Spanish footballers– La Roja has seen many players don its shirts from generation to generation. Many of these players built their career in the Spanish League and played a crucial role in putting La Liga on the map of the world. The likes of Telmo Zarra, Cesar Rodriguez, and a host of others still hold a place in the history of Spanish football.
Though the Spanish football team has produced many great players, they did not begin to taste success at the international level. A blend of Real Marid and Barcelona players saw them win World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship back to back (2008 and 2012). They have established themselves as one of the best national teams in the world since then.
This is why we have combined decided to bring to you our readers the top 10 best players to ever play for Spain in a countdown.
#10. Andoni Zubizarreta
You probably remember Zubizarreta as Barcelona’s former director of football but he had an active football career before moving into administration. His playing career spanned from 1979 and 1998 playing for different Spanish teams including Athletic Bilbao and Valencia. He made his debut for Spain against Finland in 1985. 13 years after, he had amassed over 100 caps and represented La Roja in four consecutive FIFA World Cups. He will also be fondly remembered for scoring an own goal at his last World Cup in 1998 in a game against Nigeria. He currently functions as Marseille’s director of football.
#9. Emilio Butragueno
Butragueno was one of the Spanish footballers that led Madrid to success before the era of the galacticos. Butragueno’s career began with Real Madrid as a youth in 1981 and by the time he was leaving them in 1995, he had scored 123 league goals in 341 appearances. He began his national team career with Spain U-21 in 1983 before making his senior debut in 1984. He would go on to play for Spain for the next eight years making 69 appearances and bagging 26 goals. He also played at the 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cups.
#8. Fernando Hierro
It is practically impossible to leave out Fernando Hierro on this list of Spanish footballers. Hierro played as a center back and a defensive midfielder throughout his career and he somehow managed to score over 100 career goals. Only a few defensive players have such scoring records. He made his debut for Spain in 1989 before retiring from the national team in 2002. As a defensive player, he scored 29 goals from 89 appearances. Some strikers will kill to have such a goalscoring record. He played in the 1994, 1998, and 2002 FIFA World Cups.
#7. Raul Gonzalez
Raul Gonzalez was also a Real Madrid legend. He was one of the Spanish footballers who shone with the foreign galacticos in Real Madrid. This guy played with great players like Zidane, Guti, and co. He was Madrid’s record goalscorer until CR7 showed up. After good outings with Spain’s age-grade teams, he made his senior national team debut in 1996 and would go on to play for La Roja till 2006. He featured in three international tournaments including three FIFA World Cups. He retired from the Spanish national team with a record of 44 goals in 102 games.
#6. Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is a controversial player. A cocktail of different expressions such that you can both love him and hate him. He is a very solid and composed defender but somehow indisciplined too (try looking up his bookings’ record). Ramos has built a very successful career for himself at club and international level. He made his Spain debut aged 18 years in 2005 as a right back. It has been fifteen years since then and he is still on the national team. He has made 170 appearances for Spain with 21 goals to his name has two European Championships and one World Cup as part of his trophy haul.
#5. Carles Puyol
Puyol’s career and personality definitely saw him retire as one of the greatest Spanish footballers of all time. The La Masia product played for Barcelona at club level winning multiple trophies. For Spain, he made his senior debut in the year 2000 playing at multiple international tournaments including the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. He won Euro 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup before an injury stopped him from featuring ant Euro 2012. He made his last appearance for Spain against Uruguay in February 2013 which also happened to be his 100th game.
#4. Xavi Hernandez
Like the aformentioned Puyol, Xavi was also a product of La Masia. Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets formed a formidable partnership that led Barcelona to unprecedented success under Guardiola. The same partnership saw Spain conquer in all major competitions around the same time. Xavi was a deep-lying playmaker with an incredible ability to make defense splitting passes. He made his senior debut in the year 2000 making 133 appearances in 14 years. Xavi is widely considered as one of the best midfielders of all time.
#3. Iker Casillas
Casillas ranks third on our list Spanish footballers. Though he was plagued with errors towards the end of his career, the legacy of the legendary goalkeeper is not in any way tainted. He was a product of Real Madrid’s youth system and no sooner was he promoted to the first team did he make his senior national team debut. He played his first game aged 19 years and 14 days. He went on to become a mainstay for La Roja representing them at major international tournaments and winning trophies too. He retired in 2016 after 167 playing 167 games for Spain.
#2. Andres Iniesta
Like most Barcelona players on this list, Iniesta was also a product of Barcelona’s academy. His playing style is very similar to that of Xavi only that he has more spice than his former teammate. Iniesta leaves opposition players for dead with his stunning dribbles and knows how to make killer passes too. Iniesta established himself as Spain legend when he scored the winning goal that secured his team’s first-ever FIFA World Cup trophy in 2010.
#1. David Villa
Villa tops our ranks number one on our list of Spanish footballers and why not. He made his Spain debut in 2005 before retiring in 2017. He won two major trophies but more importantly, he is La Roja’s all-time record scorer. Villa’s record stands at 59 goals in 98 games.
Tags: Spanish footballers