On Sunday, March 6, Real Madrid celebrates its 120th birthday. A history traveled always dressed in white through conquests that have made it the most successful club in League titles (34) and European Cups (13). On the occasion of this anniversary, ABC goes looking for the best of all time within the institution. Starting from a previous selection made by the newsroom, readers will be able to choose their favorites in a vote divided day by day by categories (coach, goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, forwards and presidents) until the club’s final honor roll is established.
Candidates for best forward
Manuel Fernandez Fernandez ‘Pahino’ (San Paio de Navia, Pontevedra, 1923): Surely the first great scorer in the history of Real Madrid.
His 125 goals in 143 official matches between 1948 and 1953 support the claim. A born finisher, ambidextrous, a man from the area and with a magnet in his head to catch all kinds of centers. He was top scorer in the League in the 51-52 season (28 goals) and left the Bernabéu without having shared a dressing room with Di Stéfano, the great thorn in his career. “Together we would have scored a pile of goals,” said the Argentine about him. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 89.
Alfredo DiStefano (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1926): The legend of legends. Real Madrid, or football in general, cannot be understood without the figure of the Buenos Aires striker, who wore the Madrid colors for a decade of glory, from 1953 to 1964. A goalscoring prodigy (308 goals in 396 games) who raised the dimension of the footballer to unsuspected heights. In addition to winning two Ballon d’Ors (1957 and 1959) and eight league titles, he was the star that led the Whites to the feat of winning five consecutive European Cups. When Judgment Day arrives and the best footballer in history is chosen, someone will raise their hand and say: “I lived in Madrid at the time of Di Stéfano.” The great talent left us in 2014.
Francisco Gento (Guarnizo, Cantabria, 1933): The only man in history with six European Cups. Club man and tireless dribbler, with 600 matches dressed in white behind his back in 18 campaigns (1953-1971). He was a squire to Di Stéfano and Puskas in the best Madrid in history and his cannon disguised as a left leg provided goals and assists in spades. During his presence in the team, Madrid’s dominance was both continental and national, as the team won no less than 12 leagues. The memory of him is more latent than ever, since he passed away last January.
Amancio Amaro (La Coruña, La Coruña, 1953): When he arrived at Real Madrid in 1962 from misty Galicia and began to do mischief on the pitch, those present had no choice but to nickname him El Brujo. A talent that he began to associate the words football and entertainment and that he defended the white shield for 14 years (1962-1976), where he played 471 games and scored 155 goals. He took over from Di Stéfano and led Madrid yeyé to the sixth European Cup in the club’s history. Not only at the Bernabéu was he an idol, since he won the first European Championship in Spain in 1964.
Carlos Alonso Gonzalez, ‘Santillana’ (Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, 1952): a huge jump and header, one of the most unstoppable in the history of Real Madrid, despite the fact that he was only 175 centimeters tall. With Juanito, he formed one of the strikers most loved by Madrid fans and under his mantra the team won nine leagues in 17 seasons (1971-1988), where the Spaniard accumulated 290 notches in 645 games.
Juan Gomez, ‘Juanito’ (Fuengirola, Málaga, 1954): one of the great loves of the Bernabéu. Sharp striker, talented and with an unparalleled ability to sacrifice, qualities that made him add 121 goals in 401 games in his decade (1977-1987) with Real Madrid. Pichichi in the 83-84 season, five league titles in his particular record and an ambition and competitiveness out of the ordinary. He sadly passed away in a traffic accident in 1992 when he was returning from watching a Real Madrid match against Torino. When the team needs a boost in times of difficulty, his name still resonates at the Bernabéu.
Emilio Butragueno (Madrid, Madrid, 1963): genius and gentleman, or what is the same, the perfect player for Real Madrid. Such was his impact that his nickname gave name to a Fifth, that of the Vulture, one of the most successful generations in the history of the club. He drilled the goal 179 times in 463 games between 1984 and 1995 and at his side the team exerted a continuous and prolonged national dominance, where they lifted six leagues, two Copa del Rey and four Super Cups. The grandson that every grandmother would want and the striker that every fan would want for his team.
Hugo Sanchez (Mexico City, Mexico, 1958): If in your first season you are Pichichi with 22 goals and you win the League, it is forgiven until you come from Atlético de Madrid. The South American was a wonder in the shot and put the determination and precision in front of the rival goal to the Quinta del Buitre. As a white, he added 208 goals in just 282 games spread over seven seasons (1985-1992). If the ball entered his orbit, it would normally end up in the net. There was no auction too difficult for the Mexican.
Raul Gonzalez (Madrid, Madrid, 1977): emblem of modern Madridism built on the basis of scoring instinct and irrevocable connection with the stands. When he arrived at the Whites’ academy in 1992 from Atlético de Madrid, he only needed seven games (in which he scored 13 goals) for Jorge Valdano, coach of the first team at the time, to give him a chance with the elders, where he consecrated throughout 16 seasons (1994-2010). He scored 323 goals in 741 games and his record includes three European Cups. He is the second top scorer in the history of the team, only surpassed by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo Nazario (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1976): Although injuries plagued him since his time at Inter Milan, the Phenomenon arrived at the Bernabéu with a special aura, after being the leader of the 2002 World Cup champion Brazil. He did not disappoint and left dozens of plays to remember while he was a Real Madrid footballer (2002-2007). A thoroughbred who scored 104 goals in just 177 games and who was the gunpowder of Florentino’s Galacticos, to whom he helped add two Leagues and a Spanish Super Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Madeira, Portugal, 1985): Top scorer in the club’s history. More goals than games played, 451 in 438. An unappealable beast in the auction on which Madrid founded its rebirth in Europe. With the Portuguese, the Whites won everything and won it again while the Portuguese defeated the rivals night after night with his goals. Four Champions League, three Club World Cups, three European Super Cups, two Leagues, two King’s Cups and two Spanish Super Cups, four Golden Balls, three Golden Boots, two The Best Awards, 3 UEFA Best Player Awards and 3 Pichichi Trophies in his legacy. His time at Madrid (2009-2018) gave the feeling that it could have been more lasting.
Karim Benzema (Lyon, France, 1987): One of the most special and talented strikers who have passed through Real Madrid. He signed in 2009 and despite the fact that he had a somewhat lukewarm first few years, he has ended up becoming a living legend of the club. 305 goals in 509 games and counting. He is the leader of the team and has become the reference scorer in the League after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi. A cat with a lot of fangs whose best moment has come as a result of his experience, going against the grain of the usual. He was never one more.