Some debuts will go to plan. Some, though, will go far from the plan that will have initially been set and Jonathan Woodgate will know better than most that sometimes things go far from the script that would have been rehearsed in their heads.
Indeed, his whole move to Real Madrid could have been considered to be surprising at the time as he had struggled with injuries, however the Spanish outfit certainly backed him to overcome those issues when they splashed out £13.4 million in 2004.
Bear in mind Woodgate managed just 37 appearances across a season and a half and had missed out on the 2004 European Championships because of injury, Madrid should have known they were taking a gamble on him in the first place. Bettors will know all too well that using sites like https://s-bobet.com/ is important when there are risks attached.
He did not make his debut until September 22, 2005, and what a game it was – not on a personal level for the centre-back, though.
In his first appearance for 17 months, he returned to a football pitch when Los Blancos came up against Athletic Bilbao, but Vanderlei Luxemburgo will have been smacking his head against the dugout with what he saw.
Clearly keen to impress, Woodgate managed to score after 25 minutes – but in the wrong net as he scored a diving header past Iker Casillas. To make things worse, the initial shot did not look as though it would be troubling the ‘keeper, either.
If things were not bad enough for the Englishman, they had only got worse as the game had gone on. His enthusiasm saw him receive a yellow card just before the half-time whistle – giving him a chance to enter the dressing room with an opportunity to calm down.
However, the 65th minute saw Woodgate receive his marching orders from the referee as he was handed a second yellow after fouling Etxeberria on the halfway line. Bodychecking the winger when he did not need to because of the cover he had available to him, Woodgate was shown red and sent to the tunnel after waiting 13 months to make his debut.
Real Madrid did lose the game, although it could not ultimately all be pinned on Woodgate’s erratic debut. He did get another a chance and made amends when he scored in the Champions League, but injuries continued to plague his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Making just 14 appearances for Real Madrid – with no more than three appearances in a row in La Liga – Woodgate would leave his Spanish adventure after just a season and return to England.