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From Real Madrid To The Rap Game - The Weird Career Of Royston Drenthe

From Real Madrid To The Rap Game - The Weird Career Of Royston Drenthe
By Mikey Traynor

If you keep up to date with the the lighter side of football news, I'm sure you'll have heard that former Real Madrid, Everton, and Reading wing-back Royston Drenthe has retired from the game of football to focus on his rap career.

For some, the news may have got lost in the excitement brought on by Djibril Cisse's declaration that he was now a full-time DJ, but nevertheless, the lines between football and the world have music have yet again been crossed.

While more often than not the results are, well, diabolical, the standard of Drenthe's bars are not the focus of this feature. Instead, it's a look at how a dreadlocked young Dutchman became the for many a cert to be the next great product of a tried and tested assembly line and soon found himself with the Real Madrid badge on his chest, only to rapidly fade away from the spotlight when he should have been entering his prime.

When Real Madrid decided to sign him from Feyenoord for €13m in the summer of 2007, the Spanish giants were convinced that they had snapped up the best young talent in Europe. And they were right to do so.

At the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, Royston Drenthe was awarded player of the tournament as Holland lifted the trophy, and every big club in Europe was weak at the knees following his dominant midfield play.

Ryan Babel scooped the man of the match award in the final as the Dutch beat a Serbia team featuring Alex Kolarov and Branislav Ivanovic 4-1, but it was Drenthe who was at the heart of everything. He looked so much more mature and complete as a footballer than the rest of the players at the tournament, and there were some bloody decent pros taking part as you can see by the team of the tournament voting.

As he had been so impressive in a tournament that was watched by thousands of scouts, managers, and journalists, Drenthe was able essentially able to pick and choose where he would go next.


And therein lied the problem.

There was no question of him returning to Feyenoord, as he had clearly outgrown the Eredivisie and had such attractive options, but with the benefit of hindsight you can't help but wonder what a difference another year or two bossing the league in surroundings he was familiar with could have made.

With clubs like AC Milan, Chelsea, and Arsenal supposedly having concrete interest, Drenthe publicly revealed that Los Blancos were the club of his dreams.


Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's bid to land Feyenoord star Royston Drenthe is set to be thwarted as the Dutchman wants a move to Real Madrid.

"Real are the most important club in the world and have one of the best squads.

It is an honour that they are talking so much about me."

So it was off to Madrid, where he was unveiled on the same day as Wesley Sneijder, and would compete for a place alongside fan favourite Guti and new signings Fernando Gago and Mahamadou Diarra.

Things started well, he even scored a 40-yard screamer on his debut:



As Madrid had moved on from the 'Galactico' era and no longer boasted the likes of Makelele, Zidane, Beckham, there was an opportunity for Drenthe to play, and he would make 18 appearances in that debut season, so if a lack first-team chances wasn't the problem, then what was?

The level of expectation.

Real Madrid is a dream club to play for, until you get to play for them and realise just how demanding the fans are, it seems. Drenthe was the best U21 player in Europe, so there was very little sympathy for the struggles he was always going to face in his first season outside of Holland.


By February of his second season at Real, Drenthe was out of the team. Not because the manager didn't fancy him, but because he himself was struggling so badly with anxiety having been jeered by the club's fans, that he asked not to be picked.

Royston Drenthe has asked not to be picked to play because he is suffering from anxiety, according to Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos.

Ramos told radio station Cadena SER early Monday morning that Drenthe has asked not to be picked for Reals last three matches, against Numancia, Racing Santander and Sporting Gijon.

The 20-year-old Dutch midfielder has failed to convince since joining Real from Feyenoord in July 2007, and was jeered by many fans in the Estadio Bernabeu after a nervous display Jan 25 in the 1-0 home defeat of Deportivo Coruna.

After that game Drenthe confessed to being very sad. He has not played since then.

This would be the end of the Dutchman's time at the club of his dreams. He was loaned to La Liga strugglers Hercules to see if he could adapt better after playing in a less demanding environment, but despite some encouraging performances, a fall-out with the management because he returned late from the winter break was enough to convince Real that it was time to let him go.

This is the part where most Premier League fans will have the most vivid memories of Drenthe, as he joined Everton on a season long loan for the 2011/12 season.

21 appearances, three goals, six assists, a decent return for a player who operated up and down the left wing under David Moyes in that loan season, and it looked as though a permanent move was not an impossibility, but then it all fell apart.

After the Drenthe was given leave for personal reasons, he returned to Finch Farm later than he had agreed too, and his relationship with the club broke down to the point where he was asked to stay away from the club.

Royston Drenthe has ruined his prospects of securing a permanent move to Everton after being omitted from the club's FA Cup semi-final squad by David Moyes for another breach of discipline.

The Dutch winger reported late for training last week and was immediately sent home and told to stay away from the club by the Everton manager. It is not the first time Drenthe has been late or tested the patience of Moyes, who claimed a recent absence from the squad was due to "compassionate leave", and, with only five matches of the Premier League season remaining, he is unlikely to feature for Everton again.

Once the hottest prospect in European football, Royston had developed a reputation for himself as a bit of a 'bad boy', or a bad Boyston, if you will.

When his Real Madrid contract expired in 2012, he joined Russian club Alania Vladikavkaz where he would play a grand total of six matches. That didn't help. Drenthe was now damaged goods, as while he clearly had the talent, his mentality was openly questioned by every team he had played for in a major league.

Reading were willing to take a gamble on him, and offered him a two-and-a-half year deal to join them in an attempt to get back into the Premier League. Unfortunately for Drenthe, one season was again all he could manage before the club had decided enough was enough. Then Reading boss Nigel Adkins explained that he did not fit in with what he wanted in the squad.

Royston will be staying with the U21s group for the foreseeable future.

I'm moulding a group of players who are young, hungry, ambitious and have great attitudes together. So it's fair to say that Royston is looking for pastures new and we'll just see how that progresses.

Sheffield Wednesday took him in on loan, but after only 15 appearances in that season it seemed as though he had accepted his career was on it's last legs, and after attempts to recapture his love for the game in Turkey and the UAE, he officially announced his retirement from football in February of 2017.

As one door closes, another opens, and rather than fade into obscurity not to be heard of ever again, Drenthe announced that he was launching a career as a rapper, which had been a passion of his since he was a young lad. There were clips of him and his pal Ryan Babel rapping on Dutch hip-hop radio stations doing the rounds while he was at Real Madrid, so it wasn't something he just randomly landed on, but the bizarre news made headlines across Europe.

Roya2Faces is his stage name these days, and he's been uploading music videos and tracks to YouTube on a regular basis over the past few months.


He seems to be enjoying himself, and fair play to him. There's very few people that can say they have played for Real Madrid, but Drenthe not only did that, he chose the club over countless others who were desperate to have him.

From then his fall from grace can be put down to the pressures of playing at the world biggest clubs, and according to the man himself, encountering managers that did not like or trust him. He also claims that the incident with Hercules was a result of being stitched up by his teammates who told them they would not be training, but the trend of falling out with the management at every club he went to tells it's own story.

From Real Madrid to the rap game, Royston Drenthe enjoyed one of the weirdest careers you'll ever see for a footballer.

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