Real Madrid is one of those football clubs that has enjoyed so much success that listing off all of its accomplishments would take far too long. Another list that’s shockingly long is the list of Hall of Fame talent that the club has had over the years. Narrowing it down to just a few players who stand out as the best is tough, but we picked out the five best players in Real Madrid history.
Before we start the list, some of the players who just missed the cut include Zinedine Zidane, Ferenc Puskas, Paco Gento, Manuel Sanchis, and Amancio.
We start the list with Frenchman Karim Benzema, who got his career started with Lyon during the mid-2000s in his native country. Benzema then joined Real Madrid in 2009 and stuck around, spending well over a decade with the club. Benzema never let up in terms of talent while playing for Real Madrid, either, and seemed to actually improve after celebrating his 30th birthday.
Benzema helped Real Madrid win a long list of club honours, including four La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, and five UEFA Champions League trophies. In 2022, Benzema became one of the oldest Ballon d’Or winners at 34 years old. In fact, only Stanley Matthews was older when he won the trophy at 41.
The world knows Raul Gonzalez Blanco simply as Raul, and he made his mark on the sport of football for more than two decades. Raul joined the Real Madrid youth program in the early 1990s and made his way to the senior squad in 1994. He’d remain with the club all the way up until 2010 before finishing his career with Schalke 04, Al Sadd, and the New York Cosmos until retiring in 2015.
Raul holds the record for most appearances in Real Madrid history with 741, and 550 of those came in La Liga competition. Raul was no slouch when it comes to scoring, either. He netted 323 goals during his Real Madrid career, which is good for third all-time behind Benzema and our number-one player on the list.
Iker Casillas ranks as the top goaltender in Real Madrid history and in third place overall on the list. Casillas is a native of Madrid, and he made his professional debut with Real Madrid’s top squad in 1999 after nearly a decade with the youth program. Casillas spent 16 years as the keeper for the club until spending the final five years of his career with Porto.
Casillas helped guide Real Madrid to five La Liga titles, as well as two Copa del Rey victories. Casillas added three UEFA Champions League titles, too, while winning a slew of individual honours that include two wins for La Liga Best Goalkeeper. Casillas is second all-time in club history for career appearances with 725 behind only Raul.
Alfredo Di Stefano
While the rest of the players on the list are more recent, there probably aren’t too many living Real Madrid fans who got the chance to watch Alfredo Di Stefano at his best. The Argentinian played professionally in South America following World War II for eight years before making his way to Spain in 1953. He spent 11 years with Real Madrid before wrapping up his career with a two-year stint at Espanyol.
Di Stefano was a cornerstone for the club, and he helped Real Madrid win La Liga a whopping eight times between 1954 and 1964. Di Stefano also hoisted the European Cup five times while wearing a Real Madrid kit and he won the Ballon d’Or Trophy twice. In 1989, he won the Super Ballon d’Or Trophy which was given out just once for the best player of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s combined.
Almost every football fan would have been able to guess that Cristiano Ronaldo was going to take the top spot on the all-time list for Real Madrid. Ronaldo spent the prime of his career with the club after coming up with Sporting CP and then six years with Manchester United. Ronaldo was part of Real Madrid for nearly a decade before departing for Juventus in 2018.
Ronaldo is far and away the leading scorer all-time in Real Madrid history with 450 goals, putting him more than 100 ahead of anybody else. What makes his scoring prowess even more impressive was the fact that he averaged more than one goal per game as a member of Real Madrid. Ronaldo won La Liga twice with the club and won the Ballon d’Or Trophy as the world’s best player a whopping four times.