Spain boasts an illustrious footballing heritage, producing some of the greatest players in history. La Liga, the Spanish first-tier of football, is one of the most beloved sporting competitions in the world and has been this way for nearly a century.
From Alfredo Di Stefano to Lionel Messi, from Fernando Hierro to Xavi Hernandez, La Liga has produced some of the most extraordinary talents in world football, Spanish born or otherwise.
Today, we take a look at the 10 best Spanish players of all time. We’re basing our list on statistics, and trophies won.
Considered one of the greatest midfielders of all time, Xavi earns his spot on our list with ease. The current FC Barcelona manager won the World Cup with Spain in 2010, eight La Liga titles, and four Champions Leagues with Barcelona. If this wasn’t enough, being named Best Player of the Tournament at Euro 2008 when the Spain national team was crowned champions.
Renowned for his incredible ball control and knack for creating chances for his team, Iniesta was an integral part of Spain’s World Cup win in 2010, scoring the winning goal in the final. He has won nine La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Barcelona. And, he’s managed all of this while still managing to seem rather underrated considering his incredible talent.
Iker Casillas was a great leader for Real Madrid and the national team, as well as one of the greatest goalkeepers in history. Casillas earned three Champions League titles and five La Liga crowns with the famous Madrid side. Additionally, he played an integral role in Spain’s World Cup victory in 2010.
Ramos is an impressive defender with an extraordinary resume that includes four Champions League titles and five La Liga crowns with Real Madrid. Additionally, he represented Spain at both World Cups and two European Championships. Sergio Ramos is still going strong, currently playing for Ligue 1’s PSG. And, even though he has recently retired from the Spanish national team, his legacy remains intact.
Torres was an accomplished striker, winning both the European Championships in 2008 and the World Cup two years later. At his peak, Torres was likely the best European forward. Throughout his career at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC as well as Chelsea and England, Torres scored 85 goals in 212 appearances for them. And, while his performances may have dipped toward the tail-end of his professional career, the trophies won while representing Spain make him an obvious fit for our list.
Villa is still the all-time leading scorer for Spain’s national team, with 59 goals in 98 appearances. That’s an outstanding record! Villa was an integral part of Spain’s World Cup victory in 2010, scoring five goals during the tournament. Additionally, Villa has won three La Liga titles and the Champions League with FC Barcelona.
Carlos Puyol was an unflappable defender and the heartbeat of FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team during his playing days. Puyol won six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns during his time there. Additionally, he played a key role in Spain’s World Cup victory in 2010.
Xabi Alonso earned a reputation as one of the most highly professional footballers of his generation. Alonso was an impressive midfielder who won two La Liga titles, the Champions League with Real Madrid, and one Champions League with Liverpool. He was also an important player during Spain’s greatest-ever generation of players.
Raul is one of Real Madrid’s greatest-ever strikers, scoring 323 goals in 741 appearances for the club. That is an outstanding record in itself, but even more so considering Real Madrid’s global status as the most successful club of all time. Raul earned six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns during his time at Real Madrid and was an essential figure for Spain for over a decade.
Gento is a legendary Real Madrid player, but perhaps, not a name with which most of our readers will be familiar. In a panoply of football stars, Gento sits as one of the most successful players in Real’s history. The left-winger won 12 La Liga titles and six European Cups with the club. He was renowned for his incredible speed and dribbling skills, earning him widespread praise as one of football’s great wingers.
These ten players are a testament to Spain’s incredible talent over the years. Their skill and devotion have brought honor to both their club and to Spain. From Xavi’s impeccable passing, Iniesta’s vision and control, or Casillas’ quick reflexes – each has made an imprint on football that will remain forever.