3 forgotten Real Madrid players from the 2010’s worth remembering

Real Madrid (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Lassana Diarra (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Lassana Diarra (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images) /

2. Lassana Diarra

We often see creative midfielders taking the No.10 jersey at any club. Still, at Real Madrid, that number was owned by a defensive midfielder for two years, before being reclaimed by an attacking midfielder in Mesut Ozil. That player was Lassana Diarra, who played for Real Madrid from 2009 to 2012.

The Frenchman was signed from Portsmouth in January 2009, for a fee of 20 million euros. The club valued his signing so much that they preferred him to another winter signing Klass Jan-Huntelaar when they had the option of picking only one new signing for the Champions League knockouts.

He was used in almost every LaLiga game in his first season at Real but eventually saw his importance reduce in 2009/10, after the signing of the legendary Xabi Alonso. He was left out of the squad for some games, but he was used well and got over 2000 minutes in all competitions.

The actual challenge started for him when Jose Mourinho, a manager with whom he fell out at Chelsea, became the Madrid manager. The Portuguese manager didn’t see the midfielder as someone who should start every game but chose the right oppositions to unleash Diarra as a starter. And the fact that Diarra could play in multiple positions wasn’t ignored by Mourinho.

Diarra didn’t have the most intimidating physical structure, but he was one strong player. He was a relentless workhorse and a proper destroyer with excellent defensive skills. He wasn’t a highly creative player, but his ability to win the ball out of nowhere helped the team launch lightning-quick counterattacks.

Following the signing of Sami Khedira in 2011, Diarra realised that his minutes would significantly reduce and wanted to leave the club. But he stayed for another season and became a part of the team that won the LaLiga title, playing more than 1600 minutes. He finally left the club in the 2012 summer for the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, after spending three and a half seasons in Madrid. Ironically, it was the longest time he had spent at any club in his career.

The last club that employed Diarra was PSG, and the Frenchman retired from professional football in 2019, after the Qatar-owned club terminated his contract.

Diarra was never really seen as a Madrid star, but he was a good squad player, who could perform whenever he was asked to do so. It never looked like he was going to stay at the club for a long time, but he had a decent time in his Madrid stint.