A look back at the French players who played for the club in the Spanish capital


Obviously, the love story between Real Madrid and French players does not date from today. The capital club has always sought the services of French footballers. The recent signing of 22-year-old midfielder Aurélien Tchouameni is an eloquent example of the merengue club’s interest in players from France. But how many are playing at Real Madrid? Who are these French? And what happened to those among them who had already hung up their crampons? Here are the results of our little survey.

The complete list of French players who played at Real Madrid

Aurelien Tchouameni is the 15th French player to join the Spanish club since its creation in 1902. The first to have played for Real Madrid is the striker Rene Petit. He spent 3 seasons there between 1914 and 1917. After him, it is the legendary Raymond Kopa who will put on the white tunic. He will have marked the spirits on the side of the Spanish capital, especially in the years 1956.

The Frenchman will finally spend 3 years (1956-1959) during which he will have won 4 Champions Leagues with the Los Blancos. Following the legend Raymond Kopa, it is necessary to wait 38 years to see another tricolor player join the merengue club again. So in 1997, Christian Karembeu arrived at Real Madrid and stayed there for 3 seasons where he lifted 2 Champions League titles.

In 1999, Nicolas Anelka was recruited by Real Madrid but his adventure was cut short in 2000 but he still won the Champions League against Valencia. After the departures of Karembeu and Anelka, the Spanish club sets its sights on the Congolese-born midfielder Claude Makelele. The French will spend 3 seasons in Spain where he is still considered to this day as the best in his position.

In 2001, Real Madrid attracts the Golden Ball 1998 Zinedine Zidane from Juventus Turin. The French will be an essential pawn of the « Galactic » team formed by President Florentino Pérez. The midfield metronome will spend 5 seasons where he won the Champions League in 2002 against Bayer Leverkusen. He scores the winning goal with a nice volley with his left foot.

After ZZ, we have to wait until 2009 to see French players again at Real Madrid. The Lyon striker Karim Benzemamidfielder Lassana Diarra and winger Julien Faubert settled down in the Iberian capital. If the first still evolves at the club and has just won his 5th Champions League, the second tricolor spends 3 years at the club. On the other hand, J. Faubert is only 6 months old.

In 2011, Real Madrid recruited the young Lensois defender Raphael Varane who will spend a total of 10 years where he won 4 Champions Leagues with the Spanish club. Six years later, the merengue club takes the French left side Theo Hernandez. But faced with competition for this position, the young tricolor plays less and leaves the club after two seasons where he won the Champions League in 2018.

A year later, it was the turn of Ferland Mendy and of Alphonse Areola to put their suitcases in the club of the Spanish capital. The goalkeeper who came on loan from PSG will not be retained at the end of the season by Real Madrid. In 2021, the merengue club is recruiting Eduardo Camavinga French midfielder playing at Stade Rennais.

What happened to them after they left?

Passed from life to death on October 14, 1989, René Petit made a brief stint at the club Real Union de Irun after his career at Real. Anyone who pursued engineering studies simultaneously with his football career then chose this profession as a retraining. As for Raymond Kopa, he continued his football career for nearly a decade after his time at Real Madrid but in France at the Stade de Reims.

The cleats hung up, the one who was nicknamed « the Napoleon of football » successively converted to commerce, and made appearances in the governing bodies of French football and became a consultant for the radio. At home at Real Madrid, “Zizou” is taking advantage of the end of his playing career to graduate as a coach, just like Claude Makelele (PSG, Bastia, Swansea, AS Eupen).

Assistant to Carlo Ancelotti during the conquest of La Decima, Zinedine Zidane returns to the Real Madrid bench as a coach where he won 3 successive Champions Leagues between 2016 and 2018. The rest of the French players who played for Real Madrid are still in operation. Karim Benzema has just been extended for a year at Real Madrid. Ferland Mendy is threatened at his post with the arrival of Antonio Rüdiger.

Indeed, the idea will be to reposition Alaba on the left flank of the Madrid defense. Raphaël Varane, who left for Manchester United last summer, is continuing his career there. Théo Hernandez has just won Serie A this season with AC Milan where he has become a senior player in the Lombard club’s squad.


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