Ronaldo, CR7, Bale: Who are Real Madrid's most prolific forwards since 2000?


Real Madrid are the biggest football club in the world, probably.

The legendary sporting institution have won the Champions League a record-breaking 13 times, have been crowned Spanish champions more than any other side and were even named FIFA Club of the Century.

But regardless of whether you think they’re the undisputed GOATs in terms of football clubs, they’re in the top three at the very least and it’s no wonder that so many players want to sign for them.

Legendary Real Madrid players

And it’s their historic allure and success that gives them the power to attract some of the greatest footballers to every play the game, many of which have come in the form of prolific goal-scorers.

The prime example is the inimitable Cristiano Ronaldo, who went on to become Real Madrid‘s all-time record scorer, though Karim Benzema has also proven his worth since the Portuguese’s exit.

And here at GIVEMESPORT, we’ve been looking at the strikers that have played for some of the biggest clubs in the world over the last few months and Real are the final team on our list.


Ranking Real Madrid strikers

We’ve taken all of their forwards since 2000 and ranked them by their goal-per-game ratio to truly see which attackers have been the most prolific at the Bernabeu.

All statistics are correct at the time of writing per Transfermarkt and players must have made a minimum of 10 first-team appearances for Real to qualify.

And although there’s no objective way to define a ‘forward’, we’ve picked the players who primarily played as wingers or out-and-out number nines as opposed to in midfield like, say, Zinedine Zidane.

Disclaimers aside, though, you can check out the good, the bad and the ugly of Real forwards since the turn of the century down below:


40. Perica Ognjenovic – 0.05

Goals: 1

Games: 22

It seems pretty head-scratching in hindsight that Real offloaded a certain Samuel Eto’o out on loan to Espanyol in order to make room for Ognjenovic, who finishes rock bottom of our list.

It wasn’t until Guus Hiddink was ditched as manager that the Yugoslavia international could even make his debut and just a single goal for Los Blancos hardly warranted his slew of winners’ medals. 

39. Eden Hazard – 0.05

Goals: 1

Games: 21

By his own account, 2019/20 was the worst season of Hazard’s career and while his assist tally and the nature of his performances might have been palatable, his goal-scoring certainly wasn’t.

Nobody is under any illusion that Zinedine Zidane has lost faith in the Belgian – injuries robbed him of any momentum, after all – but there’s no room for second-season-syndrome, that’s for sure.


38. Elvir Baljic – 0.05

Goals: 1

Games: 19

Like Ognjenovic, Baljic is another Eastern European forward who plied his trade at the Bernabeu during the turn of the century and couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo.

His shocking stats are made even worse when you consider his €26 million transfer fee – an ex-Yugoslavia record until 2011 – though he was unlucky to rupture both his cruciate ligaments before his debut season.

37. Pedro Munitis – 0.06

Goals: 5

Games: 81

We have our first forward who managed more than a single goal in the Spanish capital, but Munitis is merely further proof that Real had a terrible eye for strikers during the early 2000s.

That being said, Munitis did leave the club with a Champions League and La Liga trophy in spite of his poor form in front of goal and would later challenge Lionel Messi in the assist charts for Racing Santander.


36. Antonio Nunez – 0.07

Goals: 1

Games: 15

Oh, no, wait, we’re back to single-goal forwards again and Nunez’s situation is particularly awkward considering that lone strike came just seven minutes into his La Liga career with Los Blancos.

But that cameo effort off the bench against Villarreal would prove to be his last, ultimately leaving for Liverpool after just one season, where he also only scored once despite winning the Champions League.

35. Luka Jovic – 0.08

Goals: 2

Games: 26

What a catastrophic signing this has turned out to be for Real and spending €60 million on a striker with just two goals all season is just the tip of the iceberg.

Jovic was investigated by Serbian authorities after breaking lockdown to attend his girlfriend’s birthday party in Belgrade and swiftly proceeded to break a bone in foot while training at home.


34. Vinicius Junior – 0.12

Goals: 8

Games: 69

Look, there’s no denying that Vinicius has got the talent and we’re talking about a 20-year-old for whom the only way is up, but we can all agree that the Brazilian needs to improve his goal-scoring.

Three strikes during his debut season and five across his second is hardly anything to write home about and Zidane will want to start seeing an end product to match the skills, pace and dribbling.

33. Lucas Vazquez – 0.12

Goals: 24

Games: 205

Nobody’s pretending as though Vazquez is demanded to be an out-and-out goalscorer at Real, so 33rd place is pretty middle-of-the-road, but it’s hardly going to make him an icon at the world’s biggest club.

Vazquez can proudly boast a trophy cabinet including three Champions League titles and two La Liga crowns, though we’re not sure many Real fans would lose any sleep if he departed this summer.


32. Javier Balboa – 0.13

Goals: 2

Games: 15

A product of the club’s youth academy, Balboa is perhaps most famous for scoring from a Robinho assist on his Champions League debut, before finding the net in the Copa del Rey two months later.

And that’s where the goal-scoring ended with Balboa eventually being dropped after coming to blows with Pepe in training, eventually leaving for Benfica after just two seasons in the first-team.

31. Antonio Cassano – 0.14

Goals: 4

Games: 29

Go on, admit, you forgot that Cassano ever played for Real, didn’t you? Well, things started going downhill fast for the Italian after scoring against Real Betis in his first game since leaving AS Roma.

Cassano, infamous for his partying lifestyle, quickly became overweight, prompting the club to fine him by the gram and he was hastily sold after being suspended due to his ‘disrespect’ to Fabio Capello.


30. Pedro Leon – 0.14

Goals: 2

Games: 14

Perhaps the only note-worthy fact about Leon’s time with Real was Jose Mourinho’s unabashed hatred for him and Spanish football journalist Sid Lowe once gave alarming details of their clashes.

Lowe reported: “One day, Mourinho told León that even if the team plane crashed without him on it and he was the only man available, he still would not play the following week.” Sheesh.

29. Roberto Soldado – 0.15

Goals: 4

Games: 27

Soldado is another player you can easily forget played for Real and his form for the club, albeit during his younger years as a pro, was even worse than his time with Tottenham Hotspur.

Nevertheless, the Spanish striker – who went on to score 81 times for Valencia – earned himself the number nine jersey at the Bernabeu, even if he only started a single first-team game wearing it.


28. Javier Saviola – 0.17

Goals: 5

Games: 30

Saviola is one of those rare individuals that played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, finishing in an impressive seventh place during our Barca ranking above the likes of Thierry Henry and David Villa.

But things weren’t so rosy when he traversed the battle-lines of El Clasico, failing to establish himself as more than a latter-game substitution and eventually being ousted by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

27. Julio Baptista – 0.17

Goals: 13

Games: 77

Baptista’s Real Madrid career was certainly a strange one, playing singular seasons either side of being shifted out on loan to Arsenal and having to compete with compatriots Ronaldo and Robinho for game-time.

And his scoring record is nothing to be ashamed of considering he was so often played out wide, even impressing enough in 2007/08 to keep Guti on the bench as well as scoring at Camp Nou.


26. Jose Antonio Reyes – 0.18

Goals: 7

Games: 38

It’s easy to forget that Reyes spent a season out on loan at Real after seeing his Arsenal form peter out and frankly, his uninspiring goal-scoring record at the club is a big reason behind that.

Nevertheless, Reyes will always be loved by the Bernabeu faithful for his brace against Mallorca to secure the La Liga title, even though he went on to enjoy greater success across the city with Atletico.

25. Savio – 0.19

Goals: 30

Games: 160

Savio’s time at the club might have ended with a whimper, spending his final season out on loan in France, but the Brazilian can’t complain too much about winning three Champions League titles in four years.

He wasn’t merely a passenger in those European odysseys either, chipping in with continental strikes during all three victories and only latterly falling victim to the rolling out of the ‘Galacticos’ project.


24. Angel Di Maria – 0.19

Goals: 36

Games: 190

It seems a little strange seeing Di Maria amongst some of these purebred number nines because assists tend to be his currency, but finishing this highly reiterates his constant scoring threat from out wide.

You get the impression that Di Maria, if he had things his way, would never have left Los Blancos for a doomed spell at Old Trafford and fans will never forget his masterclass in the 2014 Champions League final.

23. Jese – 0.19

Goals: 18

Games: 94

Jese is one of those players that serve as a reminder that just being good isn’t, well, good enough to succeed at Real because eight, four and six goals in his final three seasons isn’t too bad in your early twenties.

But Real have only looked vindicated in their decision to sell him with Jese struggling for game-time at Paris Saint-Germain, flagging out on loan at Stoke City and most recently ticking over with Sporting Lisbon.


22. Arjen Robben – 0.20

Goals: 13

Games: 65

You’d think that Robben bombing down the wing at the Bernabeu would have caused chaos in La Liga, but Real fans never really got to see the Robben that would go on to thrive at Bayern Munich.

And although the arrival of Ronaldo ultimately spelt his demise in 2009, there were still some memorable moments for the left-footed wizard, including a goal in the iconic 4-1 thrashing of Barcelona.

21. Marco Asensio – 0.21

Goals: 30

Games: 144

Making over 100 appearances for Real at just 24 years old is pretty impressive going, especially after spending much of 2019/20 out injured, while finishing 21st in these standings is even better still.

If Asensio can rediscover the goal-scoring form that saw him reach double figures during his first two seasons at the Bernabeu, you can expect him to overtake even more strikers in the years to come.


20. Borja Mayoral – 0.23

Goals: 7

Games: 31

To tell you the truth, 20th place flatters Mayoral and although there’s still plenty of time for him to kick on at 23 years old, two seasons out on loan at Levante haven’t exactly set the world alight.

It remains to be seen whether the Spaniard will ever pull on the famous white jersey again – Lazio have been linked with a move – but at least he scored in the club’s most recent Champions League-winning campaign.

19. Luis Figo – 0.23

Goals: 56

Games: 245

Considering he was more of a midfielder, it might seem a little harsh to consider Figo a ‘forward’ on this list, but the only players for which this decision is harsh are the out-and-out number nines behind him.

Figo always had an eye for a goal, reaching double figures during four of his five seasons at the club and ultimately outdoing the 45 strikes he garnered in the colours of Barcelona.


18. Mariano Diaz – 0.25

Goals: 10

Games: 40

A superb 2017/18 campaign with Lyon was enough to encourage Real to re-sign the Frenchman despite only scoring five times during his first spell – and it’s been something of a mixed bag since.

Mariano bagged a stunner against AS Roma last season and popped up with a shock goal in El Clasico to open his account for 2019/20. At present, though, we wish him all the best in his recovery from COVID-19.

17. Robinho – 0.26

Goals: 35

Games: 137

Few players make you wonder ‘what could have been?’ more than Robinho, showing flashes of brilliance across spells with Real, Manchester City and AC Milan without every really reaching his potential.

Nevertheless, scoring 15 times during the La Liga-winning 2007/08 season was undoubtedly a high-watermark for the skilled winger and he formed a deadly partnership with compatriot Ronaldo.


16. Jose Callejon – 0.26

Goals: 20

Games: 77

There’s perhaps no player who better sums up the dizzyingly-high standards at Real than Callejon, because it’s hard to look at his statistics and understand why he’d be sold to Napoli so casually.

Thirteen goals under Mourinho during his debut campaign made him a useful threat out wide and immediately finding the net 20 times when he touched down in Naples suggests he had more to give in Spain.

15. Javier Hernandez – 0.27

Goals: 9

Games: 33

There’s a few strikers on this list that were brought in for just one season or six months because of difficult circumstances or a manager’s whim and Hernandez is perhaps the finest example of that cohort.

‘Chicharito’ was never a regular starter on loan from Manchester United, but was always a threat off the bench and proved his predatory instincts with a memorable Champions League winner against Atletico Madrid.


14. Rodrygo – 0.28

Goals: 7

Games: 25

Look, we’re not getting ahead of ourselves here because seven goals makes Rodrygo’s sample size pretty tiny and especially when almost half of them were scored in the 6-0 thrashing of Galatasaray.

That being said, you’ve got to credit the Brazilian for nearly matching his compatriot Vinicius’ total in fewer than half the games and all before his 20th birthday. One of the world’s finest starlets, no doubt.

13. Javier Portillo – 0.29

Goals: 17

Games: 59

The hype when Portillo broke into the Real first-team was palpable after the Spaniard had broken Raul’s scoring record in the youth set-up and the goals continued to flow when he graduated.

Fans will always love him for his late goal against Borussia Dortmund, as well as bagging 14 strikes during the 2002/03 campaign, though Ruud van Nistelrooy’s arrival eventually spelled his demise in 2006.


12. Alvaro Morata – 0.33

Goals: 31

Games: 95

Morata would be much, much further down the list if he didn’t return to Real after two seasons with Juventus in 2016, scoring an impressive 20 goals in 43 games after just 11 strikes in his first 52 outings.

It’s a little surprising then that Zidane was so blasé about shipping him to Chelsea just one season after his fairytale return and even more bizarrely, he’s now donning the colours of bitter rivals Atletico.

11. Michael Owen – 0.36

Goals: 16

Games: 45

It’s easy to write off Owen’s decision to ditch Liverpool for Real as some sort of disaster, largely because game-time was hard to come by and he was wearing a Newcastle shirt just one year later.

But Owen’s currency has always been goals, most notably finding the net during a 4-2 win over Barcelona, and it speaks volumes that he only misses out on the top ten by a few decimal places.


10. Emmanuel Adebayor – 0.36

Goals: 8

Games: 22

Few things were stranger than Adebayor ditching his Manchester City nightmare halfway through the 2009/10 season to join Real Madrid on loan, even donning the number 6 shirt for extra madness.

His goal-scoring record at the club was nothing to be sniffed at, though; scoring in the Copa del Rey semi-final, bagging a brace in the Champions League quarter-finals and smashing home a hat-trick against Almeria.

9. Fernando Morientes – 0.37

Goals: 100

Games: 272

It’s a shame that Morientes’ reputation is a little flat in English football because of his workman-like spell with Liverpool, but he was one of Europe’s most feared centre forwards during his Real pomp.

The Spaniard, barely past his teens at the time, racked up 25 goals during his second season at the club and his most important strike out of the century came in the 2000 Champions League final.


8. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar – 0.40

Goals: 8

Games: 20

Hmmmm… yeh. We’ve got to put our hands up here and say this metric isn’t perfect, because let’s not pretend as though eight goals in 20 games make Huntelaar one of Real’s top ten strikers.

Huntelaar has never lacked an eye for goal wherever he’s gone, eventually shining brightest with over 100 goals for Schalke, but his solitary season in sunny Spain was nothing spectacular.

7. Gareth Bale – 0.42

Goals: 105

Games: 251

Well, well, well. Bale’s time at Real might have descended into golf-photograph-posing-and-face-mask-napping farce, but the statistics speak for themselves and even Zidane can’t deny them.

It’s impressive to think Bale has outscored the Frenchman himself as well as Ronaldo and Figo from a wide position, scoring winners in two Champions League finals and THAT goal during the 2014 Copa del Rey climax.


6. Raul – 0.44

Goals: 325

Games: 741

The standard by which all Real strikers will ultimately be judged, Raul was a generational talent and it took one of the greatest footballers in history to supplant him as the club’s finest ever goalscorer.

The Spanish legend went eight seasons out of nine scoring more than 20 goals during his prime and showed his knack for the big occasion by finding the net in the 2000 and 2002 Champions League finals.

5. Gonzalo Higuain – 0.46

Goals: 122

Games: 264

His time at Napoli aside, Higuain has never received the praise his goal-scoring prowess has deserved and let a fifth-place finish show that his spell with Real remains criminally underrated.

It’s staggering to think the Argentine surpassed a century of goals for the club despite often being a third-choice striker and frankly, selling him in 2013 might have been premature.


4. Karim Benzema – 0.48

Goals: 248

Games: 512

Just because Benzema can’t produce the galactic numbers of a certain striker even higher on the list, it doesn’t make him any less of a club legend and his 2019/20 numbers speak for themselves.

The Frenchman helped inspire Real to La Liga glory with 26 goals in all competitions, making it the eighth season in which he’s surpassed 20 strikes for Los Blancos. Not bad for £31.5 million, huh?

3. Ronaldo Nazario – 0.59

Goals: 104

Games: 177

It’s both remarkable and terrifying in equal measure that Ronaldo produced such staggering statistics as a Real player despite the fact back-to-back knee injuries had already brought him down a gear.

But Ronaldo at 80% was still miles and miles above most footballers at 100%, so we shouldn’t be surprised that he caused carnage at Real and naturally scored within a single minute of his debut.


2. Ruud van Nistelrooy – 0.67

Goals: 64

Games: 96

While most football fans can tell you that Van Nistelrooy plied his trade at Real for a couple of seasons, we bet that many of them will have forgotten just how prolific he was for the club.

Van Nistelrooy topped our ranking of United strikers by goal-per-game ratio and placing this highly for Los Blancos, above both Ronaldo and Benzema, only solidifies his status as one of the greatest goal-getters of all time.


1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 1.03

Goals: 450

Games: 438

Oh. My. Goodness. Can we please just take a moment to stop, pause and realise that Ronaldo scored more goals than he played games at Real Madrid… bagging on 450(!!!) occasions in less than a decade.

What Ronaldo achieved at the Bernabeu will rightfully go down in footballing folklore, scoring more than a half-century of goals in six consecutive seasons and procuring four Champions League crowns.

He is, by all accounts, the greatest footballer to ever pull on the legendary white jersey and perhaps the most epochal athlete of modern times, wholly incapsulating his prime at a single football club.


Ronaldo miles and miles ahead

So, there you have it, Ronaldo is in a league of his own.

It should come as no surprise that Ronaldo tops the list, but to finish that far ahead of generational strikers like Van Nistelrooy, Benzema and his namesake is nothing short of staggering.

He is the only player in this entire series to produce a ratio exceeding one – and yes, that includes Lionel Messi – so it feels incredibly fitting to end our rankings on the greatest goalscorer of them all.


Credit to Sam Brookes for his statistical research – you can check him out on Twitter here.

News Now - Sport News