Fans of Real Madrid have recently celebrated the 2021-22 season with the club’s record-breaking, thirty-fifth La Liga title. An amazing achievement, due in no small part to the skill of some of the most famous players ever to pull on the white shirt of Los Blancos. Here, we run down the best ever players to play for Real Madrid.
1. Alfredo di Stefano
Born in Argentina in 1926, Alfredo di Stefano moved to Real Madrid in 1953. The centre-forward is regarded by many fans as the club’s most inspirational player of all time. He was a versatile utility player with outstanding creative skills, strength and stamina. Known as the Blond Arrow for his lightning speed and accuracy in the box, he established a club record of 216 goals in 282 appearances for the team. During the nine years Alfredo stayed at the club, his goal scoring helped Real Madrid achieve eight La Liga titles and five successive victories in the European Cup.
2. Ferenc Puskas
When Ferenc Puskas became a Real Madrid player in 1958, he was already thirty-one years old. He was also thought unfit after his two-year footballing exile for refusing to return to Russian-occupied Hungary. Yet in the next eight seasons, Puskas became a legendary goalscorer, finding the net 242 times in 262 appearances. Left-footed, he regularly taunted opponents with incredible ball control and fake passes. As a hat-trick specialist, he scored an average of 0.92 goals each match. Puskas was instrumental in Real Madrid’s dominance as La Liga champions from 1961 to 1965. In recognition of his achievements, FIFA’s Puskas Award is given to the best individual goal of the season.
3. Francisco Javier Aguilar
Spanish international, Aguilar, was twenty-two years old when he made his debut for Real Madrid in 1971. The classy winger ensured his popularity with the fans by scoring in his first match. In 190 appearances for the club, he scored 50 goals. However, it was Aguilar’s all-round ability as a playmaker that everyone admired. His accomplished footwork, accurate passing and sudden bursts of speed along the right-hand side of the pitch became legendary. During his eight-year residency, he helped Real Madrid lift five La Liga titles!
4. Cristiano Ronaldo
Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo became Real Madrid’s most expensive signing in 2009. Aged twenty-four, his speed, agility and accuracy as a winger and striker, would see him demolishing many of the club’s records. During his nine seasons with Los Blancos, Ronaldo played 438 matches and scored a phenomenal 451 goals across all competitions. In La Liga, he scored a record-breaking 312 goals. In 2014-15, Ronaldo scored forty-eight times, beating the record held by Hugo Sánchez. He set a new record for Real Madrid in the 2012-13 season by scoring against every La Liga rival. Yet ironically, Ronaldo only won two La Liga championships with Real Madrid. Ronaldo’s Real Madrid career ended in 2018, when he joined Juventus for an unprecedented €117m. With such an increase in the number of people who now bet on football, the stakes on top players like Ronaldo himself have only gotten bigger.
5. Hugo Sánchez
The Mexican striker, Hugo Sánchez, joined Real Madrid in 1985. At the time, the club had failed to win La Liga for five consecutive seasons. However, twenty-seven-year-old Sánchez was to help Los Blancos regain their status with La Liga championships from 1985 to 1990. Sánchez became famous for his acrobatic skills on the pitch, making him one of Real Madrid’s most entertaining players. His trademark was scoring goals from a single touch, particularly with an overhead bicycle kick. He was the first player to celebrate every goal with a backflip somersault. Sánchez established a new club record after scoring thirty-eight goals in the 1989-90 season.
Raúl González Blanco grew up in a suburb of Madrid before signing for the club in 1994 at the age of seventeen. Technically gifted, Raul made an instant impact, scoring on average a goal every three appearances. Fans adored Raul’s reliable composure, discipline and dynamic ball control. Creative and generous, Raul was always happy to supply his teammates with accurate passes. By 2009, he had surpassed Alfredo di Stefano’s goal-scoring record with a tally of 328 goals, and he currently holds the club’s record of playing in 741 matches.