20 Greatest Players in Real Madrid History [Ranked]

20 Greatest Players in Real Madrid History [Ranked]

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos

Throughout the majority of their history, Real Madrid has been one of the best teams in the world. Their excellence over the years is almost hard to believe as they’ve consistently adapted with the times and kept hold of their status as one of the biggest clubs on the planet. It’s easy to see how they’ve managed it, though, when you take a look at the sheer calibre of players who have played for Los Blancos throughout their history.

Some of the best footballers of all time have, at one point or another, called the Bernabeu their home. Considering just how many greats there have been at the club over the years, coming up with a list of the 20 best Real Madrid players ever has to be a very difficult task, right? Well, we’re going to give it a go anyway.

20 Greatest Real Madrid Players Ever

Rank
Player
Position
Years at Real Madrid

1.
Cristiano Ronaldo


Forward
2009-2018

2.
Alfredo Di Stefano
Forward
1953-1964

3.
Zinedine Zidane
Midfielder
2001-2006

4.
Sergio Ramos
Defender
2005-2021

5.
Iker Casillas
Goalkeeper
1999-2015

6.
Raul Gonzalez
Forward
1994-2010

7.
Santiago Bernabeu
Forward
1921-1926

8.
Paco Gento
Winger
1953-1971

9.
Ferenc Puskas
Forward
1958-1966

10.
Luis Figo
Midfielder
2000-2005

11.
Karim Benzema
Forward

2009-2023

12.
Luka Modric
Midfielder
2012-present

13.
Hugo Sanchez
Forward
1985-1992

14.
Pirri
Midfielder
1964-1980

15.
Ricardo Zamora
Goalkeeper
1930-1936

16.
Roberto Carlos
Defender
1996-2007

17.
Emilio Butragueno
Forward
1984-1995

18.
Toni Kroos
Midfielder
2014-2024

19.
Ivan Zamorano
Forward
1992-1996

20.
Vicente Del Bosque
Midfielder
1968-1984

10Luis Figo

2000-2005

Luis Figo

Another Ballon d’Or winner at Real Madrid and a true footballing genius. Figo’s move to Real Madrid from Barcelona remains one of the most controversial in history, but he was worth every single penny. He scored 57 goals, assisted a further 93 and won three trophies during his five sublime years in Madrid.

He also played 245 times for the club in total, and during his time at Madrid, there were very few midfielders on the planet that could match his talent. Incredible player.

Luis Figo’s Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
245

Goals
57

Assists
93

Trophies
3

9Ferenc Puskas

1958-1966

Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas waving for Real Madrid

One of the most exceptional strikers the sport has ever seen. Puskas netted 242 goals in 262 games in a Real Madrid shirt, an average of 0.92 per appearance. He also won three European Cups and notably scored four goals in the 7-3 final victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960, the only time that feat has been achieved.

The forward even has an award named after him, the FIFA Puskas Award, given to the footballer who is deemed to have scored the most aesthetically pleasing goal over the course of 12 months. If that doesn’t give you an indication of how special he was, not much would.

Ferenc Puskas’ Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
234

Goals
204

Assists
N/A

Trophies
10

8Paco Gento

1953-1971


A man who is in the conversation to be labelled the greatest left winger in history. As well as tormenting opposing defenders for fun in a Real Madrid shirt, Gento won six (yes, SIX) European Cups, which is still the most by any footballer. He spent 18 years at the La Liga club, and played over 500 games for them.

Gento also won 12 La Liga titles, another record. There’s simply no denying just how impressive he was, and he played a huge role in making the Real Madrid side he was a part of, one of the best iterations in the club’s illustrious career.

Paco Gento’s Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
566

Goals
165

Assists
3

Trophies
21

7Santiago Bernabeu

1911-1920 & 1921-1926

The stadium is named after Bernabeu and without him, the club wouldn’t be the same as it is today. He was a brilliant player in the 1920s and was then president for 35 years between 1943 and 1978, overseeing a ridiculous amount of on-pitch success. Arguably the most important figure in Real Madrid’s illustrious history.

It stands to reason that the club wouldn’t have grown into the behemoth that it did if it wasn’t for Bernabeu’s impact. Despite spending a year with the club’s local rivals, Atletico Madrid, he’s still regarded as an icon at Los Blancos and his legacy will never be forgotten, regardless of his limited appearances.

Santiago Bernabeu’s Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
51

Goals
27

Assists
N/A

Trophies
1

GIVEMESPORT Key Statistic: In 1955, Real Madrid changed the name of their stadium to Santiago Bernabeu, paying tribute to their former player and long-time president.

6Raul Gonzalez

1994-2010

Raul Gonzalez celebrates a goal for Real Madrid

What a striker Raul was. He’s Real Madrid’s second-highest scorer with 323 goals and leads the way for appearances with an enormous 741. Raul brought an end to his incredible 16-year career at Los Blancos in 2010, with six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues to boot.

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He consistently put up absurd scoring numbers throughout the majority of his career in Spain, and there were just two years during his time at the Bernabeu that he didn’t score in double figures. If it wasn’t for a certain Portuguese superstar, he’d still possess the top-scoring records for Madrid in the league and in the Champions League.

Raul Gonzalez’ Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
741

Goals
323

Assists
123

Trophies
16

5Iker Casillas

1999-2015

Iker Casillas real madrid

San Iker could do it all between the sticks and rarely ever dropped a bad performance. He’s still the youngest goalkeeper to appear in a Champions League final and holds the record for the most clean sheets in the competition’s history. It’s a real shame things turned slightly sour towards the end of his Real Madrid career, but the fact remains that he’s an all-time great.

He spent 16 years in the club’s senior team and was one of the best goalkeepers in the world during his prime at the Bernabeu. Casillas won just about everything there was to win with Madrid and played over 700 times along the way. Just a world-class goalkeeper.

Iker Casillas’ Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
725

Goals conceded
751

Clean sheets
264

Trophies
18

4Sergio Ramos

2005-2021

Sergio Ramos celebrates

Probably the finest-ever Real Madrid captain. As well as leading the team marvellously for so many years and winning 22 trophies overall, Sergio Ramos scored a ridiculous number of goals for a centre-back. He left the Bernabeu with a collection totalling 101 across all competitions, a return worthy of a decent striker.

The Spaniard is still playing at a very high level at the age of 37, a testament to just how incredible he’s been and continues to be after all these years. It’s just a shame his time in Madrid didn’t end on the most positive of notes.

Sergio Ramos’ Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
671

Goals
101

Assists
40

Trophies
22

3Zinedine Zidane

2001-2006

Zinedine Zidane looks on

A world-class player for Real Madrid and an equally good manager. In his playing days, ‘Zizou’ scored an incredible volley to win the 2001 Champions League final, and he then guided the club to a famous ‘three-peat’ in the competition from the dugout. The word ‘legend’ doesn’t really do him justice.

Zidane was a ferocious engine in the middle of the park for the club and regularly bossed the opposition midfielders. They didn’t stand a chance. He might have only spent five years playing at the Bernabeu, but his time as Real Madrid manager also added to his incredible legacy too.

Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
227

Goals
49

Assists
68

Trophies
6

2Alfredo Di Stefano

1953-1964

Alfredo Di Stefano balancing a ball on his finger

Two Ballon d’Ors, 308 goals in 396 games, eight La Liga titles, five Pichichis and five European Cups; that’s what Di Stefano achieved in his 11-year stint at Real Madrid. He also scored in every single one of the five European Cup finals he played in. They don’t make them quite like the ‘Blond Arrow’ anymore.

He spent over a decade with Madrid, and the impact he had during that time cannot be overstated. It would take someone special to outshine his legacy at the club. Unfortunately, one of the very best players ever also happened to play for them at one point.

Alfredo Di Stefano’s Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
363

Goals
278

Assists
2

Trophies
18

1Cristiano Ronaldo

2009-2018Cristiano Ronaldo with the Champions League trophy

Cristiano Ronaldo is Real Madrid’s all-time record scorer with 450 goals, and he somehow achieved it in just 438 games. That return is absurd and will never be equalled by another player. Ronaldo also won four Champions Leagues at Real Madrid and scored 30 or more goals in every single season he was at the club. The 39-year-old really was a footballing cyborg in the Spanish capital.

He cost Madrid a world record transfer fee when he joined in 2009, and after nine incredible years, that saw him break all sorts of records and cement his status as one of the best players of all time, it’s fair to say that he was still a bargain.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid Statistics

Appearances
438

Goals
450

Assists
131

Trophies
15

All statistics courtesy of Transfermarkt.

 

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