30-year-old French winger Julien Faubert was the subject of arguably the most bizarre signing in recent history.
Towards the end of the January transfer window in 2009, the former West Ham United winger somehow managed to find himself at the Bernabeu representing Real Madrid as Los Blancos paid the Hammers £1.5m for a six-month loan fee.
The deal sent shockwaves through the world of football. How did it happen?
To Julien Faubert’s credit, he was a one-time French international who was tipped for a bright future at French side Bordeaux in his early twenties.
Faubert joined West Ham United in 2007 for a reported £6.1m and was given a five-year contract. An unfortunate injury hampered his start at the club, however he returned at the beginning of 2008 and helped the Hammers to a top half Premier League finish.
However, the questions remains. What had Julien Faubert done in the calendar year of 2008 to deserve a move to Real Madrid?
Predictably, Julien Faubert failed to make any sort of impact in Madrid and made just two appearances in those six months – at a cost of £750,000 per game.
It was a huge low-point in Madrid’s recent history. They finished the season with just 78 points, losing ten games in total, including a 6-2 demolition by el clasico rivals Barcelona in front of their own fans at the Santiago Bernabeu – a far cry to where the club stands on this present day.
Thankfully for Real Madrid, at the end of the season Florentino Perez rejoined the club as president and promised a new galactico era. Cristiano Ronaldo was bought for a reported £80m, and the option included in Julien Faubert’s loan deal to purchase the player for €6m was rightfully declined.
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