Being two of the biggest clubs in soccer, Spain's giants Real Madrid and Barcelona have developed this habit of fielding only the world's best players in their quest for further domination in club soccer. They've worked really hard into developing the kind of reputation where every prominent soccer player wants to play for them in their careers, as both clubs have used their popularity to good use. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have roped in some of the most talented soccer players over the years, and while many players succeeded for the clubs, some didn't turn out as good as they were expected to be.
The rivals from Spain have both made some very bad signings over the years and brought in players who would completely failed to impress for them. Real Madrid has this reputation of making big signings with their "Galacticos" period, proving the financial strength they have. On the other hand, Barcelona likes to develop their own stars and sign players while they are still young so that they can grow in the club. But both these sides have had their share of bad players over the years, who were brought in on the basis of their "blooming talent", but ended up having terrible experiences playing for these teams.
While there have been some very talented players who just couldn't perform for these clubs, some very poor players have also played for Real Madrid and Barcelona. So here we'll have a look at 12 of the worst Real Madrid and Barcelona players of all time!
24 Barcelona: Jeffren Suarez
Before there was Luis Suarez to win matches for Barcelona with his fantastic goal-scoring ability, there was another Suarez in Jeffren Suarez to have played for Barcelona. But Jeffren didn't enjoy anything prolific at Barcelona and despite spending many years in their famous youth teams, he just failed to impress in the bigger leagues. Suarez was called upon by Pep Guardiola to lead the line for Barcelona, but his lack of confidence and poor performances reduced him into a bench-warmer. In three seasons with Barcelona, Suarez only played 22 games and scored three goals! His impressive goal-scoring ability had seemingly vanished when it came to playing for Barcelona and Suarez's awful tenure at Barcelona proved how he wasn't meant for the "big leagues".
23 Real Madrid: Walter Samuel
Walter Samuel was brought in to be a leader in the defense for Real Madrid, who were struggling to keep out goals for quite some-time prior to his signing. Samuel's impressive tenure with AS Roma made Madrid shell out over $30 million for him, but Samuel ended up being a bust. He just couldn't seem to adapt himself at Real Madrid and was extremely error-prone during his time playing for them. Samuel failed to be defensive general Madrid wanted and his underwhelming tenure made Los Blancos sell him the next season for a cut-price. Samuel only survived a single season at Real Madrid and earned the reputation of a complete failure at that.
22 Barcelona: Arda Turan
Arda Turan had quite the impressive time playing for Atletico Madrid and his amazing skills as a creative, goal-scoring midfielder made Barcelona sign him up for a big price of almost $47 million in 2015. Tuarn was extremely prolific for Atletico, but couldn't seem to adapt to the different playing style of Barcelona. He struggled with some nagging injuries and was not up to his ordinary standards whilst playing for Barcelona. Turan had some poor years with Barca, only scoring 5 goals and making 36 appearances for them. He was eventually loaned out to be Turkish club and because of the way Turan underperformed for Barcelona, he'll be regarded as one of their biggest flops in a long time.
21 Real Madrid: Antonio Cassano
Antonio Cassano was one of the brightest talents in Italy when Real Madrid decided to sign him in 2006 after watching him produce some stunning stuff playing for AS Roma. But Cassano would turn out to be a bad signing soon after and earned a very bad reputation among Madrid's staff and fans in general. He was accused of over-eating and was actually fined for every gram which he gained through the bad eating habits. Cassano had a bad time in Madrid, which was filled with controversies and problems with people within the team. He ended up making only 22 appearances and scoring three goals for them and is regarded to be one of the biggest disasters in the modern era.
20 Barcelona: Martin Caceres
Martin Caceres might've blossomed as a soccer player in recent years, but he was quite the promising talent when he signed for Barcelona in 2008. He was signed for a decent fee of over $20 million but went onto completely bomb for the Catalonian club. Caceras started his Barcelona career off decently, but injuries and lack of consistency soon pushed him out of the first-team picture. He ended up being loaned twice in the next two seasons, before finally being shipped off Juventus. Caceres had a complete nightmare at Barcelona and ended up being a gamble which terribly failed for Barclona, who saw all their money go to waste.
19 Real Madrid: Elvir Baljic
Elvir Baljic was quite the sensation in European soccer when Real Madrid decided to sign him and his impressive performances for Fenerbahce made Los Blancos spend up a big figure to attain his services. Baljic was known to be a quick, terrorizing winger who loved to score and create goals, but his time at Real Madrid was absolutely awful. Baljic was plagued with injuries, one that kept him out for months, and could only make around 11 league appearances for Madrid. He came on as a substitute on 8 of those occasions and scored only a single goal in his poor season with Madrid. In the end, he ended up being a complete bust for them and was quickly shipped off elsewhere.
18 Barcelona: Geovanni
Geovanni was looking like the up and coming top Brazilian talent when he came into the fray at Barcelona and while the club put a lot of faith in him, he couldn't manage to repay it to them that well. Geovanni ended up having a very bad phase at Barcelona, where he couldn't click at all and failed to display the majestic style which had convinced them to bring him into the club in the first place. Geovanni ended up only making 26 appearances for Barcelona, scoring only one in his two seasons with them. He would also have problems with manager Carlos Rexach later on and his Barcelona career ended on a horrible note after spending his last season in obscurity.
17 Real Madrid: Pedro Leon
Pedro Leon was a rising sensation in Spain when Real Madrid decided to sign him in 2010 and meant for him to be the star winger in their team. But Leon couldn't manage to impress manager Jose Mourinho at all and would have a really bad time playing for Los Blancos, in which he only made six appearances for the club in his season. Leon was later ridiculed by Mourinho for his lack of improvement or desire to be in the team and ended up having a few really rough last months at Madrid. Eventually, after a few loan terms, Leon was sold to Getafe and had earned a really bad reputation among Madrid fans for his disappointing tenure.
16 Barcelona: Jeremy Mathieu
Barcelona looked to Jeremy Mathieu to help solve their defensive frailties when he arrived at the club in 2014, but he ended up mounting even more pressure on their defense with his shaky nature. Mathieu might've suited their "ball-playing" and passing form of soccer, but he was a very topsy-turvy defender who had some nightmarish games for Barcelona. Mathieu's Barcelona career will mostly be remembered for some of the poor mistakes he made in big games and was eventually replaced because of his error-prone nature. Mathieu made only 62 appearances in his years at Barcelona and was one of the most unreliable defenders due to his inability to cope with the pressure of playing at a club like Barcelona.
15 Real Madrid: Nicolas Anelka
Nicolas Anelka was regarded as one of the best strikers in the world of soccer when Real Madrid signed him up for a hefty fee after he had impressed as part of EPL side Arsenal. But Anelka's game dropped after arriving at Madrid and he had an awful start to his Real Madrid career and a goal-drought nobody expected from him. Anelka failed to score a single goal in his first five months at the club, and would only score 2 goals in his all-total 19 appearances for Real Madrid. He turned out to be a horrible signing for Real Madrid and is regarded as one of their most underwhelming strikers because of his embarrassing record.
14 Barcelona: Ricardo Quaresma
Ricardo Quaresma had quite the unique talent and was one of the rising sensations in Europe when he arrived at Barcelona, who hoped he could grow as a player for the club. Quaresma was extremely prolific in his term at Portugal and was known for his impressive trickery and goal-scoring skills, but he failed to assert himself at Barcelona. It didn't seem like the playing-style suited him and Quaresma grew a frustrated figure with his consistently disappointing performances in Spain. He only scored a single goal in his 22 appearances for the club and saw his reputation plummet downwards after he was shipped off by Barcelona following his terrible season at the European heavyweights.
13 Real Madrid: Danilo
Danilo was meant to be a long-term player to fill the right-back position at Real Madrid for years to come when he was signed, but his poor performances made Madrid rethink their planning. Danilo was a pretty talented player before arriving in Madrid and it seemed like he couldn't cope with the pressure of playing for them. Danilo made 41 appearances in three years with Madrid and made many mistakes during the crunch games in which he was supposed to perform. He ended up making a fool of himself on many occasions and was often booked for his reckless style. In the end, Madrid grew tired of Danilo's error-prone nature and had to let him go after a poor tenure with them.
12 Barcelona: Emmanuel Petit
Emmanuel Petit was one of the most talented midfielders in the world prior to joining FC Barcelona, who had a lot of hopes for the World Cup winner to shine through for them. But Petite could never really fit into Barcelona's system that well and had a horrible experience whilst playing in Spain. He was mostly played out of position in defense and some nagging injuries further worsened his tenure at Barcelona. He only made 22 appearances and scored a single goal at that, before being sold to Chelsea after one season with the club. His awful tenure at Barcelona proved how signing him was a mistake.
11 Real Madrid: Julien Faubert
After having a great tenure at West Ham United, Julien Faubert's move to Real Madrid surprised many as Los Blancos showed urgency at signing this versatile player to improve their squad. Faubert had the talent of playing both as a winger and defender, but his tenure at Real Madrid would result in complete failure. After being signed on a loan and an option to permanently sign him for three years, Faubert failed to impress at Madrid and made only two appearances in his lone season. Faubert didn't help his cause by missing training and being caught sleeping on the bench during a game and would earn the reputation of being one of the worst players to have donned Real Madrid's jersey.
10 Barcelona: Winston Bogarde
Winston Bogarde had enjoyed playing for some top European clubs in Ajax and AC Milan before making his way to Louis Van Gaal's Barcelona, who opted to have a more rigid system and strong defense. While he proved to be a solid defender prior to his move to Spain, Bogarde struggled to impress at Barcelona and was plagued with injuries throughout his tenure. He only made 41 appearances for Barcelona and wasn't compelling in the center of defense at all. Bogarde ended up flopping badly at Barcelona, with his inconsistency and timely error-prone nature not allowing him to fit in well. He ended up being a complete bust for Barcelona, before moving to Chelsea, where he also had a nightmarish experience.
9 Real Madrid: Thomas Gravesen
Thomas Gravesen came as a peculiar signing for Real Madrid, because of his nature of being very aggressive, something which didn't really suit Los Blancos. Gravesen was mostly signed to fill the void in Madrid's midfield, but his aggressive style and controversial figure didn't suit them at all. Gravesen was riddled with problems at Madrid, with rumors of him leaving being rampant a few months after he had joined. He only made 34 appearances for Los Blancos and gave some very poor performances because of his aggressive style. He also had a scuffle with team-mate Robinho at training during an occasion, with his problematic attitude and underwhelming performances forcing Madrid to sell him a season after signing him.
8 Barcelona: Marc Overmars
Marc Overmars was widely regarded as one of the most talented wingers in the world of soccer during the late 90s and his terrific years at Dutch club Ajax convinced Barcelona to make him the most expensive Dutch player of all time when they signed him for almost $30 million in 2000. Overmars was to be the solution for Barcelona's attacking problems, but couldn't really prove himself as a world-class talent in his years playing for Barca. Overmars scored only 15 goals in 97 appearances for Barcelona and was pretty terrible on multiple occasions for them. He badly underperformed for Barca in his years at the club and earned the reputation of being one of the worst signings of the new century.
7 Real Madrid: Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate's signing came as a surprise to many Real Madrid fans, who couldn't understand why their club would splash the cash to sign a defender with a lot of injury problems. Woodgate didn't seem to have it in him to become the kind of leader Madrid needed at that time, having a bad start to his career in his debut match for Los Blancos. Woodgate would score an own goal and later be sent off in his debut, which proved how big a mistake Madrid had made in signing him. In total, Woodgate only made 9 appearances for Madrid and was adjourned as the worst signing of the 21s century, which proved how horrible he was for them.
6 Barcelona: Richard Dutruel
Barcelona have had some really poor goalkeepers in the past, but Richard Dutruel probably takes the cakes when it comes to their worst goalkeeper of all time. The goalkeeper was signed by Barca after impressing in Celta Vigo and would play second-fiddle to first team keeper Pepe Reina. But Dutruel was given his opportunities by Barcelona but was horrible whenever playing for them. He conceded 25 goals in the 22 games he played for them and, ironically, his only clean-sheet came against rivals Real Madrid. Dutruel proved to be a poor goalkeeper who was a nightmare for his own team-mates and ended up earning the reputation of being one of their worst players of all time.
5 Real Madrid: Michael Owen
Michael Owen was at the absolute top of his game when he made the high-profile move from Liverpool to Real Madrid in 2004 and Los Blancos added another one to their "Galacticos" team with this former Balon d'Or winner. Owen had earned the reputation of being a brilliant goalscorer in England, but after moving to Madrid, signs of decline in his game were apparent. Owen was extremely disappointing for Madrid and is widely considered as a terrible signing by their fans. He only scored 13 goals in his 36 appearances for the club and spent only one season with Los Blancos. Owen's inability to impress made his tenure terrible and made him one of the worst players to have donned their jersey.
4 Barcelona: Alfonso Perez
Alfonso Perez was actually originally a graduate from the Real Madrid youth academy and even played for Los Blancos, but didn't really have the most prolific periods there. He was later signed by Barcelona, who hoped his goal-scoring ability could help them in 2000. But Perez ended up as an even bigger bust for Barcelona and only made 21 appearances for them in his two years with the club. Perez only netted two goals for Barcelona and was mostly awful for them whenever he entered the pitch to play. He ended up as not only a terrible signing but also one of the worst strikers to play for Barcelona for a long, long time.
3 Real Madrid: Dejan Petkovic
Dejan Petkovic was a terrific player for European side Red Star Belgrade, but his career took a downward spiral when he decided to join Real Madrid in December 1995. That decision would prove to be costly for Petkovic, who absolutely failed to settle down in Madrid and had a terribly short-lived career there. He only made 5 appearances for Real Madrid and was sent on a loan two weeks after signing on with the club. Petkovic just couldn't fit in at Madrid and his awful performances further deterred his reputation in the club. His Real Madrid career would be a massive flop in the end and Petkovic has since earned the reputation of being among their worst players ever.
2 Barcelona: Maxi Lopez
Maxi Lopez was someone full of potential, which is why Barcelona brought him into the club in 2005 and gave him chances when their main striker Henrik Larsson was injured. While Lopez made a terrific start to his Barcelona career, scoring with his first shot on target for the club, everything went terribly downhill from that. He only scored one more goal for Barcelona and made 13 league appearances for them. Lopez's inconsistency and poor performances made him a really underwhelming striker for Barcelona. After two years at the club, Lopez was shipped off by Barcelona who were definitely left embarrassed at having signed such an inefficient striker who is regarded to be one of their worst ever.
1 Real Madrid: Royston Drenthe
Royston Drenthe was regarded as one of the best young talents in the world of soccer before making the "big jump" to Real Madrid, who saw him as a future star for them. Drenthe's ability to play anywhere in the left-wing impressed Madrid, but his terrible performances for the club soon turned his reputation upside-down. Drenthe just couldn't manage to perform well at Real Madrid and consistently poor performances made him lose his place in the team as well. He only made 46 appearances for Madrid, many of which were as a substitute. Drenthe couldn't cope up with the pressure and his horrible outing at the club means that he's widely recognized to be one of the most useless players to have played for Los Blancos.