Ranking the 75 best players in Real Madrid history

Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Iker Casillas
Real Madrid, Iker Casillas (Photo by sampics/Corbis via Getty Images) /

10. Hugo Sánchez

Hugo Sánchez was an inspiration at Real Madrid and one of the greatest players the world has ever seen. He may be underrated by the average fan, but Madridistas who know their history recognize Sánchez as one of the true greats of the game.

His highlight reel stands up there with anybody’s. Sánchez was a master at scoring great goals, as evidenced by his record of four straight Pichichi awards…without ever tying anyone for the goal-scoring lead! Sánchez made it all look so graceful. His season with 38 goals was the stuff of legend, every single goal scored with one touch! It would take decades for Cristiano Ronaldo to hit 40 goals and surpass what Sánchez did in 2010/11.

It speaks volumes that such a prolific player is only 10th in Real Madrid history.

9. Iker Casillas

Despite all the great goalkeepers who have played for Real Madrid, San Iker is undoubtedly ahead of them all. Iker Casillas was an inspirational figure, a leader, and the best damn goalkeeper in the world for so many years.

Casillas’ heroics in goal upon being thrust into the Champions League Final against Bayer Leverkusen will never be forgotten. Those saves have to be watched over and over again to believe. A homegrown player at a time when signing superstars was all the rage, Casillas proved himself time and time again and became the voice of Madrid. He would win LaLiga five times and the Champions League three times, including the emotional “La Decima” triumph.

8. Raúl

Another emotional leader of Real Madrid during a difficult era for the club, Raúl is one of the most beloved figures in modern football, even outside of Madrid. The superstar striker was one of the best players in the world as a homegrown player, more than keeping up with the major signings like Ronaldo Nazário and Zinedine Zidane.

The current Real Madrid Castilla coach, Raúl was one of the most hard-working and technically prolific players of his era, showing levels of class and finishing chops above the rest. Raúl was named LaLiga’s best Spanish player a record five times, took home Pichichi honors twice, and nearly won the Ballon d’Or in 2001. In terms of team achievements, he won LaLiga six times and the Champions League three times.

7. Ferenc Puskás

Ferenc Puskás is a name familiar to the vast majority of football fans, thanks to the yearly award given to the best goal (though, nowadays, the winning goal usually isn’t the one that deserved it.). Puskás was a superstar in an era when Hungarian football dominated, and he was as good as you’d expect a player whose name is attached to the award.

From 1958 to 1967, Puskás was part of a golden era for Real Madrid, scoring 242 goals in 262 games. That is a ridiculous goals-to-games ratio and sums up why he is one of the very best players to have suited up for Los Blancos. Like with Hugo Sánchez, the only thing holding him back from being higher on this list is the sheer quality of the Merengue club in its history.

That said, there are few players who can ever reach Puskás’ legacy in football history. A five-time league champion and three-time European Cup winner, Puskás achieved it all for Real Madrid, and to think he did so arriving as a seasoned 31-year-old!

6. Luka Modrić

When it comes to proving that age is nothing but a number, Luka Modrić is in a class of his own. At the age of 36, he was the best midfielder in the 2021/22 Champions League season, bossing the biggest of games and producing a clutch trivela assist to rescue Real Madrid from the jaws of defeat against Chelsea.

Modrić was central to Real’s three-peat and a superstar in each of his five Champions League wins. An irreplaceable player, Modrić can literally do everything a box-to-box midfielder needs to at an elite level. With his endless energy and enviable creativity, Modrić pulls the strings and runs circles around even the most industrious of opponents.

With a rare Ballon d’Or as a pure center midfielder, Modrić achieved the pinnacle of success in the same era as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, leading his country to the World Cup Final in 2018. We may never see a midfielder like Lukita.