Football Features

Ranked: Every known release clause at Real Madrid

By Harry Edwards

Published: 13:15, 9 August 2020

Arguably the biggest club in the world, and one of the wealthiest, Real Madrid are blessed with an enviable amount of riches both on and off the pitch.

The 13-time Champions League winners have some of the best players in the world on their cards, and are always looking to add to their ranks, building the new Galacticos. But Los Blancos still have to keep their current players secure from any team that may look to poach them, especially considering Spanish clubs are obliged to include release clauses in all player contracts.

While for some clubs this may add to the risk of losing their stars, teams like Real Madrid often set these release clauses at a prohibitively high amount, meaning they are in full control of their players’ futures – unless a rival digs deep into their pockets.

So, who would cost a rival team the most to steal from Real Madrid? We’ve ranked every Real Madrid player by their reported release clause below, from lowest to highest – although the club have remained tight-lipped on certain stars, who miss out.

22. Borja Mayoral

Position: Forward

Contract signed: 01/07/2016

Contract until: 30/06/2021

Release clause: €50m

Borja Mayoral has not had the best of Real Madrid careers since breaking into the first team, playing just 31 games for Los Blancos. The past two seasons have been spent on loan at Levante and Mayoral may not be a Madrid player for much longer.

21. Jesus Vallejo

Position: Defender

Contract signed: 31/07/2015

Contract until: 30/06/2021

Release clause: €100m

Another player who has spent more time away from Real Madrid than he has with the first-team, Jesus Vallejo has mustered just 19 appearances for Los Blancos but does have a release clause at €100m.

20. Lucas Vazquez

Position: Forward

Contract signed: 26/10/2016

Contract until: 31/06/2021

Release clause: €150m

Joining Real Madrid as a youngster, Lucas Vazquez has risen through the ranks at the club and enjoyed sustained spells in the starting XI. His playing time has taken a hit in recent years due to new signings and injuries, but he would cost €150m to take away from Real Madrid.

17=. Nacho Fernandez

Position: Defender

Contract signed: 22/05/2019

Contract until: 30/06/2022

Release clause: €200m

Another player to rise through the ranks at the Bernabeu, Nacho Fernandez has been at Real Madrid since he was 10 and, like Vazquez, was once a key part of their team. However, he has since fallen down the pecking order behind the likes of Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Eder Militao, putting his future in doubt.

17=. Marcelo

Position: Defender

Contract signed: 13/09/2017

Contract until: 30/06/2022

Release clause: €200m

A modern-day legend at Real Madrid, Marcelo has been at the heart of the club’s successes particularly in the 2010s as an attacking left-back – arguably the best in the world at his peak. The Brazilian is surprisingly low on the list of Real Madrid’s release clauses, but the club appears to be in his heart, and Marcelo seems unlikely to leave any time soon.

17=. Sergio Ramos

Position: Defender

Contract signed: 17/08/2015

Contract until: 30/06/2021

Release clause: €200m

Another surprisingly low release clause at Real Madrid is that belonging to Sergio Ramos. The captain, who epitomises Real Madrid, has made 650 appearances for the club and won five league titles and four Champions Leagues among other accolades. There were previously reports of Ramos’ release clause being as high as €800m, but it is believed to still stand at just €200m.

16. Takefusa Kubo

Position: Forward

Contract signed: 01/07/2019

Contract until: 30/06/2024

Release clause: €250m

One of last summer’s signings, Takefusa Kubo is one of the most highly-rated youngsters both in Real Madrid’s squad and Europe. He spent last season on loan and is being linked with another temporary move away for the upcoming campaign, but Kubo would cost quite a bit to sign permanently.

14=. Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard

Position: Midfielder

Contract signed: 03/10/2019

Contract until: 30/06/2023

Release clause: €350m

It feels like an age ago that Martin Odegaard signed for Real Madrid, but the Norwegian remains just 21 and has tons of promise for La Liga. Impressing on loan at Real Sociedad last season, it’s unclear what 2020/21 holds for Odegaard but Real Madrid still have faith in the 21-year-old, adding a €350m release clause to his contract last year.

14=. Dani Carvajal

Position: Defender

Contract signed: 18/09/2017

Contract until: 30/06/2022

Release clause: €350m

The man on the opposing wing to Marcelo in Real Madrid’s most successful periods, Dani Carvajal remains key to Los Blancos, having broken through the academy. The Spaniard was sold to Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 but Real Madrid quickly brought him back a year later, while slapping a big release clause on his head in 2017.

9=. Gareth Bale

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Position: Forward

Contract signed:

Contract until:

Release clause: €500m

Some believe Gareth Bale has played his final game for Real Madrid, having fallen out of favour under Zinedine Zidane, despite playing a role in their four Champions League wins since 2014. However, with a hefty release clause at €500m, the Welshman is unlikely to be off anywhere soon.

9=. Raphael Varane

Position: Defender

Contract signed: 27/09/2017

Contract until: 30/06/2022

Release clause: €500m

Sergio Ramos’ centre-back partner, Raphael Varane is regarded as one of the best defenders in the world right now and has been at the heart of Real Madrid’s back line having signed from Lens in 2011. About to embark on his 10th season at the Bernabeu, Varane has three league titles and four Champions Leagues in 319 appearances, also winning the World Cup with France during that time.

9=. Dani Ceballos

Position: Midfielder

Contract signed: 14/07/2017

Contract until: 30/06/2023

Release clause: €500m

Dani Ceballos spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Arsenal but returns to Real Madrid with his future uncertain. The Spanish midfielder joined Real Madrid from Real Betis in 2017 but has played just 56 times for Los Blancos. To put that into perspective, Ceballos reached 37 appearances in his year on loan at Arsenal. But whether Ceballos will return to Arsenal or stay at Real Madrid remains to be seen. If Arsenal want to take the decision out of Real Madrid’s hands, they’d need to fork out €500m.

9=. Toni Kroos

Position: Midfielder

Contract signed: 20/05/2019

Contract until: 30/06/2023

Release clause: €500m

Another perhaps unsung hero of the current Real Madrid team, Toni Kroos joined from Bayern Munich in 2014 and has been present in the midfield no matter what formation Los Blancos play. His 277 appearances for Real Madrid have brought Kroos four Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles while his contribution goes beyond goals and assists that midfielders are sometimes judged on. In 2019 Kroos was rewarded for his performances with a new deal, and €500m release clause.

9=. James Rodriguez

Position: Midfielder

Contract signed: 12/07/2017

Contract until: 30/06/2021

Release clause: €500m

Like Bale, James Rodriguez appears to have been frozen out by Zidane at Real Madrid after a promising start to life at the Bernabeu. The Colombian, signed from Monaco after the 2014 World Cup, has made 125 appearances for the club but spent two years on loan at Bayern Munich between 2017 and 2019 – before featuring just 12 times in 2019/20.

5=. Thibaut Courtois

Position: Goalkeeper

Contract signed: 09/09/2018

Contract until: 30/06/2024

Release clause: €700m

Real Madrid paid Chelsea just £35m for Thibaut Courtois in 2018, and after a difficult first season, the Belgian has grown in confidence at the Bernabeu, proving vital to their La Liga win. Courtois conceded just 20 goals in 34 appearances across the campaign and kept 18 clean sheets, more than any other goalkeeper in the league.

5=. Vinicius Jr

Position: Forward

Contract signed: 12/07/2018

Contract until: 30/06/2025

Release clause: €700m

Signed from Flamengo in 2018, Vinicius has been a growing presence in the Real Madrid team, making 69 appearances so far and scoring eight goals. It’s easy to forget that the Brazilian has just turned 20, and 2020/21 could be his breakthrough campaign.

5=. Isco

Position: Midfielder

Contract signed: 14/09/2017

Contract until: 30/06/2022

Release clause: €700m

Isco didn’t have the best 2019/20, being in and out of the team due to injury problems and rotation, but the Spaniard remains one of the most technically gifted players at Real Madrid. Signed from Malaga in 2013, the midfielder often finds himself on the wings but that has contributed to his 51 goals for the club.

5=. Marco Asensio

Position: Forward

Contract signed: 28/09/2017

Contract until: 30/06/2023

Release clause: €700m

September 2017 appears to have been a busy month for Real Madrid as Marco Asensio was another player to have signed a new deal, with a nice big release clause. The Spanish winger has played 128 games for Real Madrid so far, having signed from Real Mallorca in 2015, and provided the feel-good story of 2019/20 as he scored on his return from a long-term injury layoff.

2=. Federico Valverde

Position: Midfielder

Contract signed: 28/11/2019

Contract until: 30/06/2025

Release clause: €750m

One of the best young midfielders in the world right now, Federico Valverde looks set to be part of Real Madrid’s team for years to come. On top of his performances so far, the Uruguayan also has a €750m release clause, thanks to a new contract signed at the end of last year, warding off any potential suitors.

2=. Brahim Diaz

Position: Forward

Contract signed: 06/01/2019

Contract until: 30/06/2025

Release clause: €750m

Brahim Diaz’s £15m move from Manchester City to Real Madrid last year raised some eyebrows, as the winger was struggling to break into the Citizens’ first team. His six-year deal also came with a whopping €750m release clause – more than Lionel Messi’s at Barcelona – but he has played just 21 times for Real Madrid so far.

2=. Luka Modric

Position: Midfielder

Contract signed: 18/10/2016

Contract until: 30/06/2021

Release clause: €750m

The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, it may have been hard for some to predict Luka Modric’s importance and stature at Real Madrid after a poor first season in 2012. But moving on from the slow start, the Croatian has become one of Real Madrid’s key players and one of the best midfielders in the world. In 2016 he was rewarded for his performances with a new deal and hefty release clause, and has made 342 appearances for the club.

1. Karim Benzema

Position: Forward

Contract signed: 21/02/2020

Contract until: 30/06/2022

Release clause: €1bn

Yes, you did read that right. No, it isn’t a typo. According to beIN Sports, Karim Benzema’s release clause really is €1billion!

The Frenchman has been somewhat of an unsung hero at the Bernabeu since joining from Lyon in 2009, overshadowed by certain attacking teammates, but he played a pivotal role in Real Madrid’s 2019/20 La Liga win.

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