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, Karim Benzema
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images) /

5. Paco Gento

From 1953 to 1972, Paco Gento was an institution at Real Madrid and one of its most legendary figures. Like Ferenc Puskás, Gento was a larger-than-life player from that era, scoring 182 goals as a left winger. He is in the conversation for being one of the great true left wingers in footballing history, earning that reputation in nearly two decades of greatness at Real Madrid.

Gento was the captain of the Ye-yé Real Madrid side, taking on the leadership role of the club after Di Stéfano and Puskás. He would win a record six European Cups in his career, appearing in nine finals in another record that would only be equaled decades later by Milan icon Paolo Maldini.

A future ambassador of the club alongside Di Stéfano, Gento is a player whose contemporary greatness is only matched by his lifelong Madridismo.

4. Karim Benzema

Now tied with Raúl in second place on Real Madrid’s all-time scoring list, the only question is if Karim Benzema will add enough to his tally of 323 goals to surpass Cristiano Ronaldo’s 450 goals. Benzema is the greatest French striker of all time, and that is a statement that cannot be made lightly but is one Benz has fully earned.

Look at what he did this past season. The ONLY viable Ballon d’Or candidate, Benzema lifted his team time and time again, with his rapid-fire hat-trick against PSG standing out as a legendary moment of raising a team out of the fire.

Throughout his career, Benzema has been a mainstay. Even when Madridistas did not appreciate him, the superstars of the team, specifically Ronaldo, and the club did. Pérez’s decision not to replace him with Robert Lewandowski, desperate to join the Merengues year after year, has been vindicated to the fullest.

The most complete striker of his generation, Benzema is now rightfully receiving recognition as the greatest striker of his generation, no longer having to put aside his own goals for an even more prolific scorer in Ronaldo.

3. Sergio Ramos

That Sergio Ramos ranks ahead of Karim Benzema – and does so unanimously to most Madridistas – says all you need to know about the legacy this one-of-a-kind center back has crafted. Fernando Hierro had more goals, but Ramos was a prolific scoring center back in his own right. No goal being more important than 92:48. You know what I’m talking about.

Real Madrid always needs a fiery leader, and Ramos had more smoke for opponents than anyone. When he and Pepe got going together, my word, watch out. Ramos’ elite defending was somehow underrated no matter how much his team won, but Madridistas understood that no center back of his time can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him. A world-class right back who dominated Spain’s 2010 World Cup triumph, Ramos somehow built an even stronger legacy at the center back position.

Ramos has a case for being the best center back of all time. That is a tough argument to make, but when looking at his body of work at Real Madrid, there can be no doubt that he is among the pantheon of the absolute greatest Madridistas ever.