Thursday, October 16, 2014

Spain's Greatest All-Time Team

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

Spain All-Time Team without Real Madrid and Barcelona

Until recent years, the Spanish national team did not do well in the international tournaments.  They won Euro 1964 and reached the Final of Euro 1984, but they failed to go past the quarterfinal of any other tournament.  Then, in 2008, they won Euro 2008, South Africa 2010 and Euro 2012, becoming the first nation to win three straight major tournaments.  The Spanish football, however, was dominated by domestic football.  Real Madrid won 13 European Cups while Barcelona had 4 titles.
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
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. 

CB/DM:  Fernando Hierro
At one point, he was Spain's all-time leading scorer, an impressive record, given that he was a 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.

CB:  Jacinto Quincoces
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.  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.  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.
LB:  Rafael Gordillo
Rafael Gordillo played at the same time as Camacho for both club and country.  Both players started on the left side.  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.

DM: Pep Guardiola
He 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.
DM:  Jose Pirri
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.

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.
Xabi Alonso
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.  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 member of "Grande Inter" and won two consecutive European Cups.

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 lebel, 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.

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 when Real Madrid lifted the title in 1966.  He was capped 42 times. He won the 1964 European Football Championship.  

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. 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 Champiosn' league trophies with Barcelona.

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 went to the World Cup Finals in 1986 and 1990.  He scored 4 goals against the great Danish side in 1986 quarter-final.
Emilio Butragueño

Honorable Mention
Jose Angel Iribar, Antonio Ramallets, Ignacio Eizaguirre, Luis Arconada, Josep Samitier, Miguel Chendo, Miguel Angel Nadal, Estanislao Basora, Migueli, Michel, David Silva, Fernando Torres, Senna, Segio Busquets, Ignacio Zoco, Ferran Olivella, Isco, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Dani Carvajal.

Squad Explanation 
-- 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.
-- Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskas and Lázsló Kubala were not considered because they had played for other national teams before they played for Spain. Besides, they did not do much while playing for Spain.
-- Luis Arconada was a great keeper, but he was unfortunately remembered for his blooper in the Final of Euro 1984. Andoni Zubizarreta edged him out for the third spot.  Jose Angel Iribar and Antonio Ramallets are the other choices.  I will examine David De Gea at the end of his career to see if he deserves an honourable mention.  
-- Spain's winning team at European Championship of 1964 is underrepresented.  Only Francisco Gento, Luis Suarez and Amancio Amaro were selected.  José Ángel Iribar only earned honourable mention.
-- Fernando Hierro was at one point the all-time leading scorer for Spain.
-- Sergio Ramos was selected for both rightback and centerback.  Miguel Chendu was the alternative.  Dani Carvajal would probably one day make this team.
-- Josep Samitier were the notable omissions. Instead, I selected a forward, Rafael Moreno AranzadiRafael Moreno Aranzad is the original "Pichichi"(top scorer of La Liga").  The emerge of Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Iniesta in recent years kept Josep Samitier out of the team. I also had Pirri and Luis Suarez Miramontes.
-- Luis Suarez Miramontes was Spain's greatest player before the Golden Generation between 2008 and 2012.  Francis Gento were up there too.  He was considered among the greatest winger ever played the game.
-- I only carried 7 defenders because Sergio Ramos could be used as backup for both center-back and right back.
-- Estanislao Basora and David Silva just missed out on the roster.
-- David Villa edged out Fernando Torres because he scored more goals for Spain.
-- Emilio Butragueño represented the 1980's generation, a team that beat Danish Dynamite 5-1 in the 1986 World Cup Finals.
-- Only two players from my Spain Greatest All-Time Team did not play for either Real Madrid and Barcelona. They are Rafael  Aranzadi "Pichichi" and Telmo Zarra.  Fernando Torres and David Silva deserved to be on that team.  Please see my other blog.
-- Both Rafael  Aranzadi "Pichichi" and Telmo Zarra scored a lot of goals in La Liga.

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.