Thursday, October 16, 2014

Spain's Greatest All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   This entry of his was written in October 21, 2020, but mine was uploaded in a few weeks before his 2020.   Another entry of his was written in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

World Cup 2010
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Spain All-Time Team without Real Madrid and Barcelona

Spain has emerged as one of the most illustrious footballing nations worldwide, showcasing exceptional talent on the pitch. However, it is worth noting that their international success in major tournaments was relatively limited until recent years. Despite their potential, the Spanish national team struggled to make significant strides in international competitions, with their achievements restricted to winning the European Championship in 1964 and reaching the final in 1984. Regrettably, they failed to progress beyond the quarterfinals in any other tournament prior to 2008.

Nonetheless, a transformative moment arrived in 2008 when Spain clinched the European Championship. This victory marked a turning point for the national team, instilling a newfound confidence and establishing their dominance on the global stage. Building upon this success, Spain went on to achieve an extraordinary feat by securing the FIFA World Cup in 2010, held in South Africa. This triumph was particularly noteworthy as they became the first European team to claim the prestigious title outside of Europe.

Continuing their remarkable run, Spain attained another European Championship victory in 2012, solidifying their reputation as an exceptional footballing nation. Notably, this achievement made them the first country ever to win three consecutive major tournaments, further cementing their legacy.

Despite their international accomplishments, the Spanish football landscape remained predominantly dominated by domestic competition. Powerhouses such as Real Madrid, boasting an impressive record of 13 European Cup triumphs, and Barcelona, with four titles to their name, showcased the sheer strength and caliber of Spanish club football.

This is my all-time team for Spain. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  
Spain Euro 1964
GK: Ricardo Zamora
The first ever star goalkeeper in history.  He is also remembered for a spectacular last minute save he made in the 1936 Copa de España final while playing for Real Madrid against FC Barcelona. The award for the best goalkeeper in La Liga, the Ricardo Zamora Trophy, is named in his honour and he was voted one of the greatest players of the 20th century by World Soccer magazine. He was also Spain's most capped player for 45 years.

GK: Iker Casillas 
Iker Casillas is Spain's most decorated goalkeeper. He started with Real Madrid's academy and made his professional debut in 1999.  He won three Champions' League with them.  With 725 appearances for the club, Casillas is Madrid's second most capped player of all-time after Raúl. For Spain, he earned 167 caps.  He captained Spain into winning the WC in 2010 and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.  He is capped over 150 times. He also played for Porto.
Iker Casillas
GK: Andoni Zubizarreta
Andoni Zubizarreta represented La Roja in 4 World Cup Finals. He was at one point Spain's cap record holder.  He started with Athletic Bilboa.  He also played for Barcelona and Valencia.  He won Barcelona's first ever Champions' League in 1992.  After the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, where Barcelona lost 0–4 to A.C. Milan in the final, Zubizarreta was deemed surplus to requirements.

CB/RB: Sergio Ramos
Ramos was an important part of the all-conquering Spanish team that won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships.  He is Spain's youngest player ever to receive his 100th caps. He has been named La Liga's Best Defender a record four times. In 2005, he joined Real Madrid as a teenager from Sevilla.  With Real Madrid, he won 4 Champions League. He scored the tying goal as Real Madrid won their 10th European Cup in 2014. At the time of writing, he is the captain of Real Madrid.
Sergio Ramos
RB: Albert Ferrer
Albert Ferrer represented the nation in two World Cups and at the 1992 Olympic Games, winning the latter tournament. He was a part of Barcelona's Dream Team in the 1990's. He won a Champions' League with Barcelona in 1992. After Louis van Gaal took over, Barcelona gradually signed more Dutch players and his places were uncertain.  He left for Chelsea in 1998.  He had 38 caps for Spain between 1991 and 1999.  He was a regular at the 1994 World Cup Finals.

CB/DM:  Fernando Hierro
At one point, Hierro was Spain's all-time leading scorer, an impressive record, given that he was a central midfielder/center-back.  He was capped 90 times, whilst appearing in four World Cups (1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002) and two European Championships(1996, 2000). He started his club career with Valladolid and joined Real Madrid in 1989. With Real Madrid, he won five La Liga and three UEFA Champions League trophies over the course of nearly 15 years. He is considered to be Spain's greatest defenders.
Fernando Hierro
CB: Carlos Puyol
As an one-club man, Carlos Puyol served as the long-time team captain for his only club Barcelona after taking over from Luis Enrique in August 2004, and went on to appear in 593 official games for the club and win 20 major titles. He earned 100 caps for Spain, winning the World Cup in 2014 and the European Championship in 2008.  He represented Catalonia representative side.  He could also play as rightback.

CB:  Jacinto Quincoces
Jacinto Quincoces was one of the greatest defenders of the pre-war era. He played for Deportivo Alavés from 1920 to 1931.  From 1931 to 1942, he played for Real Madrid.  He won the first ever title for Real Madrid in 1930.  He was widely considered one of the first soccer idols in Spain.  He played 25 times for Spain and went to the World Cup Finals in 1934.

LB:  Jose Antonio Camacho
Jose Camacho is widely considered to be Spain's greatest leftback.  He earned 81 caps for Spain between 1975 and 1988.  He played at the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups, as well as the Euro 1984 and 1988. Spain reached the Euro Final in 1984.  He spent 15 seasons with Real Madrid. He played with the great Real Madrid side of the 1980's.  He won 19 titles with Real Madrid, including two back-to-back UEFA Cups: 1984–85, 1985–86.
Jose Antonio Camacho
LB:  Rafael Gordillo
Rafael Gordillo played at the same time as Camacho for both club and country.  Both players started on the left side with him in front of Camacho.  He was known as the greatest left wingback in Spanish history.  He was a legend at both Real Betis and Real Madrid. He was voted the Best Player in Spain for 1979-1980 season.  He was with the great Real Madrid side of the 1980's.  He was capped 75 times, and played the Final of Euro 1984 Finals, where France won the title.

DM: Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola won a Champions' League with Barcelona in 1992. He was their captain from 1997 to 2001.  He also played for Brescia and Roma in Italy, Al-Ahli in Qatar, and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico. He was capped 47 times for Spain, winning the Olympic Gold Medal in 1992, and later appeared at the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000. He also played friendly matches for Catalonia.  He won two Don Balon Award in 2009 and 2010.
CM:  Luis Suarez Miramontes
Luis Suarez Miramontes was considered to be Spain's greatest player until 1970's.  He won Ballon d'Or in 1960.  In 1964, he led La Roja in winning the European Championship.  He played 32 times for Spain between 1957 and 1972.  For club football,  he played as a midfielder for Deportivo de La Coruña, CD España Industrial, FC Barcelona, Inter Milan and Sampdoria. He was a star player with Barcelona FC before moving to Inter Milan.  He was a member of "Grande Inter" and won two consecutive European Cups.
Luis Suarez
CM/DM:  Jose Pirri
Jose Pirri is regarded as one of Spain's greatest player.  He had 41 caps in a career that lasted 12 years. He played in two World Cup Finals: 1966 and 1978. He played for Real Madrid for 15 years, between 1964 and 1979, winning ten Spanish league titles, four Spanish cups, and the 1966 European Cup. He was a member of the Real Madrid team that was known as the Yé-Yé team.  He also played for Granada and two seasons in Mexico.  He was a box-to-box midfielder.

CM: Xabi Alonso 
Xabi Alonso started with Real Sociedad.  He joined Liverpool in 2004 winning the Champions' League trophy in his first season.  In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid, winning the Champions' League again in 2014.  In 2014, he joined Bayern Munich. He was a key member of the Spanish team that won the World Cup and two European Championships.  His 114 caps make him the fifth most capped player in the nation's history.

AM./CM: Xavi
Xavi was perhaps one of greatest playmakers of his generation.  He won everything in football. Xavi has won 31 trophies, only surpassed by Andrés Iniesta as the most successful Spanish player in history.  At the international level, he had 133 caps and was a part of the team that won the  2010 World Cup and two European Championship (2008 and 2012) in between.  From 1998 to 2015, he played for Barcelona FC, where he also won everything.  Then, he played 4 years with Al Sadd in Qatar.
RW/FW: Amancio Amaro
Nicknamed "El Brujo", Amancio Amaro played outside right for Deportivo de La Coruña before joining Real Madrid in 1962.  He was considered the star of the team in the 1960's. He scored one of the most beautiful goal in European Cup history in the final against FK Partizan of Yugoslavia when Real Madrid lifted the title in 1966.  He was capped 42 times. He won the 1964 European Football Championship with Spain.  

LW:  Francisco Gento
Francisco Gento is regarded as one of the greatest left wings in history.  Gento began his career at Racing Santander in 1952 and moved to Real Madrid the following season where he played until 1971. He appeared in a joint record eight European Cup finals, winning a record six, as well as winning 12 La Liga titles.  No one has won more European Cups than Francisco Gento. In a 14-year international career, Gento earned 43 caps for Spain, playing at the World Cup in 1962 and 1966.
Francisco Gento vs Argentina

LM/CM/AM:  Andres Iniesta 
Andrew Iniesta scored the World Cup winning goal in 2010 that gave Spain its first ever World Cup title. At Euro 2012, Iniesta led Spain to their second consecutive continental crown, again being chosen as the Man of the Match of the final against Italy, and was named the Player of the Tournament. He also won four Champions' league trophies with Barcelona.  His career lasted from 2002 to 2018. He then joined Vissel Kobe in Japan, and then, Emirates in UAE.  He was one of Spain's greatest players.

ST: Telmo Zarra
Telmo Zarra is probably Athletic Bilbao's greatest player.  Zarra signed for Athletic after playing one season for Erandio. He became a prolific goalscorer in his 15 seasons at the club, winning the Pichichi Trophy as the highest scorer in La Liga on six occasions. During his career, Zarra scored a total of 251 league goals, a Spanish record that lasted nearly six decades. His 81 goals in the Copa del Rey remains a record today .He was capped 20 times and scored 20 goals for Spain. He was a member of the 1950 World Cup team.

ST: Raul
Raul was probably the best Spanish player in the late 1990's.  He made his debut with Real Madrid as a 17 years old.  He won 3 Champions' League trophies with Real Madrid in 1998, 2000 and 2002.  He moved to Germany in 2010 and played with Schalke 04 He is the fourth highest goal scorer in the history of La Liga with 228 goals.  For Spain, he scored a then-record 44 goals in 102 appearances, appearing in three FIFA World Cups and two European championships. He was their captaincy between 2002 and 2006.

ST: David Villa
David Villa is the all-time leading scorer for Spain.  He was known for a part of the Golden Generation for Spain, where Spain won three straight international titles: Euro 2008, the World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. He was the Golden Boot winner at Euro 2008 and the Silver boot in the 2010 World Cup Finals.  He was best remembered for his club career with Valencia. He also played for Barcelona, Seville and New York City FC.

ST: Rafael Moreno Aranzadi "Pichichi"
The award for la Liga top-scorer is named after him.  He scored 240 goals in 170 matches for Athletic Bilbao. He won 4 Copa del Rey. In 1920, Pichichi was a member of the very first Spain national team that played at the Summer Olympic Games in Belgium. He earned five senior caps during one month, his debut coming on 28 August in a 1–0 win against Denmark.

ST: Emilio Butragueño 
Nicknamed El Buitre (The Vulture), Emilio Butragueño was a member of the legendary Quinta del Buitre of Real Madrid, along with Manolo Sanchís, Rafael Martín Vázquez, Míchel and Miguel Pardeza. That team won 5 straight La Liga and two UEFA Cups from 1985 to 1990.  He also played for Celaya in Mexico.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1986 and 1990.  He scored 4 goals against the great Danish side in 1986 quarter-final.  He played 69 times for Spain between 1984 and 1992.
Emilio Butragueño 
Honorable Mention 
Jose Angel Iribar, Antonio Ramallets, Luis Aragones, Joan Segarra, Ignacio Eizaguirre, Luis Arconada, Josep Samitier, Michel Salgado, Dani Carvagal, Miguel Chendo, Miguel Angel Nadal, Antonio Maceda, Estanislao Basora, Migueli, Michel, David Silva, Jesus Navas, Fernando Torres, Quini, Carlos Santillana, Sergio Busquets, Senna, Rodri, Ignacio Zoco, Ferran Olivella, Isco, Gerard Pique, Jesús Garay, Jordi Alba, Sergi Barjuán, Dani Carvajal, Marcos Senna, Luis Enrique, Jesus Garay, Cesar Rodriguez, Cesc Fàbregas, Feliciano Rivilla.

Squad Explanation   
-- I edited this team on February, 2022.
-- I began my research by adding the following players Ricardo Zamora, Iker Casillas, Telmo Zarra, Xavi, Luis Suarez, Raul, Andres Iniesta, Fernando Hierro and Sergio Ramos onto the team.  Much of the team was set before I even started.
-- In 2020, Marca conducted a poll for the All-Time Best XI for Spain.  They were Iker Casillas, Carlos Puyol, Sergio Ramos, Pique,  Andreas Iniesta and Xavi. Xabi Alonso, David Villa, Raul and Francisco Gento.
-- IFFHS created two All-Time teams for Spain.  The first one consisted of Iker Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Fernando Hierro, Rafael Gordillo; Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández; Luis Suarez; Raúl Gonzalez, Telmo Zarra and Paco Gento.  The, the second team was as followed Ricardo Zamora; Albert Ferrer, Pirri, Jacinto Quincoces, José Antonio Camacho; Míchel, Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique; Amancio, David Villa, and Emilio Butragueño.
-- Spain stands alone as the only national team to achieve three consecutive major titles, making history by becoming the first European team to win a World Cup outside of Europe in 2010. From  the all-conquering Spanish team between 2008 and 2012, I selected the following players: Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso, David Villa, Sergio Ramos, Carlos Puyol, Andreas Iniesta and Xavi. Fernando Torres and David Silva just missed the cut.
Euro 2008
--Spain's triumph at the 1964 European Championship held significant historical significance. Prior to this victory, Spain faced struggles during the 1950s and had a poor showing in the 1962 World Cup. The win at the European Championship brought renewed hope for the national team. However, that team was underrepresented. Only Francisco Gento, Luis Suarez and Amancio Amaro were selected.  Goalkeeper José Ángel Iribar only earned honourable mention.
-- Spain finished second in the 1984 European Championship.  Camacho and Ricardo Gallego were the only player on the team who made this all-time team.  Emilio Butragueño was on the roster, but he did not played a single game for Spain.  His debut came in October, 1984.  Luis Arconada was one of the more famous players on that team, but he probably wanted to forget about the tournament.  Overall, I thought Spain did not play well despite reaching the Final. 
-- Spain just won the Europ 2024, but the heroes of that team were relatively young at this moment.  Rodri made it to the honorable mentions. Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams needed to wait for a few more years before they made the list. 
-- Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskas, Jose Maria Santamaria and Lázsló Kubala were not considered because they had played for other national teams before they played for Spain.  I also did not select "oriundo" players for Italy.  
-- In fact, Spain chose Alfredo Di Stefano as their UEFA Jubilee Player.  He actually played more times with Spain than Argentina. However, I felt that he was more of a club player.  For Spain, he played on the disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign in 1957 alongside Francisco Gento, Ferenc Puskas and Lázsló Kubala.  In 1962, he went to the World Cup Finals in Chile, but was sidelined. Both Ferenc Puskás and Jose Maria Santamaria played in all three matches, but Spain finished at the bottom of their first round group at that World Cup.  If Spain did well with wonderful performance from the naturalised players, I would have considered them.  I admitted that I had struggled with this issue since the creation of this blog team.  My concern was dropping players from the team. Senne who was on my honorable mention never played for Brazil. 
-- Only two players from my Spain Greatest All-Time Team never play for either Real Madrid and Barcelona. They are Rafael Aranzadi "Pichichi" and Telmo Zarra.  It was not a coincidence that both came from Basque.  Actually, the Basque country produced the most Spanish internationals in Spain.  Andoni Zubizarreta, Xabi Alonso and Jacinto Quincoces were the others from the region selected. 
Telmo Zarra
-- Ricardo Zamora and Iker Casillas were unquestionable choices when it came to the goalkeeping position. Zamora's legacy was so revered that the prestigious Trofeo Zamora, awarded to the goalkeeper with the lowest goals-to-games ratio in La Liga, was named after him.  Casillas won every major titles possible in football.
-- Luis Arconada was a great keeper, but he was unfortunately remembered for his blooper in the Final of Euro 1984. His blooper had nothing to do with this omission. I just thought Andoni Zubizarreta was a better goalkeeper. He edged Arconada out for the third spot. 
-- Zubizarreta played in 4 World Cups and was the starting goalkeeper on Johan Cruyff's Dream Team in Barcelona. In 1986, Barcelona broke a world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper to sign him. 
-- Jose Angel Iribar and Antonio Ramallets were the other choices. it is worth mentioning Ignacio Eizaguirre, who captained the 1950 World Cup team, which finished an impressive 4th place in Brazil. In 2014, I planed to examine David De Gea at the end of his career.  However, by 2022, I knew that he would not be getting near this team.  The competition was fierce with the likes of Zamora, Casillas, and Zubizarreta on the team.
-- Fernando Hierro, known for his goal-scoring prowess, held the distinction of being Spain's all-time leading scorer at one point in his career.  Jacinto Quincoces from the 1930s, was also an easy selections. -- Sergio Ramos, with 180 caps, holds the record for most appearances in the history of the Spanish national team. He also ranks as the second most capped player in UEFA and seventh overall. While his career was often associated with red cards, his disciplinary challenges did not hinder Spain and Real Madrid from achieving tremendous success. Carlos Puyol, who captained Barcelona during their historic treble-winning season, amassed an impressive total of 24 major trophies. 
Carlos Puyol
-- Miguel Angel Nadal, the paternal uncle of tennis player Rafael Nadal, was a member of Johan Cruyff's Dream Team. However, Rafael Nadal, a Real Madrid fan, had a different allegiance. While Nadal is considered an excellent central defender, he ranks below the four players I selected. Gerard Pique, despite peaking earlier and experiencing regression, also fell just short of the chosen players.
Antonio Maceda, who shone at Sporting de Gijón, had his potential hampered by injuries. Nonetheless, his notable goal against West Germany in Euro 1984's quarterfinals earned him an honorable mention. I did not know how to rate Andoni Goikoetxea.  In his prime, he stroke fear in the opponents.  His name was not often mentioned among the greatest.  I had to drop Ferran Olivella and Joan Segarra.
-- For this team, I deviated from my usual eight-defender selection and opted for seven defenders. Sergio Ramos and Carlos Puyol's versatility allowed me to include only one right back. While both excelled as central defenders, their performances as right backs fell short of securing a spot in this team. Notably, Ramos played as a right back when Spain won the World Cup, earning a place in the official All-Star team. The flexibility in the lineup allowed me to include more players from other positions.
-- I took Albert Ferrer because I wanted a natural rightback on the team.  Michel Salgado, Miguel Chendo and Feliciano Rivilla were almost on par with him.  They made honorable mentions.  Dani Carvajal had won 6 Champion league titles and a single European Championship.  He is a serious candidate to replace Ferrer.
--  I struggled with the idea to see if I should select Jose Maria Santamaria (Feb, 2022).  He played 16 times for Spain only 4 times less than Uruguay.  In end, I did not want to drop any of the players on the team.  
-- The leftback position was obvious with Camacho and Rafael Gordillo.  Real Madrid used both of them together on the same field with Gordillo playing on the left wing and Camacho further back. Godillo was considered Real Betis' greatest player.  Jordi Alba and Sergi Barjuán made honorable mentions.
-- Jose Pirri, a box-to-box midfielder known for his scoring ability, and Pep Guardiola, a withdrawn central midfielder, earned their spots on the team. Pirri's impressive record of 16 goals in 41 caps for Spain set him apart. The selection of Pirri and Guardiola meant that Sergio Busquets, Luis Enrique, and Marcos Senna missed out. Pirri's influential presence both at the club and international level during his prime solidified his place in the team, while Busquets primarily played a supporting role for his teammates. Senna's absence would have made it more challenging for Spain to win Euro 2008, but it was difficult for him to displace Pirri in the lineup.
-- In his prime, Pep Guardiola was overshadowed by greater players around him for both club and country.  He was under-appreciated when he was a player.  The older fans might question his inclusion to this team, but the younger fans probably overrated him because of his coaching career.  I thought he was very important.
-- After Spain's victory in the Euro 2024, I started to consider Rodri as a serious candidate.  He was voted the MVP of the tournament. At this moment, I would wait for his career to unfold before replacing him with one of the central midfielders.
-- Josep Samitier were the biggest notable omission on the midfield. I could not imagine it when I first started this blog team.  The emerge of Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Iniesta in recent years kept Josep Samitier out of the team.  I also had Jose Pirri and Luis Suarez Miramontes on the midfield. Instead, I selected an extra forward, Rafael Moreno Aranzadi.  Rafael Moreno Aranzad was the original "Pichichi"(top scorer of La Liga"). 
-- Luis Suarez Miramontes was Spain's greatest player before the Golden Generation between 2008 and 2012.  At the time of writing, he is the only Spanish Ballon d'or winner.  During his prime, he was also the most expensive player in the world after he joined Inter Milan from Barcelona FC.  He was a star player for La Grande Inter. -- Xavi and Andreas Iniesta needed no introduction.  Xabi Alonso combined with Xavi and Andres Iniesta to form one of the best ever midfield in international football history.  They kept David Silva and Cesc Fàbregas off the team. 
-- Xavi never won the Ballon d'or.  He should have won a few of them from Lionel Messi.  However, he was named in the Ballon d'Or Dream Team in 2020.  He also won the World Player of the Year in 2010 by "World Soccer".  He is probably Spain's greatest player ahead of Luis Suarez Miramontes.
-- Several source ranked Andres Iniesta even ahead Xavi.  He is the only player to have won the Man of the Match awards in the finals of the Champions League, the European Championship, and the World Cup.-- Xabi Alonso played in a deeper position than the other players selected. His famous long pass was one of Spain's major weapons. I needed him in a withdraw position.
Xabi Alonso
-- In the winger positions, I selected Amancio Amaro and Francisco Gento, both key players from the victorious 1964 European Championship team. Gento's remarkable achievement of winning 6 European Cups with Real Madrid surpasses the trophy count of most European teams. On the right, I chose Amancio over Estanislao Basora and Michel.  Basora, often regarded as one of Spain's greatest right wingers, played a pivotal role for Barcelona in the 1950s alongside Luis Suarez and Laszlo Kubala. Amancio, a member of the 1964 European Championship-winning team, was voted into the Team of the Tournament and finished third in the Ballon D'or that year. He also played a heroic role in Real Madrid's 1966 European Cup triumph, boasting a more decorated career than Basora. Michel trailed behind these two exceptional players. Although Andres Iniesta could also play on the right, his playmaking abilities made him better suited as a playmaker rather than a traditional winger on that side.
-- I put Jesus Navas on honorabke mention because of his longevity.  He was the connection between the 2010 World Cup team and the 2024 European Championship team.
-- David Silva just missed out on the roster. I had too many attack midfielders.  Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez and Xavi were ahead of him. Even Josep Samitier could not get into the team.  Along with Fernando Torres, Silva was the best player not on the team.  I rated Cesc Fabregas below him.  
-- David Villa edged out Fernando Torres because he scored more goals for Spain. Spain scored only eight goals in South Africa as they won the World Cup. It was the lowest number for a World Cup winner.  David Villa scored five of those. He is also Spain all-time leading scorer.
David Villa
-- Emilio Butragueño represented the 1980's generation, a team that beat Danish Dynamite 5-1 in the 1986 World Cup Finals.  He scored 4 goals in that match, which became one of the talking points of the tournament.
-- Raul missed out on the Golden Generation, but Spain did well while he was in his prime as compared to other generations.  He scored more goals for Spain and did better in club football than Fernando Torres.   He is Spain's second all-time leading scorer behind David Villa. Furthermore, he won three Champions' League titles and one of the all-time top scorers in the same tournament.
-- Both Rafael Aranzadi "Pichichi" and Telmo Zarra scored a lot of goals in Spain.  As mentioned above, the award for la Liga top-scorer is named after Rafael Aranzadi.  How could I exclude himTelmo Zarra was awarded the Pichichi trophy six times. During his career, Zarra scored a total of 251 league goals, a Spanish record that lasted nearly six decades. 
-- Paulino Alcántara, FC Barcelona's all-time leading goal scorer, was considered for the team but couldn't secure a spot. Players like Alfredo Di Stefano, who represented another national team before Spain, were not included. Although Alcántara also played for the Philippines before being capped by Spain, his case differed from the others.
-- Quini finished La Liga top scorer 5 times.  He was largely a forgotten player.  He only made honorable mention.
-- Luis Aragones was better known as the manager of the national team, but he was an important player in his time.  He made honourable mention. Carlos Santillana was also highly rated. He was perhaps the greatest header of the ball at his time.
Euro 2012

Starting lineup
Formation 4-2-1-3 
All starters played for Real Madrid and/or Barcelona. The formation is based up the World Cup winning team in 2012.  However, The team won't be playing "tiki taka".  Luis Suarez would replace Xabi Alonso who was on the 2012 lineup.  Iniesta plays on the left so that I could start Gento. Sergio Ramos is also a better centerback, but I moved him to the right so that I could play Puyol and Hierro.



  1. I lie that you've modernized this team, but I think you've gone a bit too far in one or to spots. I think Zarra is still deserving of a spot and Amancio is, as you say, very controversial. I'd be tempted to play Villa or Raul or Iniesta out on the right. As it happens, Amancio was really an inside forward and was supposedly uncomfortable when played outwide, so if you're playing someone out of position, it might as well be a better player!

  2. And beside, Iniesta did play on the right for Spain especially during the 2010 WC and a little in 2008 when he switched around somewhat with David Silva.

  3. Spain did not win the WC in 2012, it was the Euros, wc was 2010. In 2012 Spain famously won largely without a striker. But very well done with your blog 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

  4. Nice job as all the other teams but I would like you to include Di Stefano since Spain selected him for the Jubilee award. In addition his longest national stint was for Spain (31caps/23goals Vs ARG:6caps/6goals). Also Argentina has the likes of Maradona and Messi as superstar players so Spain deserves one as well.

  5. Hey did you ignore Cesc Fabregas? A world class Player with Barca, in Premier League and with Spanish Team of the golden Generation.

  6. Zamora
    Ramos Quincoces Puyol
    Xavi/Segarra Zoco
    Basora Samiter Suárez Gento

    I'm unsure if Xavi fits in the M-shape. Segarra could play instead.
    Also, Ramallets and Casillas are strong goalkeepers.

  7. I'd argue that Busquets really deserves a spot in the squad as of 2020.
    Already at 120 caps, he was also an integral part of the Spain side that won titles in 2010 and 2012. Won 3 Champions League titles with Barcelona and was recently a nominee for the all-time Ballon D'Or dream team. As good as Guardiola was, surely Busquets has surpassed him at this stage

  8. 1.Cassilas (c)
    10.Hector Rial
    As Rial had never played for Argentina, while he played for Spain, I picked him here.

  9. Pichichi did not score a single goal in La Liga. In fact, he was already dead when the first Liga tournament was played

  10. Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi are not one of the greatest midfields of all-time. To start, Busquets (unfortunately) started in the midfield and Iniesta played wide. So immediately that's wrong. Second, Spain won but the performances weren't really there in what was an espeically down time for international teams that were scared. 2010 was a bad World Cup. The 2008 Spain team were all-time and they regressed, despite their victories. Anyway, Xavi didn't play particularly great in the advanced role. There is no justification for him playing up and Suarez playing deep. I'll put aside the Cesc >> Xabi thing, and be satisfied that Busquets isn't on this list. But what is the point in noting that Villa edges out Torres? Edges? How is it close? Villa was the best player for Spain in 2006 and 2010 (by far), winning the Bronze ball that should have been Gold. He was their 2nd best player, missing almost all of the semifinal and the final completely, yet still leading the tournament in goals as he would in 2010 in a 3way tie (tho he didn't win gold). He scored a lot more goals, had a much greater average, and if anyone actually looks at his numbers they'll see that his scoring in official games was actually higher than his overall average (i.e. he scored more when it counted and not in friendlies, or when his team were up significantly, for that matter). He was the better player at club level. The only thing Torres had over him is that Torres was playing in big ole PL in his prime while Villa put Valenica on his back. Torres' prime was also short-lived. No comparing the two, at their peak or thru their careers. Raul was arguably the best player in the world and both are in different tiers altogether from Torres. Butragueno is not as good as either of them.

  11. In 1994 XL Seamanl (a Spanish magazine) published the best Spain XI all-time. Among the players was Jose Mari Zamora, about him he was written: "magnificent Real Sociedad player valued only by football gourmets".
    Luis Regueiro is with Amancio the best right winger.
    Roberto López Ufarte (LW) was a a prolific goalscorer winger. He is 3rd highest goalscorer in Real Sociedad's history (129 goals)
    Isidro Langará remains the greatest striker the Spanish national team never had. 17 goals in 12 international matches, 508 goals with his clubs, 3 Trofeo Pichichi (1933-34, 34-35, 35-36) + 2 Division top-scorer (1932-33), 1940 Argentine Primera División top-scorer, 1943–44 nd 45-46 Mexican Primera División top-scorer.