Real Madrid: The Greatest Galacticos
Real Madrid have become renowned for signing the biggest players in the world. And there are many. But who is the greatest star of Madrid?
Is it one of their high profile, record breaking deals or could it be someone a little more homegrown? It's a long list, and a tough choice.
2000. Real Madrid had just run into a lot of money through selling their city training ground for a huge price. Wise old Florentino Perez, who was Madrid President at the time, decided to pay off any debts.
And with the money remaining (and some controversial support from local organizations) he began turning Real Madrid into the ultimate Fantasy Team, thus the begining of the Galactico Era.
Since 2000, when Real Madrid paid a World Record fee for Luis Figo and maid him their first 'Galactico', a string of big name players have joined. From B for Beckham to Z for Zidane, here are a pick of the finest...
In 2001, Figo became the most expensive player in the world.
At £37 Million, Figo became the star of the team, taking the No. 10 shirt. The deal had alerted the world to Real Madrid and their power.
But the most beautiful part of the deal for Real was that they had bought their long time rivals Barcelona's best player...and there was nothing they could do about it.
This led to a lot of controversy as the Barcelona felt betrayed by their former fan favourite signing for the 'enemy' and when he returned for a Champions League Semi Final match in 2002, Barca fans threws rubbish at him and famously lobbing a pig's head at him.
Even during Euro 2004, when he was playing for Portugal, a spectator ran onto the pitch and waved a Barcelona flag in Figo's face.
Figo became a great at the club in his five year spell, making 239 appearances and scoring 57 goals.
A year following Real's capture of Luis Figo, they beat their own record transfer by £9 Million. At £46 Million, Zidane became the new 'golden boy' of the team.
The French star was already regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation. But despite his big money transfer, Zidane really was a bargain. His skill was admired all over the world, drawing global audiences and a new fanbase with it.
In 224 appearances he scored 49 goals and became the fan favourite of Real. After five years 'Zizou' retired from club football to an amazing ovation from the Bernabeu fans.
He truly was value for money and his fantastic volley in the 2002 Uefa Champions League Final which won the match truly shows his class. Find it on youtube.com, even if you have seen it before!
Ronaldo, the Brazilian, had just marked off a remarkable comeback from injury by winning the Golden Boot in the 2002 World Cup while driving Brazil to the trophy.
He was already on his way to becoming World Player Of The Year. Can you believe that the world has forgotten him in favour of a new Ronaldo?
In five years he made 177 appearances and scored a brilliant 104 goals. But injuries and his well known weight problem over shadowed his final few seasons and perhaps prevented his legendary status.
Beckham's departure from Manchester United was well documented. He was already the most famous sportsman in the world so it was only right that he joined the most famous team in the world, Real Madrid.
Unexpectantly, it was his enthusiasm and passion of the game that won the Real fans hearts.
Along with even more sponsorship deals, Beckham made 153 appearances for the club after his £25,000,000 move. But the money he made Real Madrid will be forever priceless!
He was the little left back wearing the number 3 shirt. Small, fast, tough, competetive and one hell of a left foot. A master at long range free kicks, Roberto Carlos has scored some of the greatest goals you will ever see.
Joining Real Madrid in 1996, Carlos was a long way away from the Galactico status back then. But by the end of 1997 he came second in the World Player Of The Year Awards and quickly became a huge fan favourite.
He is the greatest full back to ever play for Madrid or Brazil, and has many accolades to prove his legendary status. Serving the club for 11 years, he made over 500 appearances and scored 67 goals, which is very impressive for a defender!
Raul Gonzales is a one-club man. He made his debut for Real Madrid in 1994 and at 31 he is still playing at the Bernabeu and scoring goals. A legend for Spain and Real Madrid, he is considered one of the greatest strikers of all time.
He makes this list as he was a huge star in the 'Galactico' Era despite being homegrown. Actually, as a child he played for local rivals Atletico Madrid but moved to Real when Atletico's youth system closed. And he has never looked back.
He has made over 600 appearances and scored over 300 goals! The Bernabeu supporters love him and consider him the greatest Real Madrid player since Di Stefano.
Casillas, like Raul, is a one-club man. Making his debut for the first team in 1999 (he previously played for the B & C teams) he became first choice goalkeeper by 2000 while still a teenager. He became the youngest goalkeeper to play in a Champions League Final in 2000.
Since then he not only has become a legend at Real Madrid but also with Spain, who he captained to success in Euro 2008. Along with two Champions League Medals and four La Liga titles, he has made over 450 appearances for his hometown club.
He also is the second most capped player for the Spanish national side and was voted the best goalkeeper in the world in 2008.
Next Galactico: Kaka
The 2007 World Player Of The Year, Kaka broke Zidane's World Record Transfer in June 2009 when he finally left long term club AC Milan to join Real Madrid.
Kaka has already won many Italian trophies and the Champions League, as well as the 2002 World Cup with Brazil.
At a reported £62 Million, he will most likely be the World's Most Expensive Player for a while...
Rumour has it that Kaka will be given Zinedine Zidane's former squad number, 5.
Will Kaka repeat his successes in Madrid?
Next Galactico: Cristiano Ronaldo
World Footballer Of The Year 2008. At 24, Ronaldo is already a legend for Portugal and for Manchester United, where he has played since 2003. After years of speculation and rumours, Manchester United accepted a World Record fee of £80 Million for their Number 7.
Although he is not officially a Galactico yet, it is definite he will be now. Ronaldo will join Kaka as the Second Generation of Galacticos begins.
Can Cristiano Ronaldo become a legend at Real Madrid?
This is the pigs head, not a 'Galactico', in case you didn't believe me.
Yes, Barcelona fans threw it at Luis Figo in 2002. Goes to show that despite the money, fast cars, mansions, parties and women, football also has its downs. Still love to be one though. Sorry if you are eating...