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Who are the Real Madrid best players of all time?

Alfredo Di Stefano and Cristiano Ronaldo lead the list when it comes to Real Madrid best players in history.

Real Madrid is arguably the most iconic club in the world and they have a rich history like no other. Starting from their dominance in the European Cup in 1960s to their continue dominance on the continental stage in the modern game, the Champions League is an obsession fo the club.

Real Madrid has also provided a platform to some of the greatest players in the history of the sport. But who are Real Madrid best players of all time? Let’s discuss:

Real Madrid best players of all time: Top 10 list

Player Country Playing career Appearances Goals/Clean Sheets
Alfredo Di Stefano Argentina/Spain 1953-1964 344 266
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2009-2018 438 452
Zinedine Zidane France 2001-2006 225 50
Ferenc Puskas Hungary 1958-1966 225 196
Iker Casillas Spain 1999-2015 725 266
Raul Gonzalez Spain 1994-2010 550 228
Sergio Ramos Spain 2005-2021 469 72
Paco Gento Spain 1953-1971 427 127
Santiago Bernabeu Spain 1921-1926 79 68
Luka Modric Croatia 2012-present 311 25

Alfredo Di Stefano, Argentina

While modern fans may argue that it’s Cristiano Ronaldo, historians, statisticians and older fans of Real Madrid will voice for Alfredo di Stéfano being the greatest player in the history of Real Madrid. The simple fact is that the Real Madrid of today wouldn’t be what it was had it not been for Di Stefano’s dominance of the game in their colours.

Real Madrid’s special connection with the Champions League, then known as the European Cup, was built on the back of successes attained by the side of which Di Stefano was a leader. A prolific goal scorer and considered to be one of the best players of all time, the Blonde Arrow won two Ballon d’Or trophies, five European Cups and eight La Liga titles. Extremely versatile, the Argentine was capable of playing in attack, midfield and sometimes, even in defence. There will never be a player like him again.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players in the modern generation and arguably, one of the best of all time. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is one of the most decorated players in Real Madrid history and he marked an era at Real Madrid. Ronaldo helped Los Blancos win five Champions League titles and is the highest goal-scorer at the club. Ronaldo has scored an astonishing 452 goals in just 438 appearances since moving from Manchester United to Madrid in 2009.

Also Read: Champions League top scorer

The Portuguese also set a high standard for professionalism, work ethic and excellence at the club. While Real Madrid has never lacked the courage it needs to step up in big games, there was the feeling that with Ronaldo leading the attack, they were almost inevitable. Modern football fans even consider him to be the best player to play for the club and given Ronaldo’s achievements with Real Madrid, it’s hard to argue otherwise. He has won two La Liga titles and a flurry of individual recognition as well!

Also Read: Cristiano Ronaldo teams

Zinedine Zidane, France

Although he was at Real Madrid for just five years between 2001 and 2006, Zinedine Zidane left a legacy that will be hard to top by any midfielder following in his footsteps. The French magician shone brightly on the biggest stages and he is one of the most technically gifted players in the club’s history. Zidane starred in a Madrid side that was known as ‘The Galacticos’ because of the sheer number of star power it possessed and he led them straight to the top of the game.

It was Zidane’s ridiculous volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the final that won them the Champions League in 2002. He was a brute force of nature at the peak of his powers and Zidane ended his marvellous career with 3 FIFA Men’s Best player awards, 1 Ballon d’Or, 1 Champions League title, and 1 European Championship title.

Ferenc Puskas, Hungary

Ferenc Puskas, was without a doubt, one of the best to play for Real Madrid. He was part of an extremely successful strike partnership that also included Alfredo Di Stefano and Paco Gento, and together, they conquered the world. When he arrived as a 31-year-old overweight man from Hungary, not many would’ve imagined him to hit the previous heights in his career with Real Madrid. But Puskas left everyone mesmerised and awed by his performances with Madrid.

Not only does he have a stunning repertoire in front of goals and scored nearly in every game he played, Puskas also led the club to five La Liga and three European Cups titles. Blessed with a beautiful left foot, his immense achievements led the way for more success and fame to follow at Real Madrid and his legendary career is still remembered by the Los Blancos faithful.

Iker Casillas, Spain

The best goalkeeper in the history of the club, Iker Casillas bled Real Madrid through and through. Coming up through the youth ranks as a young boy to becoming the captain and leader of the club, Casillas was an outstanding representative of the club during his playing career. He was given the nickname ‘San Iker’ (Saint Iker) due to his heroic performances guarding the goal of Real Madrid and Casillas holds the record for the most appearances in the history of the club.

He was extremely athletic and possessed top-notch reflexes. Casillas also had great 1v1 ability and was also able to pass out from the back. Moreover, he stood out in his consistency and penalty-saving abilities. Casillas was also the captain of the Spain side that won their first FIFA World Cup and two back-to-back European Championships and he is recognised as one of the great players of modern football.

Raul Gonzalez, Spain

Before Cristiano Ronaldo overtook him, the title of being the highest goal-scorer in the history of Real Madrid belonged to Raul Gonzalez. Given the dearth of talent that Real Madrid suffered from between the early 1980s and the late 1990s, Raul emerged from the academy and filled that void. Despite being limited technically and natural genius, Raul made up for it with sheer confidence, work ethic, charisma and an undying passion for the club crest.

Raul used to score goals constantly and consistently even when Real Madrid were poor in the league. However, his star status reached unprecedented heights after the Galacticos started arriving at the club and Raul became the primary goal-scorer along with the likes of Ronaldo and Luis Figo. He ended his career with Los Blancos with six league titles and three Champions League trophies.

Sergio Ramos, Spain

One of the most polarising Real Madrid players of all time, Sergio Ramos is arguably the greatest defender in the history of the club. Brash, brazen, and brilliant while commanding the backline, Ramos was born to lead Madrid with the kind of confidence that divides fans. Although he initially began his career as right-back, he moved to the centre-back slot and made it his own, becoming one of the best in the world.

Also Read: Champions League winners list

Sturdy as a rock and possessing physicality, tenacity, and aggression, Ramos also became a reliable goal threat towards the latter stages of his career. It was his header in the 92nd minute that helped Real Madrid conquer La Decima. Although he was a hothead on the field and the red card became a best friend, it was Ramos’ never-say-die attitude that allowed Madrid to pick up three consecutive Champions League titles in a row. He left the Santiago Bernabeu with 22 trophies to his cabinet.

Paco Gento, Spain

Many believe Paco Gento to be the best left winger of all time and there’s no doubt that the legendary Spaniard cemented a brilliant legacy for Real Madrid. His speed, flair, accuracy and dribbling skills made him almost impossible to stop down that left flank and he quickly forged an excellent trio with Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas which ushered in a golden age for Los Blancos.

Gento won six European Cups with Real Madrid and the Spaniard was also given the nickname the ‘Storm of the Cantabrian’ for his bustling style of play. He spent 18 years of his career with the club from the capital of Spain and he is the only player to win six Champions League titles in the history of the competition.

Santiago Bernabeu, Spain

Santiago Bernabeu is one of the most important figures for the club. After all, the stadium is named after him. Although he is best remembered as the most iconic president in Real Madrid history, without his playing career, Real Madrid wouldn’t be what it is today.

Probably the first iconic player at the club, he joined Los Blancos at the age of 14 and not only broke into the first team, but over time, became the captain as well as a leadership figure. He played 79 official matches in his career and scored 68 goals. Bernabeu led from the front with physical strength and his leadership would quickly inspired more success and more talent at the club in the following years.

Luka Modric, Croatia

One of the most wonderful midfielders of his generation, Luka Modric will forever be remembered for being the beating heart of this modern Real Madrid side that won five Champions League years in eight years. The first player to break the hegemony of Messi and Ronaldo on the Ballon d’Or scene, Modric at the age of 37 still continues to churn out masterclass after masterclass for Los Blancos.

Also Read: Ballon d’Or winners

A diminutive midfielder who typifies both class and grace, he is an expert at evading pressure with quick turns and sharp feet. Modric also carries the ball and delivers a great final pass into the box for his teammates to feed on.

FAQs

Who is the best player of Real Madrid right now?

Karim Benzema is the best player in Real Madrid right now. Benzema led them to La Liga and the Champions League glory in 2022 and even won the Ballon d’Or that year.

Who are some of the underrated Real Madrid legends?

Roberto Carlos and Fernando Hierro are some of the underrated Real Madrid legends.

How many Champions League titles has Real Madrid won?

Real Madrid have won the most UEFA Champions League titles in history. They have 14 Champions League trophies in their cabinet. No other club has more than 10.

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