15 Greatest Real Madrid Defenders in the History of Football

Who is the best Real Madrid defender of all time?

As the most successful club in the Spanish league, it is not a surprising fact to know that Real Madrid there are hundreds of world-class footballers play for the club from time to time. The club also often spends lots of money to buy football stars from other clubs, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Zinedine Zidane. Sometimes, Real Madrid produces great footballers from its own Youth Academy.

In this article, I present you a list of 15 best Real Madrid defenders of all time. I am sure that some names such as Roberto Carlos, Sergio Ramos, and Fernando Hierro are widely known by football fans all across the world. In addition to having great skills, those defenders also have won many prestigious trophy for El Real.

15. Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane is a young defender from France who is predicted to be a star player of Real Madrid in the future. In 2011, Varane made a record as the youngest foreign player to score for Real Madrid, at the age of 18 years 152 days. He showed more consistent performances in the next season, where Varane started to get a place as a starter. In addition to his strong physique, his heading, marking, and tackling abilities are also perfect. He even did brilliant jobs in marking La Liga's world class strikers such as Lionel Messi, Radamel Falcao, and Diego Costa.

14. Álvaro Arbeloa

Alvaro Arbeloa is one of the few players on this list who was raised by Real Madrid Youth Academy. He made his debut in the senior team in 2004, and had a career at Deportivo La Coruna and Liverpool before returning to Real Madrid in 2009. Arbeloa is known as a versatile right wingback. He is tough in defense, but also great in starting the team's attack from the right side of the field.

13. Manuel Sanchis, Senior

Manuel Sanchis senior is the father of Manuel Sanchis Jr, who is considered one of the legendary players of Real Madrid. Although the performances and reputation of Sanchis senior is not as great as his son, he also contributed significantly to the success of Real Madrid. He played for Real Madrid from 1964 to 1971, winning four La Liga titles and one Champions League trophy. The Spaniard is also one among three of father-son footballers who win the Champions League, in addition to Paolo and Cesare Maldini (AC Milan) as well as Carles and Sergio Busquets (Barcelona).

12. Fabio Cannavaro

Cannavaro joined Real Madrid in 2006, shortly after he helped Italy win the World Cup. Although his physically strength was no longer in its peak, Cannavaro was still able to demonstrate stable performances during three years at the club. He won two La Liga titles and showed that he managed to mark the best young strikers in La Liga such as Fernando Torres and Lionel Messi. In 2013, Marca named Cannavaro as one of the 11 best foreign players ever to play for Real Madrid.

11. Chendo

Chendo or Miguel Porlán Noguera is a former right-back from Spain who captained Real Madrid in the 1989-1993 period. His loyalty for the club is admirable. because during the 19 years of his career as a professional footballer, Chendo only play for one club, which is Real Madrid. His career at the club was also brilliant, where he won seven league titles, two Copa del Rey, a Champions League trophy, and two UEFA Cups.

10. Marcelo

After the retirement of Roberto Carlos, Marcelo has become the mainstay of Real Madrid defense. The Defender who was signed from Fluminense is very fast, has good dribbling skills, as well as very active in helping the attack. Since joining Real Madrid in 2007, his position as the number one left-back is almost irreplaceable. So far, Marcelo has won three La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey, and a Champions League trophy.

9. Iván Helguera

Ivan Helguera did not only play as a central defender, but sometimes he was also positioned as a defensive midfielder. The Spanish footballer joined Real Madrid for eight years from 1999 to 2007. His performance was not outstanding, but very consistent and solid. As a defender, Helguera very rarely committed errors. Throughout his career, he won many trophies with Real Madrid, including two Champions League titles and three Spanish League titles.

8. José Santamaría

The Uruguayan central defender became a mainstay of Real Madrid when they dominated European competition in the late 1950s. At Real Madrid, Santamaria won three Champions Cup and six La Liga titles in a row. Due to his consistent performances and toughness in stopping the opponent's attack, Santamaria was called by the nickname "the Great Wall" by Madrid's fans. Throughout his career, he played for two different countries, Uruguay and Spain.

7. Míchel Salgado

Before the arrival of Sergio Ramos, Michel Salgado was the mainstay of the right side defense of Real Madrid. He joined the club for ten years in the 1999-2009 period. Salgado was also part of the golden generation of Real Madrid known by the name of "Los Galacticos" and played alongside football stars such as David Beckham, Luis Figo, Ronaldo, and Zinedine Zidane. In total, he appeared in 254 league matches and scored four goals.

6. José Antonio Camacho

Jose Antonio Camacho is known as Spain's best left back of all time. He played for Real Madrid from 1974 to 1989, winning nine league titles, two UEFA Cups and five Copa del Rey. He also became the number one left-back in the Spanish national team for more than a decade, represented his country in four major tournaments, the 1982 and 1986 World Cup and Euro 1984 and 1988. Upon his retirement, he worked as the manager of Real Madrid in 2004.

5. Pepe

Tough and strong. His wild and ornery characters make Pepe is given a nickname "The Animal" by football pundits. Not only that, he was also frequently involved in fights within a match and many times was red-carded by the referee. However, Pepe's prowess as a central defender cannot be doubted. His body is incredibly strong, and his tackling and heading are perfect. He also has good leadership qualities, make him to be appointed as Real Madrid vice-captain for several seasons.

4. Manuel Sanchis

With a total of 711 appearances, Manuel Sanchis is a defender with the most caps in the history of Real Madrid. His record is directly after Raul Gonzalez, the most capped player who appeared in 741 matches. Sanchis played for Real Madrid from 1983 to 2001, and was appointed as the captain of the team from 1993 to 2001. Not just tough as a central defender, Sanchis also sometimes played as a sweeper. He won many trophies for Real Madrid, among them are eight La Liga titles, two Champions League titles, and two UEFA Cups.

3. Roberto Carlos

Roberto Carlos is regarded by many football pundits as the all time best Brazilian defender of all time. He was very fast, strong, and agile. Not only that, Roberto Carlos also very often scored goals from long-range shots. His great abilities made him receive a nickname "El Hombre Bala" or "the Bullet Man." Throughout his career at Madrid from 1996 to 2007, Carlos won four La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies.

2. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is a perfect example of a defender. He can play on the left, right, and center side equally well. Not only that, his leadership qualities and his fighting spirit are also very good. His consistent, stable performances make other players feel secure. One of the best performances of Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid happened in the 2013-14 Champions League final, where he led his teammates win the match through extra-time, scoring one goal, and was elected as man of the match.

1. Fernando Hierro

Indeed, in comparison to Manuel Sanchis or Jose Camacho, Fernando Hierro presented less trophies to Real Madrid. However, there is one thing that makes Hierro to be different from other Madrid's defenders, which is his consistency in scoring goals. During 14 years playing for Real Madrid, Hierro scored 102 goals in 409 La Liga games. Most of the goal were netted through set-pieces situation, such as penalty kicks and free kicks. He was also was named the UEFA Champions League Best Defender in the 1997-98 season. During his career at El Real, Hierro claimed three Champions League titles, five La Liga titles, a Copa Del Rey, and two Intercontinental Cups.

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