Assigning FIFA Card Ratings to 21st-Century Real Madrid Legends

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2017

Real Madrid's Raul reacts after winning against Barcelona during the Liga football match Barcelona vs Real Madrid at Nou Camp in Barcelona, 23 December 2007.  AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Real Madrid have fans and admirers all over the world, both for their historical success and for their current incredible squad, reigning champions as they are of La Liga, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.

In the gaming world, they're also a favourite: the chance to control and play with elite stars, to utilise the powers and abilities of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and challenge for more silverware with personal tactical preferences.

One of the most-loved features in modern games is the ability to bring back former greats; on FIFA, the likes of Luis Figo, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Davor Suker all have their own legendary cards—ICON cards on FIFA 18—as well as those more explicitly associated with Real Madrid: Roberto Carlos, Fernando Hierro, Emilio Butragueno.

But there are others who are also deserving of inclusion, others whom fans would love to reinstate into their XIs. At Real Madrid, there have been a host of stars down the years; here we pick out a handful of those who have graced the Santiago Bernabeu since 2000 and have since retired.

     

Claude Makelele (Overall rating: 89)

9 May 2001:  Owen Hargreaves of Bayern Munich is challenged by Makelele of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second -leg between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid at the Olympic Stadium,  Munich. Mandatory Credit: Mike Hewitt/ALLSPORT
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

We'll start with the man who made not just a position his own but indeed the name of the role: Claude Makelele, Real's French defensive midfielder who protected the back line just after the turn of the century.

His simple approach was incredibly effective; deny time and space on the ball for opposition attackers and recycle the ball to team-mates who were better going forward. In a team that loved to attack rather than worry about balance, Makelele was invaluable.

FIFA card rating

Pace: 73Dribbling: 68
Shooting: 49Defending: 92
Passing: 77Physical: 89

Naturally as a holding midfielder, he's suited to certain systems more than others, and he wasn't often a player who would spray the ball 50 yards on the diagonal—but he could surge forward into space at times, putting his team on the front foot.

His best traits, though, were all entwined in work rate and defensive acumen, and here he has few peers.

     

Zinedine Zidane (Overall rating: 94)

MADRID, SPAIN:  French Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane jubilates after scoring the first goal for Real Madrid during their Spanish League match, Real Madrid against Villarreal in Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid 26 October, 2002.   AFP PHOTO/ JAVIER SORI
JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images

The current manager of Madrid's first team is proving just as successful in the dugout as he was on the pitch, which is saying something: Zinedine Zidane is one of the finest players the game has ever seen, graceful, intelligent and with a complete will to win.

An attacking midfielder who spent time both on the left and in the centre, he was a natural playmaker and a go-to man in the team for building attacks and breaking teams down.

FIFA card rating

Pace: 73Dribbling: 92
Shooting: 80Defending: 53
Passing: 93Physical: 73

His close control and sublime technique meant he had no real need for tremendous pace to beat defenders—they couldn't get the ball off him anyway, thanks to his first touch and impressive frame.

Zidane didn't score massive volumes of goals, but he was possessed of a rocket shot and could use either foot, and his vision and execution in the pass meant that was where he opted to focus his talents more than in striking from range continuously.

     

Raul Gonzalez (Overall rating: 90)

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 01:  Raul Gonzalez of Real Madrid celebrates his goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Racing Santander at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on December 1, 2007 in Madrid, Spain. Real Madrid won the match 3-1.  (Photo
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

One of Real Madrid's all-time legends, Raul played well over 700 games for Real Madrid before embarking on a career wind-down in Germany, Qatar and USA, retiring in 2015.

The legendary figure most often played as a forward, be it the No. 9 or rather more withdrawn, but he was such a well-rounded talent that operating from the flank or as a true No. 10 was also in his powers, thanks to a prodigious work rate and no shortage of creativity.

FIFA card rating

Pace: 79Dribbling: 80
Shooting: 90Defending: 70
Passing: 82Physical: 72

His prowess in the final third provided more than 400 career goals for club and country so it's no surprise that his shooting is highly rated, but Raul was also a selfless performer and could set up team-mates as much as score chances himself.

A reliable left foot in attack didn't mean he shirked defensive duties, though, making him one of Europe's most complete and dangerous forwards in his prime.

     

Guti (Overall rating: 87)

GETAFE, SPAIN - MARCH 25: Guti of Real Madrid in action during La Liga match between Getafe and Real Madrid at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez stadium on March 25, 2010 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Now involved with the youth sides within La Fabrica, Guti was an attacking midfielder who played for Real Madrid after coming through their academy, going on to play more than 500 times for the first team.

Capable of playing in central midfield or further forward, he was an inventive, instinctive type of performer who had spells both as an important starter and a squad member, but rarely in either case did he lack in equal parts magic and aggression.

FIFA card rating

Pace: 74Dribbling: 82
Shooting: 70Defending: 58
Passing: 89Physical: 68

A tireless playmaker, Guti's ability to create chances stemmed from his quick turns into space, great passing range and a willingness to pass rather than shoot himself.

He was perhaps not the absolute star of the team at any point nor quite a Galactico, but there's no questioning his love of the team—nor of the fans for him.

     

David Beckham (Overall rating: 88)

ROME, ITALY -  DECEMBER 8:  David Beckham of Real Madrid passes in an empty stadium during the UEFA Champion's League group B match between AS Roma and Real Madrid on December 8, 2004 at the Stadio Olympico in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Imag
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Finally, former midfielder David Beckham, a Madrid player from 2003 for four years. He won just a single Liga title, with his time coinciding with a difficult spell for the club, but his performances and work rate so often impressed that he won over team-mates, managers and fans alike.

Nominally a right-sided midfielder, Beckham spent time in the middle at the Santiago Bernabeu as they attempted to make the most of his industry and passing range.

FIFA card rating

Pace: 73Dribbling: 77
Shooting: 76Defending: 62
Passing: 90Physical: 77

Beckham's set-piece prowess was, of course, one of his enduring traits, but an ability to strike in open play from range was also seen at times.

Whether in the middle or the right, he helped balance out the team, provide structure to a side filled with offensive-minded talents, and even if he was never the biggest club icon, he played a vital role for Madrid (and his other teams) that shouldn't be overlooked.