Spain has been the birthplace of many unrepeatable legends in the world of football. Read on to find out more about the best Spanish soccer players of all time.
Spain has always had great players as well as having the biggest clubs in the world. Yet, they had won only one major trophy (in 1964) before starting a remarkable era in the history of football in 2008.
The golden generation of soccer players appeared in the in the advent of the 21st century, and took Spain's national team to the pinnacle of its history by winning 3 major trophies in a row; EURO 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup, and EURO 2012.
No other team in the history of the sport has ever managed to do the same thing. Consequently, most of the players from the list of best Spanish soccer players of all time belong to the new century, when Spanish players thrived significantly, and so did their national team.
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In this article we are trying to take a quick look at some of the best Spanish footballers ever, most of which were a part of the legendary team from 2008 to 2012 and played a vital role in the team becoming one of the best national teams in the history.
Iker Casillas Fernández, born 20 May 1981, is a Spanish retired professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper.
Casillas has appeared in 725 matches during 16 years at the club, which means he is the second most capped player in history of the Whites only behind Raul Gonzalez.
He is nicknamed "Saint Iker" due to his great performances and quick reflexes that helped the club win 5 La Liga titles, 3 Champions Leagues, 2 Spanish Cups, 4 Spanish Super Cups, 1 FIFA Clubs World Cup, 2 UEFA Super Cups and 2 intercontinental Cups.
Furthermore, he has a bright career with Spain national team as well. He has won 2 European championships in 2008 and 2012 and as the Captain, lifted the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Casillas is also the second most capped player in the history of Spanish national team with 167 matches. In 2015, he left the club with tears to join Porto, where he managed to add a Portuguese League and two Portuguese Super Cups to his impressive career achievements.
He stayed there until retirement, which was due to a heart attack he had in a training session. Iker Casillas is definitely the best Spanish goalkeeper of all time and one of the best Spanish soccer players of all time.
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Luis Enrique Martínez García, born 8 May 1970, known as Luis Enrique, is a Spanish professional football manager and former player. He is the current head coach of the Spain national team and one of the best Spanish players in football history.
He made his league debut with Gijon before joining Real Madrid in 1991. He stayed there for 5 years and helped them secure 1 Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey), 1 La Liga title and 1 Spanish Super Cup, alongside making 202 appearances and scoring 16 goal for Los Blancos.
After that, he decided to join the Whites' eternal rival, Barcelona in 1996, and stayed there until he hung his boots in 2004.
The versatile player, who could play in every position except goalkeeper, won 2 La Liga titles, 2 Spanish Cups, 1 Spanish Super Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup and a UEFA cup Winners' cup with Blaugrana, as well as playing in 300 matched and scoring 108 goals for them.
Luis Enrique is a memorable player in the history of Spain's football, not only because he has played for the two prominent Spanish teams, but also because he is technically one of the best Spanish players in football history.
David Josué Jiménez Silva, born 8 January 1986, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for La Liga club Real Sociedad. Silva plays mainly as a central or an attacking midfielder but can also play as a winger or second striker.
David Silva is widely considered as one of the best left-footed players in the history of Spain and Premier League. He left Valencia in 2010, where he had played for 6 years in 166 matches and had won Copa del Rey in 2008, to join Manchester City.
He went on to make 436 appearances with citizens and become one of the best players in the history of the club with 141 assists and 77 goals. He won 4 Premier League titles, 5 League Cups, 2 FA Cups as well as 2 English Super Cups during 10 years.
Moreover, he was named in the PFA Team of the year 3 times, and is the youngest player to have reached 200 victories in the Premier League.
The gifted midfielder had a great ball-retaining ability and vision which led to him having out-standing partnership with other midfielder if the golden generation of Spanish national team such as Xavi, Iniesta, and Fabregas, and paved the way for three consecutive major titles from 2008 to 2012; 2 EUROs and 1 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Furthermore, he has played in 125 matches for Spain and has scored 35 and provided 29 assists, which means he is the fourth-higher goal scorer and second assist provider in the history of the national team.
In addition, David Silva was a part of the U-19 Spain national team that the European championship in 2004. The creative midfielder is one of the greatest Spanish footballers in history and you still can enjoy seeing him on the pitch, since he is currently playing for Real Sociedad in his country.
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Xabier Alonso Olano, born 25 November 1981, is a Spanish football manager and former professional player who played as a central midfielder.
Xabi Alonso was a hard-working tenacious central midfielder who played for Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and is commonly known as one of the best Spanish football players of all time.
He made his debut in Real Sociedad and after showing his potentials and being named as the captain of the team at a young age and being named as the best Spanish player of the year by the Spanish magazine "Don Balon", he moved to Liverpool in 2004.
He won the Champions League in his first season in Anfield, and went on to win a UEFA Super Cup, 1 FA Cup and 2 English Super Cups in the 2 following seasons. Moreover, Alonso appeared in 210 matches for Liverpool, scored 18 goals and provided 16 assists.
Later on, he transferred to Real Madrid in 2009, where he stayed for 5 years alongside playing in 236 matched and winning another Champions League in 2014, 1 La Liga title, 2 Spanish Cups, 1 Spanish Super Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. Xabi eventually left Madrid in 2014 to spend the 3 last years of his career in Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola's management.
He helped them secure 3 BundesLigas, 1 German Cup, 1 German League Cup and 1 German League Cup. Furthermore, the brilliant midfielder has played in 114 matches for Spain National, and was a vital player in achieving 2 European Championships and the 2010 World Cup.
One memorable moment in his international career would be his 100th cap for Spain, where he scored 2 goals against France in EURO 2012, and took Spain to the Semi-finals.
As a conclusion, Xabi Alonso is not only regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, but what he showed makes him worthy of being named as one of the best Spanish soccer players of all time.
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Fernando José Torres Sanz, born 20 March 1984, is a Spanish former professional footballer who played as a striker.
Even though the peak of his career happened in Liverpool, he did not achieve any team trophies there, instead he has won 1 Champions League, 1 FA Cup and one Europa League with Chelsea later on, where he is said to be 'unsuccessful'.
In his second spell in Atletico Madrid, Torres won another Europa League in 2018. Furthermore, he is the third-highest goal scorer in Spanish national team with 38 goals in 110 matches.
He scored the title-winning goal in the final of Euro 2008 against Germany, and one of the four goals of Spain in the EURO 2012 final against Italy. The intelligent was named the top scorer of EURO 2012, the European under-19 championship in 2002 (where they won the title and he was named the player of the tournament as well), and 2013 confederations Cup.
Torres was also included in FIFA World XI two times in 2008 and 2009. He is widely regarded as one of the best Spanish soccer players of all time due to his glittering career.
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Carles Puyol Saforcada, born 13 April 1978), is a Spanish retired professional footballer who played his entire career for Barcelona. Mainly a central defender, he could also play in either full-back position, mostly as a right-back, and is regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation.
Puyol is the eternal captain of Barcelona who spent his entire professional career at Camp Nou. Puyol has made 593 appearances for Blaugrana during 15 years and won 6 La Liga titles, 3 Champions Leagues, 2 Copa del Reys, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups and 2 FIFA clubs world cup.
In addition, Puyol has 100 caps for Spain and was a crucial part of the Spain national team that won EURO 2008 and World Cup in 2010, where he scored Spain's only goal in the Semi-finals against Germany.
He was a strong, agile, devoted, smart and disciplined player that forever will be remembered as not only one of the greatest Spanish soccer players ever, but one of the best defenders and captains in the history of the sport.
Senior career: Valladolid, Real Madrid, Al Rayyan, Bolton Wanderers
Fernando Ruiz Hierro, born 23 March 1968, is a Spanish former footballer who played as a central defender, sweeper or defensive midfielder, and is a coach.
Fernando Hierro is known to be one of the most incursive defenders of all time and one of the best Spanish players in football history.
He spent 14 years of his professional career in Real Madrid, where he made 587 appearances and scored the amazing number of 124 goals for the club, as a defender.
He was a key player in winning 5 LaLiga titles, 3 Champions leagues, 1 Spanish Cup, 4 Spanish Super Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup and 3 Intercontinental cups since he was a versatile hard-tackling defender with a great ability in finishing.
Speaking internationally, he has played in 88 matches for Spain national team and scored 30 goals, which is an astounding record for a center-back. Moreover, he has played in 4 consecutive World Cups from 1990 to 2002, as well as 2 EUROs in 1996 and 2000.
Hierro is widely regarded as one of the best Spanish soccer players of all time due to his capability of passing the ball in long ranges and reading the game.
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Sergio Ramos García, born 30 March 1986, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for and captains both La Liga club Real Madrid and the Spanish national team as a center back. He has also played as a right back earlier in his career.
Ramos is one of the most noteworthy players on the list of the best Spanish footballers ever.The current captain of Real Madrid and Spanish national team is the most capped player in the history of the national team. He has been representing his national team since 2005 and has made 178 appearances so far, alongside scoring 23 goals, which makes him the eighth-highest goal scorer of the team.
Moreover, he was a part of the teams that won 2 EURO titles in 2008 and 2012, as well as the World Cup in 2010, with him being named in the FIFA WC dream team in 2010 and Euro team of the tournament in 2012.
He has won numerous major titles with Real Madrid, the club for which he has played 667 times and has scored 100 goals, such as 5 La Ligas , 4 Champions Leagues, 4 Spanish Super Cups, 2 Spanish Cups, 4 FIFA Clubs World Cups and 3 UEFA Super Cups.
In addition, he has also won the European under-19 championship with his national team, and holds the record of being named in the FIFPro World XI among the defenders with being included 11 times. Ramos is worthily considered as one of the best Spanish soccer players of all time and all around the world, due to his leadership, passing and scoring abilities as well as his brilliance in defensive tasks.
Luis Suárez Miramontes, born 2 May 1935, is a Spanish former footballer and manager. He played as a midfielder for Deportivo de La Coruña, España Industrial, FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, Sampdoria and the Spain national team.
Suarez is the only player on the list who belongs to years before the 90s. Luis Suarez is regarded to be one of the greatest Spanish footballers in history since he is the only Spanish player to have ever won the Ballon d'Or (1960).
Suarez spent most of his career in Barcelona (7 years), where he claimed 2 La Liga titles, 2 Spanish Cups and 2 inter-cities fairs cups, alongside winning his Ballon d'Or when playing for Barcelona, and in Inter (9 years), where he helped the club secure 3 Italian Leagues, 2 European champions clubs cup and 2 intercontinental cups.
Moreover, Suarez has made 32 appearances for Spanish national team and played a pivotal role in winning the 1964 European championship, the Spain's first championship in a major tournament. Thus, he is unquestionably one of the best Spanish soccer players of all time due to his elegance and skills with the ball.
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David Villa Sánchez, born 3 December 1981, is a Spanish retired professional footballer who played as a striker.
Villa is undoubtedly one of the best striker, maybe "the best" striker in the history of Spain's football. He has played for some prominent clubs such as Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before leaving Europe. David Villa is the all-time leading scorer of the Spanish national tea with 59 goals in 98 appearances.
He was named the EURO 2008 top scorer with 4 goals and won 2010 World Cups silver boot with 5 goals, alongside winning those to trophies with the national team.
Furthermore, he has won a total of 3 LaLiga titles, two of which with Barcelona and one with Atletico, 1 Champions League with Barcelona in 2011, 3 Spanish Super Cups with Blaugrana and Zaragoza, 3 Spanish cups with Barca, Valencia and Zaragoza, as well as 1 FIFA clubs WC and 1 UEFA Super Cup with Barcelona in Europe.
He played in USA, where he was named the "MVP" in 2016, and JAPAN, where he helped the Vissel Kobe club secure 1 Japanese cup. The legendary striker was also named the best Spanish player of the year 2006.
As a conclusion, "El Guaje" is without a doubt one of the best Spanish soccer players of all time with a glittering career that will stay in the minds of Spain's fans.
Andrés Iniesta Luján, born 11 May 1984, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder and is the captain of Japanese club Vissel Kobe. He spent most of his career at Barcelona, where he served as the captain for three seasons.
In many experts' opinions, Iniesta is the best Spanish player ever. He is a great player with amazing vision, brilliant control on the ball, out-standing passing, having complete control on the ball and astonishing dribbling skills.
He is an example of a perfect player. Iniesta was one of the most remarkable players in Spain's champion ship in 2 EUROs in 2008 and 2012, and the 2010 World Cup, where he actually scored the decisive winning-goal in the final match in the extra times against Netherlands.
Iniesta has made 131 appearances for the national team, meaning he is the 4th most capped player of the team. Moreover, he is a genuine legend for Barcelona with 674 matches, 139 assists and 57 goals. With 37 trophies, he is the second-most decorated player of all time.
Inietsa has won numerous titles with Barcelona such as 9 LaLigas, 4 Champions Leagues, 6 Spanish Cups, 7 Spanish Cuper Cups, 3 Club World Cups and 3 UEFA Super Cups. In term of international achievements, in addition the 3 major trophies mentioned, Iniesta won the 2001 U-17 European championship and 2002 U-19 Euroepan Championship with Spain.
Furthermore, he was named the UEFA BEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN 2012, and was included in FIFPro World XI nine times, as well as being named in the all-time UEFA EURO XI.
Furthermore, he was the runner-up in 2010 Ballon d'Or and placed the third in the same award in 2012. In addition, he was named as the best World's best playmaker in 2012 and 2013 by the IFFHS.
Iniesta is the only player in the history that has been named as the player of the match in Champions League final, World Cup final and EURO final. Needless to say, he is one of the best midfielders in history, and definitely one of the greatest Spanish soccer players ever.
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Raúl González Blanco, born 27 June 1977, known as Raúl, is a Spanish football manager and former player who played as a striker. He is the current manager of Real Madrid Castilla.
Gonzalez is known to be one of the best Spanish footballers ever and also one of the best attackers in history. He captained the Whites and Spain national team for many years, hence he was given the nicknamed "El Capitano".
Raul is the most capped player in the history of Real Madrid with 741 games and the second-highest goal scorer with 324 goals. In addition he has won 3 Champions leagues, 6 La Liga titles, 4 Spanish Super Cups, 2 intercontinental cups and one UEFA Super Cup with Los Blancos.
He has won the Pichichi award (best scorer of the season in La Liga) twice, and has also been named the best Spanish footballer of the year. Moreover, Raul has made 102 appearances for Spanish national team and scored 44 goals.
Unfortunate for the superstar, he was not a part of the Spanish team that won 3 consecutive titles from 08 to 12. Yet, his career is bright enough to put him in the list of the best Spanish football players of all time.
Xavier Hernández Creus, born 25 January 1980, known as Xavi, is a Spanish professional football manager and former player who is the manager of Qatar Stars League club Al Sadd.
Xavi is considered as one of the best footballers ever and was recently included in France Football's best XI of all time. Xavi played a pivotal role in the Spain national team achievemetst in the year 2008-12, and he was also a vital player in the squad of Barcelona, where he is currently the most capped player with 767 matches and has scored 85 goals and provided 184 assists.
However, Lionel Messi is on the verge of breaking this record. He has won 8 LaLiga titles, 4 Champions Leagues, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 3 Copa del Reys, 2 clubs World Cups and 2 UEFA Super cups with Blaugrana. In addition to the 3 major trophies with Spain (2 EUROs and a World Cup), he also won the 1999 U-20 World cup with his homeland's national team.
Xavi has played in 133 games for Spain and scored 12 goals. The genius is known to have one of the best visions and passing in the history alongside an extraordinary ability in retaining the ball.
Xavi is widely regarded as not only one of the best Spanish soccer players of all time, but one of the best midfielders in history due to his luminous career achievements and stats which requires a long wait until someone as talented as him appear.
Although Spain national team has not appeared as expected in the last couple of tournaments, they seem promising with a new gifted generation that has been working under Luis Enrique's management, and has made many Spanish people hopeful about the future.
They are trying to get back their position as the best national team in Europe, and perhaps the world, after 9 years in the following EURO and World Cup.