As one of the most successful football clubs in Europe, there have been some incredible moments throughout Real Madrid history. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s all been sunshine and rainbows. In fact, there have been times of immense pain for Real Madrid supporters, with some moments that looked like they might set the club back for years. Here are five of the worst moments in Real Madrid history, in no particular order.
1989 European League Semis
Real Madrid is no stranger to winning the UEFA Champions League, even when it was called the European Cup for decades. In fact, Real won the first five cups with wins over four different clubs. After its win in 1960, it would be 40 years until the club reclaimed the title. There were some close calls along the way, including Real reaching the semifinals of the 1989 European Cup.
Real was up against Milan, and things looked decent after the first match with the teams drawing 1-1. In the second match, however, things got out of hand quickly. Carlo Ancelotti and Franklin Rijkaard netted goals in the 18th and 25th minute, respectively, while Ruud Gullit made it a 3-0 match at halftime. Madrid came out flat in the second half as Milan netted two more in the 49th and 59th minutes, giving the club a 5-0 defeat en route to Milan shutting out Steaua Bucuresti for the European Cup title.
With the way he performed throughout the rest of his career, signing Eden Hazard should have been one of the best moments in Real Madrid history. After all, he had 36 goals during his 147 league matches with Lille, then turned it on while a member of Chelsea, scoring 85 times in league play. In 2019, Real Madrid signed Hazard until the summer of 2024 with a contract worth between €100 million and €146.1 million.
Needless to say, it didn’t end up being worth the money. Hazard seemed disinterested straight from the get-go, reporting to camp out of shape and suffering from injuries here and there that limited his playing time. At one point, Hazard had gone more than a full calendar year without netting a goal. While Real Madrid continued its success, it did so without Hazard for the most part.
Ending the 2018-19 Season
Pretty much anything that could have gone wrong for Real Madrid indeed did go wrong throughout the 2018-19 season. Despite not losing for the first five matches in league play, Real Madrid lost four of its next five en route to losing 12 times throughout the season while winning 21 and drawing five. Real Madrid finished third in the league table, which isn’t bad on paper, but there was a large gap between them and the top two teams.
At that point, Real Madrid had not lost more than 17 matches in over 20 years, but that would change during the final week of La Liga play. Real Madrid squared off against Real Betis, and were shut out 2-0 to wrap up the season with 18 losses. The club bowed out in the semis against Barcelona of the Copa del Rey and were knocked out by Ajax in the UEFA Champions League.
The Barca Beatdown
In the 2010-11 La Liga season, it appeared that Real Madrid was well on its way to cruising to a league title. In the first 12 matches, Real Madrid hadn’t lost, winning 10 of those matches while drawing with Mallorca and Levante. That would change in the 13th week, however, when El Clasico came up on the calendar. Real Madrid came out flat, and Barcelona took a major advantage.
Xavi scored in the 10th minute for Barca, with Pedro adding a second goal just eight minutes later. Instead of rebounding in the second half, Real Madrid came out even worse, surrendering two goals to David Villa in three minutes while Jeffren Suarez netted one of his own to make it 5-0. The match ended after Sergio Ramos received a red card in stoppage time, furthering the embarrassment. Barca went on to win La Liga by four points, with many pointing at this match as the deciding factor.
Outside of the Top 5
You don’t have to know much about football at all to correctly assume that Real Madrid is going to finish in the top five of La Liga. That wasn’t the case in the 1995-96 season, however, as Real finished the season in sixth place.
Real Madrid won 20 of its 42 matches, drawing 10 times and losing a dozen. What makes matters even worse is that the club had to scratch and claw at the end, finishing with four straight wins just to get to sixth place.