30. Luís Figo
Figo’s transfer from FC Barcelona to Real Madrid was controversial, to say the least. During matches between the hated rivals, Figo would routinely be pelted by objects from the crowd — including glass bottles of alcohol, phones, fruit, and even sharp objects. Despite the horrid displays of vitriol, Figo still managed to become the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year during his inaugural season in Madrid.
Possessing a deft touch and sublime passing ability, the Portuguese international often played the role as the fulcrum for his side’s offensive capabilities. Though Figo was more than willing to take players on, he was excellent in creating opportunities for teammates. In five seasons at Madrid, Figo won two league titles, a Champions League Crown, and scored 38 goals in 164 appearances.
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29. Santiago Bernabéu Yeste
Bernabéu’s legacy in Madrid stretches beyond the pitch. He starred as both the team captain and starting striker for multiple years. In the wake of the Spanish Civil War, the club itself had fallen on hard times. Content to bring it back to a position of prestige, Bernabéu worked tirelessly to revamp the entire set-up.
Bernabéu was elected president of the club in 1943, and held this title until his death in 1978. During this time period, he helped to create what was (at the time) the largest stadium on the continent of Europe. Bernabéu also engineered the early origins of what is now the Champions League. Over the course of his professional career, Real Madrid won 16 league titles, six domestic cups, and six European cups. As such, it comes as no surprise that the squad currently plays at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
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28. Peđa Mijatović
Mijatović forever endeared himself to the Los Blancos faithful for his goal in the 1998 Champions League final. Madrid beat Juventus to win its first European Cup in over 30 years. The Montenegrin forward was ruthless in front of the net — bagging 44 goals in 117 appearances with the club.
Though he didn’t have an exceptionally long career with Real Madrid, his impact on the squad is undeniable.
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27. Manuel ‘Manolo’ Sanchís
Before the days of Mascherano and Cannavaro, it was another diminutive sweeper dominating the run of play. Sanchís played 22 seasons (710 appearances) for the iconic club. In a sense, Sanchís is Madrid. He made up for his lack of ideal size (5’9″) with guile, intelligence, grit, and intuitiveness. Rarely was Sanchís caught out of position.
Duly, his leadership skills were renowned. Sanchís was the captain of the club for 13 seasons. During his illustrious career with Madrid, the club won eight league titles, five domestic cups, and two European cups.
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