Ranked! The 50 greatest Real Madrid players of all time

Real Madrid
(Image credit: Future)

Real Madrid have a history like no others. An association not just with success but in bringing the best to the Bernabeu. Whether you love them or hate them, you can never quite write them off.

13 times, they've been continental champions, from the glory days of the 1950s to the modern Galactico sides assembled by Vicente Del Bosque and Zinedine Zidane: club legends who know a thing or two about winning. It's in the very DNA of this institution. They simply know how to grind out victory. And some of the greatest footballers to ever kick a ball have represented this iconic club. Let's run through the best 50 ever.

LOOKING FOR BARCA? The 50 greatest Barcelona players of all time

50. Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

(Image credit: Getty)

Simply put, a chance creation machine. Cristiano Ronaldo's righthand man during Jose Mourinho's 2012 title, Ozil delivered a level that few playmakers ever had, supplying the ammunition for an incredible campaign. Real Madrid had to be outstanding that season, too, to reach the heights that Barcelona had set. 

49. Raphael Varane

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He won everything at club level and then went and bagged the World Cup, too. While Sergio Ramos was loud, brash and passionate, Raphael Varane was the cool antithesis next him: a defender with unreal speed and excellent reading of the game. He was a lynchpin for so many big trophy wins. 

48. Guti

Guti Real Madrid

(Image credit: PA)

Perhaps the most underrated player of the 2000s? While Real Madrid went all-in on the Galactico product, one of their own academy stars became one of their most effortless playmakers. With beautiful assists and the ability to turn games, he became one of the fans' most-loved stars in the noughties. 

47. Juanito

Goalkeeper Juanito Alonso of Real Madrid trains on June 12, 1956 at the Parc des Princes stadium, for the European cup.

(Image credit: -/AFP via Getty Images)

"Playing for Real Madrid is like touching the sky," Juanito said when he joined the club – and he managed to take Los Blancos to amazing heights. A key member in five league titles, two Copa Del Reys and two UEFA Cups, the Spaniard spent a decade at the Bernabeu and cemented his name as one of the club's classiest forwards. 

46. Steve McManaman

Liverpool legend Steve McManaman

(Image credit: Getty)

One of the first superstar free transfers, Steve McManaman brought a brand of British guile to Spain, with breakneck dribbling and bustling work ethic. the first English player to win the Champions League with a non-English club in 2000 before becoming the first English player to win the Champions League twice, he scored a glorious volley against Valencia to help his side win the trophy. 

45. Fernando Morientes

8 Nov 1999: Fernando Morientes of Real Madrid in action during the Lee Dixon Testimonial game between Arsenal and Real Madrid at Highbury, London. The friendly game finished in a 3 - 1 win for Arsenal. \ Mandatory Credit: Clive Mason /Allsport

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The less said about Fernando Morientes sending Real Madrid out of the Champions League in 2004 – while on loan at Monaco – the better. But he finished as Real's top scorer in 1999/2000, helping his side to a second Champions League title in three years and when he left for Liverpool in 2005, he departed as a huge success who had brought consistency and big moments to the Spanish capital.

44. Jose Maria Zarraga

Jose Maria Zarraga and Paco Gento, with the fifth European Cup, in the stadium Santiago Bernabeu, 1960, Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Spain.

(Image credit: Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images)

The dependable midfield general for five European Cups on the trot, Jose Zarrraga was the Casemiro of his day with tough tackling and a steely leadership. The Spaniard was a mainstay of the side for over 10 years and was much missed when he retired in 1962. 

43. David Beckham

David Beckham

(Image credit: Getty)

The marketing furore around his transfer might be all that anyone remembers of David Beckham becoming a Galactico – but Goldenballs was a success in Spanish football. Beckham didn't play in a side that conquered all before them but his contribution to the 2006/07 title – as his contract was expiring – was exactly what the Merengues bought the England captain for. 

42. Predrag Mijatovic


(Image credit: Tobias Heyer/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In a strike partnership with former Yugoslavia teammate Davor Suker, Predrag Mijatovic managed to wrestle the title away from Bobby Robson, Ronaldo and an all-devouring Barcelona side in his first season. Two years later, he capped off his time at the club with the goal to win them their first Champions League title in 32 years. Not bad going for a striker who played just 118 times: his legacy is short but very, very sweet indeed. 

41. Pepe


(Image credit: PA)

You know you're an animal of a defender when you're the more ferocious one in a central defensive partnership with Sergio Ramos. Portuguese stalwart Pepe was imperious at the back for Real Madrid, leading with aggression but a perceptiveness to the game that belied him. His role in two Champions League titles cannot be questioned – and not just because he'd bite your head off if you did.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1