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THE STORY IN SHORT VIDEOS

THE STORY IN SHORT ESSAYS

Regret 20 – 16: From the “King of Colombia” to the “Ryan Giggs of Bosnia”

20. Edwin Congo: The King of Bogota – From Once Caldas for €5m | 1999

MIAMI, UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 09: LAENDERSPIEL 1999 DEUTSCHLAND - KOLUMBIEN 3:3 (GER - COL), Miami, Florida; Edwin CONGO/COL, Lothar MATTHAEUS/GER, Arley BETANCOURT, Ivan Ramiro CORDOBA/COL (Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images)
MIAMI, UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 09: LAENDERSPIEL 1999 DEUTSCHLAND - KOLUMBIEN 3:3 (GER - COL), Miami, Florida; Edwin CONGO/COL, Lothar MATTHAEUS/GER, Arley BETANCOURT, Ivan Ramiro CORDOBA/COL (Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images)

Around the turn of the millennium, all of Colombia was talking about Edwin Congo. Who the F…. is he?

Do you know the feeling when you go into a store and buy something “cool”? Three years later, you notice that you haven’t used the “cool thing” even once and that it’s still catching dust in its original packaging?

That is exactly what happened with Edwin Congo and Real Madrid. After an impressive season at Once Caldas, the player from Colombia was signed by Real Madrid in 1999.

During his three years with the Galacticos, he didn’t play a single game. He spent his entire contract on loan with other teams.


Regret factor at Real Madrid:
High, the player was a total flop.

What did Real Madrid regret?
Everything – the purchase and the sale, which did not bring in any money.


 

19. Javier Portillo: The product from Castilla – From Real’s own youth | 2000

Javier Portillo - aus der eigenen Jugend. Foto: Getty Images
Javier Portillo - aus der eigenen Jugend. Foto: Getty Images

When he scored the goal against Borussia Dortmund that took Real to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2002, no one in Madrid doubted the young Spaniard’s abilities.

However, things quickly changed for the worse, and the signing of Ruud Van Nistelrooy meant that Portillo played less and less.

The competition in the form of “Van The Man” and goal scoring machines Raul and Ronaldo was too strong. Portillo was forced to look for a new team.

Transfers to Gimnastic, Osasuna, Hercules and Las Palmas followed, but Javier never developed his full potential. He always remained a talent that wasn’t able to deliver on the expectations placed on him.


Regret factor for Real Madrid:
Medium, again a talent from the club’s own youth that didn’t make it

What did Real Madrid regret?
The sale, because again a talent didn’t achieve a breakthrough, despite being very talented.


 

18. Javier Balboa: Another one out of the Academy - From Real’s youth | 2006

Javier Balboa schaffte den Durchbruch bei Real Madrid nicht. Foto: Getty Images
Javier Balboa schaffte den Durchbruch bei Real Madrid nicht. Foto: Getty Images
Equatorial Guinea is by no means a big footballing nation. The number of professional football players who have achieved a successful career in Europe can be counted on one hand.

However, one of them made it to the biggest club in the world.

When Bernd Schuster took over the reins in Madrid, he talked excitedly about the young player from Equatorial Guinea. The consequence: his contract was extended until 2011 and Balboa was allowed to play for Real’s first squad.

In 2007, Balboa managed a total of 7 appearances, including a Champions League match against Olympiacos Piraeus. But that was all he achieved in the Real shirt. One year later, Balboa was sent to Benfica, followed by detours to Cartagena, Albacete, Beira-Mar and Estoril. Eventually, he ended his football career on the Arabian Peninsula, wearing the shirt of top Qatar club Al-Messaimer.


Regret factor for Real Madrid:
Medium, another of Real’s own talents that didn‘t ….

What did Real Madrid regret?
The sale, because again a talent didn’t achieve a breakthrough, despite being very talented.


 

17. Gary Kagelmacher: From Montevideo to Madrid – On loan from Danubio FC | 2008

Gary Kagelmacher war gut genug für 1860 München. Foto: Getty Images
Gary Kagelmacher war gut genug für 1860 München. Foto: Getty Images

One or two football fans from Germany might still remember the name Gary Kagelmacher.

Between 2014 and 2016, the player from Uruguay played almost 60 games for 1860 Munich and was one of the club’s most important defenders. However, only few fans know that his first European club was Real Madrid.

In 2007, the then 19-year-old made the move from Danubio to Real Madrid. One year later, he played in his first and only game for Los Blancos. He made his debut for the club on the last match day of the season against Osasuna. He was send on loan to Belgium before the start of the next term.

Placements in Monaco and Valenciennes followed, but he certainly made the biggest impact in Munich. He was by no means a bad player, but simply not good enough for Real Madrid.


Regret factor for Real Madrid:
Low – a bad purchase like that of Kagelmacher is hardly noticable in the history of the club.

What did Real Madrid regret?
Not much – the transfer wasn’t meaningful enough overall.


 

16. Elvir Baljic: The Ryan Giggs of Bosnia – From Fenerbahce for €26m | 1999

Der "bosnische Ryan Giggs" schaffte es nicht in Madrid - Foto: Getty Images
Der "bosnische Ryan Giggs" schaffte es nicht in Madrid - Foto: Getty Images
Once among the most expensive players in the world, then a singer and today a manager – that has been the carrier of the “Ryan Giggs of Bosnia”. Until the transfer of Edin Dzeko in 2011, Elvir Baljic was the most expensive player from Bosnia. To this day, he is regarded as one of the best players the country has ever produced.

After 18 goals in 30 games for Fenerbahce Istanbul, John Toshack, Real’s manager at the time, brought Elvir Baljic to Madrid for the hefty sum of 26 million euros. Injury problems limited his playing time, and in his first season with Real he only played in 11 games and only scored a single goal. The following season, John Toshack was fired and Vicente del Bosque took over at the club. Unfortunately for Baljic, this also meant that he had to find a new home.

After being sent on loan to Fenerbahce and Rayo Vallecano, he was transferred back to Galatasaray in 2002. However, he was never able to rediscover his old form, and he eventually opted for a career as a musician.

Things didn’t go much better for him there, so he returned to football a few years  later. Baljic was part of the coaching staff of Safet Susic, who lead Bosnia to their first World Cup in Brazil. Today, he is managing a club of his own, but who knows, maybe we will soon see him with a microphone in hand again.


Regret factor for Real Madrid:
High, the player was expensive and flopped completely.

What did Real Madrid regret?
Everything – the purchase and the sale, which didn’t bring any money.


 

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25 Signings Real Madrid Still Regret Today

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