now also an international for Equatorial Guinea, despite representing Spain at youth level. The 31-year-old made his debut in June 2024.

Lucas Torro

In a similar deal to Mascarell, Real activated a buy-back clause inserted into Torro’s contract in 2018, bringing him back from Osasuna, only to sell him to Eintracht Frankfurt in the same summer for profit.

Torro replaced the hole left behind by Mascarell when he was pulled out of Frankfurt and spent two years in Germany, before returning to Osasuna for a second spell. He’s clearly found comfort in Pamplona, having remained there ever since.

Achraf Hakimi

2018 proved to be the permanent end of Hakimi’s time at Real Madrid despite initially leaving on loan, spending two years at Borussia Dortmund before officially departing in 2020 to Inter.

The Moroccan full-back signed for Paris Saint-Germain after a season in Milan and has remained in the French capital ever since.

As of March 2023, he was being investigated by a judge in Paris over an allegation of rape of a 24-year-old woman, and placed under judicial supervision. He was charged in the months following, according to reports. An outcome is yet to be determined.

Mateo Kovacic

A young Kovacic had a hard time finding minutes in a midfield comprised of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro and made a switch to Chelsea in the summer of 2018.

The deal was initially a loan, but was made permanent the following summer as they won the Europa League.

His importance to the side increased significantly under Frank Lampard and he was named Chelsea’s Player of the Year for 2019-20.

He signed for Manchester City last summer off the back of their treble-winning campaign, and lifted the Premier League in his first season with the club.

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Theo Hernandez

2018 proved to be the end of the line at Real for Hernandez too, who after a loan spell to Real Sociedad in 2018-19, joined Milan permanently the following summer.

He’s blossomed into arguably the best left-back in the world with the Rossoneri, proving integral to their revival under Stefano Pioli, becoming one of the team’s most consistent goal and assist threats – no, really – and helping them lift the Scudetto in 2021-22.

Hernandez has even proven handy at slotting in at centre-back and has now been capped 31 times by France. We wouldn’t be surprised if Real try and re-sign the 26-year-old in the not-too-distant future.

Martin Odegaard

With heaps of pressure on his shoulders from the moment he signed for Real as a 16-year-old, Odegaard has done tremendously well to carve out a senior career away from the club at all, never mind one so impressive so far.

He left in 2018 on what would become a two-year loan with Real Sociedad, helping to knock his parent club out of the Copa Del Rey before returning in 2020.

The Norweigan was gone again shortly after, though, signing for Arsenal on loan in January 2021, in a deal that became permanent that summer. He’s since blossomed into the Gunners’ chief creator and captain. Imperious.

These players were tipped for stardom in 2017

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Borja Mayoral

A two-year loan to Levante was the second of several loans away from Real as Mayoral’s career at Los Blancos faded away. He later played for Roma and then returned to La Liga with Getafe, where he signed a permanent deal in 2022.

He finished the 2023-24 season with 15 La Liga goals.

Oscar Rodriguez

The Spanish midfielder’s two-year loan to Leganes was successful on a personal level and saw him finish as the club’s top scorer in 2019-20 despite them being relegated from the top-flight.

He signed for Sevilla permanently after that, but has spent the bulk of his time since out on loan once again, most recently with Getafe.

Raul de Tomas

A bit of a weird one, De Tomas spent the 2017-18 campaign out on loan at Rayo Vallecano, returned and signed a new deal over the summer, then left for a second loan at Rayo before leaving permanently in 2019, signing for Benfica.

The striker only spent one season in Portugal before returning to Spain and finally inked a permanent deal with Rayo in 2022, where he has remained since, although the goals have been hard to come by. He finished the 2023-24 campaign with just one La Liga goal.