Benzema, Ronaldo, Puskas, Zidane: Who's Real Madrid's greatest ever player?

Another week, another masterclass by Karim Benzema.

In 2021/22, the Real Madrid striker has been outrageously good and he took himself up to 41 goals for the season against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.

Benzema has now scored 320 goals in 600 games across all competitions with Los Blancos, a phenomenal record.

He’s a bona fide Real Madrid legend and may become just the eighth player to win the Ballon d’Or while playing for the world’s most famous club.

But where does Benzema rank among the plethora of iconic footballing figures to have donned the white jersey?

Well, FourFourTwo have provided their answer to that question in their ranking of the 50 greatest Real Madrid players in history.

Let’s take a look at their list in full…

50-41

50. Mesut Ozil

49. Raphael Varane

48. Guti

47. Juanito

46. Steve McManaman

45. Fernando Morientes

44. Jose Maria Zarraga

43. David Beckham

42. Predrag Mijatovic

41. Pepe

A very modern feel to the first group of 10, with two English players making the cut in Beckham and McManaman. Juanito famously scored Real Madrid’s 3000th La Liga goal, while it was Guti who netted the 5000th.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – DECEMBER 6: David Beckham of Real Madrid closely watched by the media during the Spanish Primera Liga match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Nou Camp Stadium on December 6, 2003 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

40-31

40. Rafael Gordillo

39. Jacinto Quincoces

38. Angel Di Maria

37. Chengo

36. Ignacio Zoco

35. Hector Rial

34. Amancio Amaro

33. Fernando Redondo

32. Marcelo

31. Jose Antonio Camacho

A far more old-school feel to the second block of Real Madrid greats, which is lovely to see. Marcelo, Di Maria and Redondo are the only three to have represented the club in the 21st century. All of the 10 players above won trophies galore and Camacho’s 577 appearances is the ninth-most in Los Blancos’ history.

MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 05: Angel Di Maria (R) of Real Madrid celebrates scoring with his teammate Marcelo during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 5, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

30-21

30. Gareth Bale

29. Manolo

28. Miguel Munoz

27. Toni Kroos

26. Marquitos

25. Jose Santamaria

24. Claude Makelele

23. Santillana

22. Ronaldo

21. Martin Vazquez

Despite being on the receiving end of boos from Real Madrid fans in recent years, Bale makes the top 30 – and deservedly so. He’s joined by teammate Kroos, with Makelele and Ronaldo the other modern day greats to feature alongside a small collection of 20th century icons. Santillana in 23rd-place ranks fifth for both games played (645) and goals scored (290) at Real Madrid.

MADRID, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 08: Toni Kroos (R) of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their third goal with teammate Gareth Bale (L) during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 8, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

20-11

20. Vicente Del Bosque

19. Ivan Zamorano

18. Emilio Butragueno

17. Roberto Carlos

16. Ricardo Zamora

15. Pirri

14. Hugo Sanchez

13. Karim Benzema

12. Raymond Kopa

11. Luka Modric

So, Benzema occupies 13th spot, ahead of other legendary strikers like Zamorano, Butragueno and Sanchez. Kopa and Modric are the only players ahead of the Frenchman in the penultimate block of 10 and they’re two of Real Madrid’s Ballon d’Or winners. If (or should we say ‘when’) Benzema joins them in that regard, he should probably leapfrog both on the list.

MADRID, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 19: Karim Benzema (L) of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their opening goal with teammates Luka Modric (R)during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Granada CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 19, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

10-1

10. Luis Figo

Another Ballon d’Or winner at Real Madrid and a true footballing genius. Figo’s move to Real Madrid from Barcelona remains one of the most controversial in history, but he was worth every single penny. He scored 56 goals, assisted a further 93 and won three trophies during his five sublime years in Madrid.

9 May 2001: Luis Figo of Real Madrid celebrates scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi-final Second Leg between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid at the Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany. Bayern Munich won the match 2 – 1. \ Mandatory Credit: Mike Hewitt /Allsport

9. Ferenc Puskas

One of the most exceptional strikers the sport has ever seen. Puskas netted 242 goals in 262 games in a Real Madrid shirt, an average of 0.92 per appearance. He also won three European Cups and notably scored four goals in the 7-3 final victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960, the only time that feat has been achieved.

Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas (1927 – 2006) of Real Madrid leads the team out to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, London, 22nd November 1966. (Photo by Robert Stiggins/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

8. Santiago Bernabeu

The stadium is named after Bernabeu and without him, the club wouldn’t be the same as it is today. He was a brilliant player in the 1920s and was then president for 35 years between 1943 and 1978, overseeing a ridiculous amount of on-pitch success. Arguably the most important figure in Real Madrid’s illustrious history.

MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 01: Real Madrid and Mexico striker Hugo Sanchez pictured outside of the Bernabeu Stadium in April 1989 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Allsport/Getty Images)

7. Raul Gonzalez

What a striker Raul was. He’s Real Madrid’s second-highest scorer on 323 goals and leads the way for appearances with an enormous 741. Raul brought an end to his incredible 16-year career at Los Blancos in 2010, with six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues to boot.

MADRID, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 24: Raul Gonzalez celebrates scoring his second goal, the 7-1, during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Real Sporting de Gijon at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on September 24, 2008 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

6. Paco Gento

A man who is in the conversation to be labelled the greatest left winger in history. As well as tormenting opposing defenders for fun in a Real Madrid shirt, Gento won six (yes, SIX) European Cups, which is still the most by any footballer.

Spanish footballer Francisco Gento training at Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium, North London, UK, 24th May 1967. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

5. Iker Casillas

San Iker could do it all between the sticks and rarely ever dropped a bad performance. He’s still the youngest goalkeeper to appear in a Champions League final and holds the record for the most clean sheets in the competition’s history. It’s a real shame things turned slightly sour towards the end of his Real Madrid career, but the fact remains that he’s an all-time great.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 12: Iker Casillas of Real Madrid reacts during the La Liga match between Espanyol and Real Madrid at the Nuevo Estadio de Cornella-El Prat stadium on September 12, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

4. Sergio Ramos

Probably the finest ever Real Madrid captain. As well as leading the team marvellously for so many years and winning 22 trophies overall, Ramos scored a ridiculous number of goals for a centre-back. He left the Bernabeu with a collection totalling 101 across all competitions, a return worthy of a decent striker.

MADRID, SPAIN – JULY 02: Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid celebrates his team’s first goal during the Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Getafe CF at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on July 02, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

3. Zinedine Zidane

A world-class player for Real Madrid and an equally good manager. In his playing days, ‘Zizou’ scored an incredible volley to win the 2001 Champions League final and he then guided the club to a famous ‘three-peat’ in the competition from the dugout. The word ‘legend’ doesn’t really do him justice.

MILAN, ITALY – MAY 28: Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane shows the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

2. Alfredo Di Stefano

Two Ballon d’Ors, 308 goals in 396 games, eight La Liga titles, five Pichichis and five European Cups, that’s what Di Stefano achieved in his 11-year stint at Real Madrid. Not bad, eh? Oh and he also scored in every single one of the five European Cup finals he played in. They don’t make them quite like the ‘Blond Arrow’ anymore.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Who else could it be, eh? Ronaldo is Real Madrid’s all-time record scorer with 450 goals and he somehow achieved it in just 438 games. That return is absurd and will never be equalled by another player. Ronaldo also won four Champions Leagues at Real Madrid and scored 30 or more goals in every single season he was at the club. The 37-year-old really was a footballing cyborg in the Spanish capital.

MADRID, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 19: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrate after scoring Real’s 3rd goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
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