Throughout the history of Atletico Madrid which dates all the way back to 1903, there have been some all-time great players that were brought in thanks to genius signing from the front office. However, there have also been some massive overpays of players who wound up not being worth the millions spent. With that said, here are the five worse signings in Atletico Madrid history. Before we start the list, some of the players who just missed the cut include Valencia Train, Dani Carvahlo, and Carlos Gamarra
While Kiki Musampa was excellent at free kicks, there wasn’t much else that he brought to the table for Atletico Madrid, unfortunately. Musampa, a native of Zaire, began his professional career with Ajax in 1994. After three years with the club, he made his way to Bordeaux and then Malaga where he had 22 goals in 96 league appearances.
Atletico spent €3 million to acquire Musampa from Malaga and gave him a five-year contract. Musampa lasted for just three years, however, and only appeared in 34 league matches as he played more matches for Manchester City on loan than with Atletico. After getting off to a decent start, Musampa was benched and his appearances became more sparse.
The first player on the list is Roman Kosecki, who began his professional career with RKS Mirkow in 1982. Kosecki then made his way to RKS Ursus before breaking into a more visible spotlight with Gwardia Warszawa. The forward also played for Legia Warsaw, Galatasaray, and Osasuna. In July 1993, Atletico Madrid paid a €1.80 million fee to obtain Kosecki from Osasuna, which at the time was a massive deal.
Kosecki got off to a good start with the club, but things wouldn’t last for long. Despite being named the Polish footballer of the year in 1994, Kosecki struggled in the next year of his contract with Atletico Madrid and he was sent to FC Nantes after fewer than 60 league matches. While it wasn’t the most egregious bust of all time, Kosecki cost a ton of money to obtain and didn’t live up to the hype.
Diego Ribas (or simply Diego) has been on the list of disappointing signings for a couple of clubs throughout his career. The Brazilian midfielder began his career with Santos and showed a lot of potential, landing with Porto in 2004. Diego then spent three years with Werder Bremen where he was a star but ended up being a disappointment with Juventus. After being signed to VfL Wolfsburg, Diego was loaned to Atletico Madrid, then returned in 2014 for a brief period.
Diego appeared in a total of 43 league matches for Atletico Madrid, scoring just four times over that span. Despite his lack of production, Diego really liked being part of the club. In both of his farewells, he took the time to thank the fans for their support. It wasn’t a tragic signing by any means, but it simply was one that didn’t live up to the hype. For Diego, his time with Atletico was essentially a microcosm of his career.
Portuguese midfielder Hugo Leal spent his career with a lot of clubs. In 1997, he made his professional debut with Benfica, and during his two years there was loaned out to Alverca. Prior to playing for Paris Saint-Germain, Salamanca, Porto, and many others, Leal was part of Atletico Madrid for two years. Things went south in a hurry for Atletico Madrid after the acquisition.
In his first year, Leal scored just one goal and was immediately sent off after scoring. The club was relegated that season in an extremely rare occurrence and couldn’t rebound back into La Liga in his second year. Leal didn’t miss a lot of time compared to some of the other poor signings in football history, but the big spending at a time of relegation is one that Atletico fans certainly won’t forget.
Jackson Martinez was tabbed as the next football superstar, and the Colombian forward proved that he could score early on in his career. Martinez started his career with Independiente Medellin, scoring 41 times in his 106 appearances. Martinez then kept the success going with Chiapas and Porto. With the latter club, Martinez scored a whopping 67 times in his 90 league matches.
Martinez was given a four-year contract, with Atletico spending €35 million to acquire his services. He ended up not blending well with the playstyle, and struggled to find the starting lineup, let alone the net. Martinez played in just 15 La Liga matches for Atletico, scoring only twice, before he was sent to Guangzhou Evergrande in China before ending his playing days with Portimonense.