Real Madrid stars who quit the club and showed they were world class elsewhere, including Rodriguez, Robben and Makelele

JAMES RODRIGUEZ, Claude Makelele and Arjen Robben are just three players that have seen their careers improve after departing Real Madrid.

Playing for the 13-time European champions is usually seen as the pinnacle of a footballer's career, however the trio have shown that leaving the Bernabeu is sometimes for the better.

Here SunSport looks at five players that have thrived since leaving Real.


The Colombian playmaker linked up with Everton in the summer on an initial two-year deal, with Toffees bringing him in on a free transfer.

Everton look like a team transformed with the ex-Monaco ace in their starting XI, with James chipping in with three goals and four assists in his first six outings.

His stunning form has led Madrid chiefs to become angry with Zinedine Zidane over his treatment at the player.

It may be early in his Everton career, but he has arguably been the Premier League's top performer so far this term.


Another player that swapped La Liga for the English top-flight, the defensive midfielder left for Chelsea in 2003.

During his three season stay at Real, he won the league twice, while also winning the Champions League, Club World Cup and Uefa Super Cup.

He was then instrumental in Chelsea's title-winning campaigns in 2005 and 2006.

Makelele left Stamford Bridge in 2008 to join Paris Saint-Germain after five trophy-laden campaigns, where he had his position named after him in honour of his dazzling displays.


Signed from Chelsea in 2007, the Dutch forwad helped Madrid win LaLiga in his opening season, before notching in eight goals the following campaign.

In the summer of 2009 he was forced out after the club brought in Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, with Bayern Munich signing him for £21million.

And it was in Bavaria that he became one of the most feared wingers in Europe as he banged in 144 goals in 309 games.

He called time on his career in Germany in 2019 after winning the Bundesliga title eight times, the Champions League once and the German Cup five times.

Robben sits eighth on the list of Bayern's all-time top goalscorers.


Like Robben, Seedorf was forced out of the club in 1999 with the club in dire need of funds.

Seedorf won the LaLiga title as well as the Champions League at the Bernabeu, but there was no room for sentiment as they offloaded him to Italy.

Speaking of his move to Inter Milan, he said: "The club needed money, and I was the highest ticket."

He then joined AC Milan in a swap deal with Francesco Coco leaving to join Inter, and it was with the Rossoneri that the midfielder created history.

After winning the Champions League in 2003 with Milan, he became the first person to win the European Cup with three different teams – the first being at Ajax in 1995.

In 2007 he won the trophy again after Milan beat Liverpool 2-1, and in doing so, he was named as Uefa's best midfielder.

He left Milan in 2012 having scored 63 times in 431 games, where he also helped the club win the Serie A title twice.


Another Dutchman that was shown the door by Real, the ex-Ajax maestro was deemed as surplus to requirements in 2009 following the arrivals of Kaka and Xabi Alonso.

He subsequently joined Inter, where he won a historic treble in his first season.

No other player assisted more times in the Champions League during the 2009-10 campaign, with Sneijder also named as Uefa's Midfielder of the Year.

That summer he helped Holland reach the World Cup final where they lost to Spain.

As a result of his performances, he was awarded the Silver Ball after scoring five goals during the tournament in South Africa.

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