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, Davor Šuker
Real Madrid, Davor Šuker Mandatory Credit: Graham Chadwick /Allsport /

50. Iván Helguera

The most underrated player in Real Madrid history, Iván Helguera succeeded at the center back position during the toughest time to be a Madrid central defender, as Florentino Pérez absolutely gutted the team’s defensive support in an effort to make loads of marketing money.

That Helguera was a very good center back is a credit to his footballing ability and intelligence, because he was really signed to be a midfielder. Helguera was a top, top midfielder, at that. He was such a good player that Claude Makélélé once called Helguera his greatest ever teammate besides Zinedine Zidane, whom he jokingly omitted from contention.

A prolific scorer despite being a defensive player, Helguera scored 16 career goals in the Champions League, including six in 2000/01. Though Madrid did not win the competition that year, Helguera would hoist the UCL title twice in his underappreciated career.

49. Davor Šuker

Like Clarence Seedorf, Davor Šuker was only a Madridista for a few years from 1996 to 1999. But in that time, goodness, did the Croatian make an impact. He was a superstar for both the Merengues and his national team in 1998, coming third in the World Cup and securing the Golden Boot, placing second in the Ballon d’Or running for his efforts.

Better yet, he won the Champions League, one season after winning LaLiga. Šuker scored 24 goals in his first season in Madrid. He had 10 goals in the Champions League-winning campaign. That alone rates him highly, just for having a season of that magnitude as a star man.

48. Fabio Cannavaro

Fabio Cannavaro amassed 94 games between 2006 and 2009 with Real Madrid, setting the highest standard at the center back position and paving the way for the likes of Sergio Ramos, Pepe, and Raphaël Varane.

The Italian center back does not quite have the same cachet as countrymen Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini, but his 2006 was on a level that neither of those even reached. Cannavaro became one of the select few central defenders to win a Ballon d’Or, thanks to his class with the Italian national team and the Merengues. He set an example at Real Madrid with his perfect tackling, unparalleled football IQ, and relentless desire to win the ball.

It says a lot that he received a standing ovation from Madridistas in his final match at the Santiago Bernabéu. Cannavaro was special.

47. Fernando Morientes

Fernando Morientes qualifies as a fan favorite, and it is a shame Florentino Pérez did not value him, loaning him to Monaco and then later selling him to Liverpool. The Spanish international scored 72 times for Los Blancos, forming a beautiful partnership with Raúl before Ronaldo Nazário joined from Inter Milan to change everything.

As it stands, Morientes was a hard-working, clinical striker who made those around him better and won three Champions League titles with an additional two league crowns. Morientes is a true Madridista.

46. Dani Carvajal

The best right back in the world at his peak, Dani Carvajal made waves on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, and he was so obviously impressive that Bayer’s sporting director outright said he would return to Real Madrid.

Carvajal has won five Champions League titles with the Merengues, and we are still very much counting. The tenacious right back is one of the best all-around players to play the position, providing elite one-on-one defending and pinpoint crossing, as well as relentless ball progression. Expect him to skyrocket this list as well.