Over the years of its history, Spain has consistently produced some of the best football players to have ever played the game. The top football clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona are from Spain. It is only obvious that the native players are brought up through the best academy systems into the top leagues around the world. Even before Spain’s golden era, the country had seen some of the all-time greats. Some players didn't get the opportunity to play for the nation but they have put their country in the international spotlight with their performances.
Here are the 10 best Spanish footballers of all time :
1. Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta is unarguably one of the best central midfielders in the history of the game. The maestro won everything there was to win and is one the most decorated players in history. He is the only player to have won man of the match awards in the finals in the major championships like the Champions League, the UEFA euros, and the WorldCup. Spain and his fans worldwide will always remember him for the goal against the Netherlands in the 2010 world cup which delivered Spain's first major title. He played for Barcelona where he helped the Catalans by winning nine La Liga titles, seven Spanish super cups, six Copa Del Reys, four Champions League titles, and three each of the Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup. He was a magician in terms of pure talent. The mere fact that he came close to winning the 2010 Ballon d’Or and lost only to arguably the greatest player of all time – Lionel Messi, tells you how good he was.
2. Xavi Hernandez
Xavi is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders ever. He played with Andres Iniesta and their partnership on the field was the backbone of Spain and Barcelona's dominance in world football during their prime. He was best known for his accurate passing skills and playmaking prowess that enabled him to dictate the tempo of games without losing the ball to an opponent. He has won some major titles like seven league titles, four UCL titles, two UEFA Euros and one world cup.
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3. Iker Casillas
He is popularly known as San Iker. He is one of the best shot-stoppers of his generation and surely one of the best. He was the winning captain of Spain during the 2010 world cup. He captained in all the 7 games and kept an incredible 5 clean sheets and conceded only 2 goals. He won five Spanish league titles, two UCL titles, two European Championships and a World Cup to top up his impressive trophy collection.
4. Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos has been voted one of the greatest defenders of all time by his fans worldwide. Throughout his glittering career, he has justified that recognition by winning every major tournament he competed for with both Real Madrid and his country. Ramos is best known for his leadership skills, aerial threat, hard-tackling, goal-scoring ability, and solid defending. He will be forever remembered by the Real Madrid fans for his last-minute equalizer against the city rivals Atletico in the 2014 champion league final where they went on to win. He has won many titles including a World Cup, two Euro Championships, and 4 Champions Leagues.
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5. Raul Gonzalez
Raul Gonzalez is Spain's second-highest goal scorer and one of the most prolific strikers of this generation. He is Real Madrid's third-highest goalscorer and he was best known for his eye for goal, discipline and technical skills. He was unlucky not to have won anything with his country but contributed to six league titles and three Champions League triumphs for the Los Blancos.
6. David Villa
David Villa is perhaps Spain’s best striker ever. He was genuinely one of the most lethal strikers during his time. Villa is Spain’s highest scorer with 59 goals in 98 appearances. His goals were crucial during his country’s run to winning the 2008 Euros and the 2010 World Cup. He won two league titles and a champions league for Barcelona. Later he went to Atletico Madrid where he helped them to win their first league title after almost two decades.
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7. Carles Puyol
He is the legendary captain who represented both FC Barcelona and Spain and was known for his humility and kindness. He captained Barcelona to their historic treble in 2009 and went on to become one of the best defenders of his generation. He made more than 580 appearances for Barcelona. He won 6 La Liga titles and 3 champions leagues. He also played a century of games with Spain and won the Euros and the world cup.
8. Fernando Hierro
Fernando Hierro is widely regarded as Spain’s best-ever centre-back. He scored a ridiculous 29 goals in 89 appearances for Spain. That is a crazy record for a defender. He spent most of his career at Real Madrid making over 600 appearances while winning five La Liga and 3 Champions League titles in that time. His defensive strengths and scoring ability undoubtedly earn him a place on this list.
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9. Luis Suarez Miramontes
The legendary Spanish footballer was one of the best attacking midfielders in the world during the 60s. He represented Barcelona, Inter Milan, and the Spain national team. He won two La Liga titles and three Italian Serie A titles. Luis Suarez was also part of Spain’s Euro 1964 triumph. He also won the highly coveted Ballon d’Or in 1960 to further cement his place as one of the best of his time.
10. Xabi Alonso
Alonso was quite a versatile player equipped with excellent technique and resilience. Xabi was criminally underrated and few realize just how good he was, not to mention the numerous titles he has to show for it. He won one trophy each in the Champions League, FA Cup, Uefa Super Cup, and FA Community Shield with Liverpool. He went on to win one title each in the CL, La Liga, Spanish Super Cup, and two Copa Del Reys with Real Madrid. He went to Bayern Munich where he also won all domestic titles.
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