Woodgate's switch was plagued by injury woes.
But he told the Mail on Sunday: "Madrid made me as a character and a person. When you're young you do some stupid things and I was no angel. But when I went to Spain it made me grow up.
"It was the best thing I ever did. I was injured a lot but I learned the language and tried to fit into the culture. It has massive benefits from a football point of view as well.
"I'd advise anyone to do it if they had the chance, including the England players. I saw first-hand what makes the really big players - that winning mentality. They just refuse to be beaten. Raul made a big impression on me, the way he trained hard every day."