Julien Alex Thomas Faubert’s signing is possibly one of the most incomprehensible transfers in the history of Real Madrid. The Frenchman arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu in January 2009, on loan from West Ham, and from the very start his arrival was very controversial.
First of all, from a football perspective, both fans and press wondered what had Faubert done in his career to deserve a Real Madrid move, since he wasn’t even a guaranteed starter. In fact, it could be argued that his only merit in his professional life was being the first man to wear France’s number 10 after Zinedine Zidane retired.
Faubert’s signing was so embarrassing for Los Blancos, that no one inside the club took responsibility for it. The manager Juande Ramos, the sports director Pedja Mijatovic and the president Vicente Boluda publicly denied having something to do in the Frenchman’s signing. Something that made the doubts over Faubert’s performance grow even more.
The midfielder made his debut in a La Liga match against Racing Santander at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Frenchman came off the bench in the second half and Juande Ramos defined his performance as “dull”. That was a clear statement of intent from the Spaniard, who only gave Faubert 54 more minutes of play until the end of the season.
That made Faubert angry, as he showed in an interview with L’Equipe: “It is hard to live this. I don’t even know why I’m not playing. Nobody has explained it to me.” The fact that he was slightly overweight and his party lifestyle may better explain his lack of play minutes.
In fact, Faubert left a number of anecdotes in his short stay at Madrid. One Sunday he didn’t show up for training because he thought Juande Ramos has given the team a day off. “The boy made a mistake, that’s all, he knows there’s a club discipline to obey,” Sergio Ramos excused him.
Another funny situation he’s remembered by took place at El Madrigal in a match against Villarreal. Despite the fact that Los Blancos had to win that game in order to prevent Barcelona from winning the league title, Faubert didn’t care much about it and the TV cameras caught him sleeping on the bench.
Julien Faubert is still playing
With these precedents, nobody was surprised when Real Madrid decided not to keep him at the end of the season. That’s why the Frenchman returned to West Ham, where he spent two seasons, one of them playing in the Championship and being a regular starter.
Last season he moved to Turkish Elazigspor. However, despite having many appearances, he didn’t adapt to Turkish life and decided to leave in the winter. Last January he signed for Girondins de Bordeaux after a trial period. He’s still there, although the manager doesn’t count on him. This season he’s had seven appearances in the Ligue 1 and the Europa League, four of them coming in from the bench.
Yet, that is still more minutes of play than what he had at Real Madrid, a club from which Julien Faubert keeps good memories despite of all: “For me, playing at Real Madrid was a great experience, but that has passed and I have moved on. It wasn’t a sad time, although there were tough moments, but that helped me come back stronger.”