Real Madrid: Ranking the five best No. 9’s in club history

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Ferenc Puskas (Photo by Robert Stiggins/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Ferenc Puskas (Photo by Robert Stiggins/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) /

1. Ferenc Puskas

When you have a popular award of the modern game named after a specific player, you can easily get a measure of the greatness of that player. The same applies in the case of Ferenc Puskas, who in my opinion is the best striker Real Madrid has ever seen.

How rarely do we see Real Madrid buying players aged over 30? Ferenc Puskas was signed in 1958 at the age of 31, that too with him not having played football for the two years before his signing, due to a ban imposed by the Hungarian authorities. And not to forget that he was several kilos overweight, and his signing was heavily criticized in the media.

But guess what? This signing actually turned out to be a masterstroke, as Ferenc Puskas went on to score 242 goals in 262 games for Real Madrid in nine seasons. His goal ratio of 0.92 is second to only Cristiano Ronaldo, and he is the sixth on the list of all-time top goalscorers in the history of Real Madrid.

People always doubted Puskas, due to obvious reasons, but he answered his doubters without any delay as he scored a hat-trick in just his second Real Madrid game. From there he didn’t stop, and the flurry of goals continued to flow. He went to win two back-to-back European cups with Real Madrid, and he won those finals all by himself as he scored 7 goals in the 2 finals of 1959 and 1960. He didn’t start the 1966 European Cup final, but he was very crucial to the club on the road to the final.

In a 9-year stay at the Spanish Captial, Puskas won a total of 3 European Cups, 5 LaLiga titles, and 1 Spanish Cup, as he formed an excellent attacking trio along with Alfredo Di Stefano and Paco Gento. He had won the Pichichi four times, and won his last at the age of 37, even while he was past his prime. Such was the quality of Puskas in the attack.

He was naturally a left-footer and had a powerful shot. His positioning sense, movement, and timing of runs were so perfect that his skills could be used as parameters to build a perfect goal machine. His finishes were so precise that it looked as if Puskas was just a guide who knew how to guide the ball into the back of the net, to where it belongs, while appearing in the right place at the right time.

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It was truly a pleasure to have such a legend of the game play for Real Madrid. And for me, it’s a no-brainer to select Puskas as the best Real Madrid striker ever.