Ranking the 10 Greatest Players in Real Madrid History

Thomas HallettCorrespondent IIJune 4, 2012

Ranking the 10 Greatest Players in Real Madrid History

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    There seems to be some kind of enchanted path leading to the Santiago Bernabeu that will inevitably entice the world's greatest footballers. Real Madrid have never been short of possessing the leading lights of the sport.

    Such is the richness of Real Madrid's history that only one of the current team's players are able to take a place alongside the greats of the club, and fairly so. But it's certainly not Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Ronaldo may have smashed a number of records—including that as the most expensive player in the game—but he's still charting out his course among the stars. There's nothing legendary about Ronaldo's presence in world football, but there's no doubt that will change as the player reaches the twilight of his career.

    Instead, there's a wonderful selection to choose from, and I'm sure it will hit a nerve among one or two.

    But there is certainly be no malice in the celebration of some of the best players ever to play the game.

Santiago Bernabeu

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    Santiago Bernabeu should always be considered as the greatest to be associated with Real Madrid.

    It's sometimes difficult to understand how much he achieved as a player, but his achievements following his playing days are remembered today with Real Madrid as the superpower of world football.

    Real Madrid owe their status and triumphs to one man. Santiago Bernabeu's name will forever be emblazoned across the battlefields of modern and future Real Madrid greats.

Raul Gonzalez

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    Gonzalez is the man who was the face of Real Madrid for much of the last decade and is someone who can be assured of a free dinner whenever out in the capital.

    Raul was an integral figure for the club even when Florentino Perez looked to introduce the galaxy of stars at the start of the 2000s. He was equally prominent for the start of Perez's second spell.

    He has garnered well over 200 goals, numerous Champions League and La Liga titles and is a respected and admired ambassador for the sport.

    Raul rightfully sits alongside the other greats of legendary status who have played for the club. But he is undoubtedly the king of kings for Real Madrid in the 21st century.

Alfredo Di Stefano

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    There has to be some degree of disrespect from younger fans of the game who talk about how much they loved the Peles, Liam Bradys and George Bests of the game. You can appreciate their status in the game, but will you ever understand their impact and ability on the football pitch?

    Alfredo Di Stefano certainly falls into that category. With Di Stefano, his name is synonymous with Real Madrid. Much the same way that Eusebio is with Benfica, you can't imagine the makeup of Real Madrid without some mention of the Argentine who caused much controversy with his move.

    Although too young to understand the player's ability, there is enough written in the history books of the game that tells you why Alfredo Di Stefano is considered one of the best.

    Di Stefano's legacy will remain untouched as one of the greatest to ever play for Real Madrid.

Manuel Sanchis

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    Manuel Sanchis enjoyed a wonderful career at Real Madrid, coming through the youth ranks and captaining the side for over a decade.

    Sanchis played as a real leader among normal men and there seemed to be a real sense of pride for the player to pull on the Real Madrid shirt.

    His career came to a close with a fantastic final chapter, having won the Champions League the previous year and adding it to the many domestic trophies during his great career.

Iker Casillas

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    Perhaps more than any other player currently playing at the club, Iker Casillas deserves a place among the legends of Real Madrid.

    Taking over the captaincy following the departure of Raul, Casillas has followed on the same path as his predecessor and become an outstanding representative for the club.

    A humble and modest leader, Casillas' achievements of many La Liga and Champions League titles have cemented him as one of the great players of modern football.

Zinedine Zidane

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    Zinedine Zidane arrived at Real Madrid as the most expensive and best player in the world. On some level, you've got to admire a club who can cast such a spell over the greats of world football.

    Zidane's ability on the pitch was nothing short of art, and definitely not that strange kind of art that leaves you scratching your head. Zidane highlighted everything that was wonderful about the beautiful game.

    His volley against Bayer Leverkusen will forever be immortalised as one of the greatest moments of the modern game.

Ferenc Puskas

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    Ferenc Puskas is another name that will always be associated with Real Madrid.

    A teammate of Alfredo Di Stefano, and one who would add many trophies to a glittering Real Madrid past.

    Puskas' legendary status far surpasses the names of modern greats who are still writing their names of the walls of a magnificent club.

Ronaldo

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    Ronaldo arrived at Real Madrid with a monster reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in the game and, unfortunately, with a history of long injuries.

    He was, however, one of the jewels of Florentino Perez's first reign as president and helped the team to the league title in 2003.

    One of the greatest performances of any player of the last decade was Ronaldo's hat trick at Old Trafford during the Champions League 2003.

    Unfortunately, Ronaldo is one of the greatest to never have won the Champions League. 

Fernando Hierro

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    Fernando Hierro served as the club captain and managed to rack up an extraordinary number of goals for a defensive player.

    Like many of the greats of Real Madrid, Hierro also boasts a fantastic list of honours during his time at the Bernabeu.

    One of the best defensive players of his generation and an outstanding leader on the pitch, Hierro's name is another that is always associated with Real Madrid's history and successes.

Hugo Sanchez

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    Hugo Sanchez is another one of those players who pass the younger generations by. And it certainly has nothing to do with a lack of respect for his ability.

    Sanchez is striker who had a wonderful spell at Real Madrid, one of many great forwards. His predatory instincts in front of goal rank him up there with the legends of the game and specifically with Los Blancos.

    His reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in the game did a lot for the trophy cabinet, collecting five La Liga titles during his time at the Bernabeu.