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, Míchel Salgado
Real Madrid, Míchel Salgado (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) /

60. Ramón Grosso

A youth product of Real Madrid, Ramón Grosso played for the Merengues from 1964 to 1976, scoring 54 goals in 265 matches. Grosso won an incredible seven league titles for the Merengues, He was so good, in fact, that he was Real’s top scorer in his first two seasons despite playing with some of the most prolific players in the history of the game – players you will see in the top 20 of this very list.

59. Jacinto Quincoces

Jacinto Quincoces played for Real Madrid in the 1930’s and 40’s, captaining the side in central defense. He would eventually become a manager for the Merengue club and was one of the best defenders of his era.

58. Raphaël Varane

Another one of the best defensive players of his era, Raphaël Varane has four Champions Leagues and three LaLiga titles to his name. Though overshadowed by captain Sergio Ramos, Varane was one of the best center backs in the world in his own right, and he won a World Cup of his own as a leader at the back for France. Quick with his feet and his mind, Varane was one of the best pure defenders the world has ever seen during his peak years in Madrid. It’s a shame that a move to Manchester United has caused some to rewrite that history. Varane was truly class for Madrid.

57. Mesut Özil

Really, Mesut Özil was the star for Real Madrid that the hype machine will tell you David Beckham was. For some reason, Özil’s incredible statistical achievements at Madrid are not spoken of in more hallowed terms by people outside of those Madridistas who watched him closely.

Like David Beckham, the Schalke academy product spent less than five seasons with the Merengues and won a sole league title. Unlike Beckham, Özil was the best playmaker in the world with assist totals of 16, 18, and 13 in his three full campaigns with the club. He led LaLiga in assists in all of them and was the cerebrum of one of the most electrifying attacks the league has ever seen.

Özil would routinely create clear chances with passes nobody else on the planet would dare attempt, and his connection with Cristiano Ronaldo was the stuff of legends. While he would go on to have success at Arsenal before being disrespected cruelly by the football world as the game passed playmakers by, nothing will ever top his peak years in Madrid.

56. Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois may seem a little high on this list, but when Madridistas are already wondering if he could one day surpass Iker Casillas’ legacy, I actually think I have him ranked a little low. But Courtois has time to climb up the ranks. If he keeps this up over the next several years, a finish in the top 25 is not out of the question.

After a rough start to life in Madrid and plenty of boos from the fans, Courtois never complained and dramatically turned it around in the 2019/20 season with a massive performance in Istanbul to follow-up a rough night against Club Brugge that included a stomach illness and calls for Alphonse Areola to supplant the big transfer from Chelsea.

From then on, Courtois would be the best goalkeeper on the planet, sewing up the Zamora trophy and a league title for Madrid. Two seasons later, he would win the Champions League, producing one of the all-time great performances in goal during the Final vs. Liverpool.