Monday, July 24, 2017

Real Madrid's Greatest All-Time Team Under Florentina Perez

Florentino Perez

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Real Madrid All-Time Team
Real Madrid All-Time Team Under Miguel Munoz
Real Madrid All-Time Team for Spanish players only
Spain without Real Madrid and Barcelona players
Real Madrid Top Ten Greatest Goalkeepers
Real Madrid Top Ten Greatest Central defenders

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Real Madrid under the leadership of Florentino Perez.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.  

Florentino Perez is probably the second most famous president of Real Madrid after Santiago Bernabéu and perhaps, the most famous leader of a football club in the modern world.  Under his leadership  Real Madrid became one of the most popular club in the world.  His action with the club started during his election campaign in 2000 where he brought Luis Figo from Barcelona.  Figo's transfer is probably the most controversial transfer in the history of the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona.  Perez was also known for his Zidanes y Pavones  policy- in which superstars would play alongside the Canteranos, but the players were soon popularly referred to as Galácticos.  He briefly left office in 2006, but made a return in 2009.

With his first Galacticos
My Real Madrid All-Time Team here.

GK: Iker Casillas (Spain)
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. For Spain, he earned 167 caps.  He captained Spain into winning the WC in 2010 and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.  
Iker Casillas

GK: Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)
After starting out at Saprissa he moved to Albacete, and then to Levante in La Liga.  After a great performance With Levante, he won the La Liga Keeper of the Year award for 2014 with Levante.  Then, he led Costa Rica to the quarter-final of the WC in Brazil.  After the WC Finals, he earned a transfer to Real Madrid.  With Real Madrid, he won 3 Champions League titles as their starting keeper.

GK: Diego Lopez (Spain)
Lopez started from Real Madrid, but made his name first with Villareal and Sevilla.  In January, 2013, he rejoined Real Madrid after Iker Casillas suffered a serious injury.  He quickly established as the starter.  He maintained his starting status the following year, despite the return of Casillas.  He won Copa Del Rey that season as the starter while backing up Casillas in the Champions' League as Real Madrid won it.  Capped once in 2009.

RB: Dani Carvajal (Spain)
Carvajal went through Real Madrid's academy.  In 2012, he was sold to Bayer Leverkusen. In his only season there, he established himself among the best fullback in Bundesliga.  He returned to Real Madrid in a buyback clause. He was a contributor as Real Madrid won three Champions' League in his first 4 seasons.  At the time of writing, he is a member of the national team.

RB: Michel Salgado (Spain)
Known as a hard player, Salgado started with Celta before moving to Real Madrid in 1999, where he stayed until 2009.  In 2009, he joined Blackburn Rovers and played three seasons.  Salgado earned 53 caps.  He went to Euro 2000 and Germany 2006, but missed Euro 2004 and Japan/Korea 2002 due to injuries.  He is married to Malula Sanz, daughter of former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz.

CB/RB: Sergio Ramos (Spain)
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 three 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.

CB: Pepe (Portugal)
Born in Brazil, Pepe moved to Portugal playing for Maritimo.  In 2004, he moved to Porto while he established himself as one of the best defender in Portugal.  In 2007, he earned a dream move to Real Madrid.  At the time of writing, he won two Champions' league with them.  Although born in Brazil, he chose to represent Portugal.  At Euro 2016, he emerged as one of Portugal's best player as Portugal won their first ever international trophy.  He earned the Man of the Match in the Final against France.
CB:  Fernando Hierro (Spain)
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). With Real Madrid, he won five La Liga and three Champions League trophies over the course of nearly 15 years. He is considered to be Spain's greatest defenders.

CB: Raphaël Varane (France)
Varane started with Lens. After one season with the French club, as a professional footballer, Varane joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2011. With Real Madrid, he won 3 Champions League in 4 years.  In 2012, he made his international debut.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2014, where he was nominated as the Young Player of the Tournament.  He missed the 2016 European Championship through an injury.

LB: Roberto Carlos (Brazil)
He was regarded one of the best leftbacks in history.  He had 125 caps for Brazil playing in three WC Finals. He won 3 Champions League titles with Real Madrid and one WC title with Brazil in 2002.  In 1997 he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year.  He is especially famous for a free kick from 35m out against France in the  Tournoi de France 1997. The goal is considered one of the greatest goals ever scored.

LB: Marcelo (Brazil)
Marcelo started his career with Fluminense before making a dream move to Real Madrid in 2007, where he played behind his mentor Roberto Carlos.  He spent several years in and out of the lineup before establishing himself as one of the star of the team playing the left flank with Cristano Ronaldo.  With them, he won four Champions' League titles in from 2014 to 2018.  At the time of writing, he has over 50 caps for Brazil and played at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup in Brazil.
DM: Casemiro (Brazil)
Casemiro started with Sao Paulo, where he played for three seasons.  In 2013, he joined Real Madrid B team(Castilla), where he would be eventually called to the first team.  For the 2014-2015, he was sent to Porto on a loan.  After a year, he returned to Real Madrid and quickly established as a major contributor as the club won two Champions' League.  At the time of writing, he earned 11 caps.

DM: Claude Makelele (France)
Makelele played  for Nantes, Marseille and Celta Vigo before making a big move to Real Madrid in 2000.  Over there, he quickly established as one of the best  defensive midfielder in the world.  He won every single club title available.  In 2003, he moved to Roman Abramovich's Chelsea.  he earned 71 caps for France.  He helped France to reach the Final of Germany 2006.

DM/CM: Xabi Alonso (Spain)
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 WC and two European Championships.  His 114 caps make him the fifth most capped player in the nation's history.
Xabi Alonso
CM: Toni Kroos (Germany)
A member of Bayern Munich's first team at the age of 17, Kroos played in a 18-month loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen, before going back to Munich and winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the 2012–13 Champions League. In 2014, he joined Real Madrid on a six-year contract. In Madrid, he won three straight Champions League titles. He was a key player for Germany since 2010.  He won the World Cup in 2014 as one of Germany's star players.

AM/CM: Luka Modric (Croatia)
Modric is one of the greatest playmakers of his generation. He earned more 90 caps for Croatia.  He currently plays for Real Madrid and won the Champions' League for the 2013-2014,  2015-2016 and 2017-2017 season.  He also played with Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspurs.  He played in the WC Finals of 2006 and 2014, as well as the European Championship of 2008, 2012 and 2016. He led Croatia to second place at the World Cup Finals in 2018 as he won the Golden Ball award.
Luka Modric
AM/CM: Guti (Spain)
During his professional career, he played almost exclusively for Real Madrid – appearing in 542 official games and serving as vice-captain – helping the club to win 15 trophies, most notably three Champions League(1998, 2000 and 2002) and five La Liga titles. In 2010, he joined Beşiktaş, where he played a single season. Guti played 13 times with Spain, making his debut in 1999.

AM: Zinedine Zidane (France)
Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll, and has been described as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.  He won the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times.  He led France to victory at the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  With Real Madrid, he also won the Champions League in 2002, where he scored one of the greatest goals in history at the Final. 
Zinedine Zidane helped to win Perez's first Champions' League  title

RW: Luis Figo (Portugal)
Figo is one of Portugal's greatest players.  He was the 2000 European Footballer of the Year, the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year., He is one of the few football players to have played for both Spanish rival clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid. His controversial 2000 transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid set a world record fee of €62 million.  With Real Madrid, he was the first member of the Galacticos. He won the Champions' League title in 2002.
Luis Figo vs Barcelona
RW/LW:  Gareth Bale (Wales)
Bale began his professional career at Southampton. Bale moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007. In 2011 and 2013, he was named PFA Players' Player of the Year.  His transfer to Real Madrid in 2013 was believed to be the most expensive in history.  He won three Champions League title with Real Madrid.  He scored the winning goal in the 2014 version. In 2016, he led Wales to reach the semifinal of Euro 2016.

FW/LW: Cristano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Cristano Ronaldo is one of the greatest forward of his generation.  He is the most expensive players in history from 2009-2013 when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid.  At the time of writing, he won the Ballon d'Or winner three times and won Champions' League titles with both Manchester United and Real Madrid.  In 2016, he helped Portugal to win the European Championship, a month after winning the Champions' League with Real Madrid.
Cristano Ronaldo
ST: Karim Benzema (France)
Benzema was billed as one of the best young players in Europe when he played for Lyon.  In 2009, he made a dream move to Real Madrid on the same summer that Kaka and Cristano Ronaldo joined the club.  He won the Champions' League in 2014, where he formed the BBC line with Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.  For the national team, he played in the 2014 WC Finals.

ST: Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
Higuain first starred for River Plate in Argentina.  He joined Real Madrid in 2006.  He would stay with the club until 2013.  Higuain later played with Napoli and Juventus.  In the 2015–16 season, he scored 36 league goals, winning the Capocannoniere title and equalling Gino Rossetti's 87-year-old record for goals in an Italian top-flight season. For the national team, he earned 75 caps.  He was brought into the national team after Argentina struggled to qualify for South Africa 2010.

ST: Ronaldo (Brazil)
Ronaldo was the best player in the world during his prime. He led Brazil to two World Cup Finals match, winning the one in 2002.  He was an unused member of the 1994 World Cup team. He scored 8 goals in 2002.  He was the winner of Ballon d'Or twice and the FIFA World Player of the Year three times.  He is the second top-scorer in WC history.  He played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, and for both AC Milan and Inter Milan. 
ST: Raul (Spain)
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.
Honorable Mention
Álvaro Arbeloa, Fernando Morientes, Mesut Özil, Angel Di Maria, Robinho, James Rodríguez, Lassana Diarra, Mahamadou Diarra, Lucas Vazquez, Isco, David Beckham.

Squad Explanation
-- Iker Casillas, Cristano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Raul, Fernando Hierro, Luka Modric and Zinedine Zidane are automatic selections. I would probably put Luis Figo on the list as well.
-- At the time of writing, Florentino Perez has won five Champions League titles.  Only two other clubs, namely AC Milan and Liverpool has won more titles in their entire history than Perez's tenure with Real Madrid.  Barcelona and Bayern Munich each won five titles.  Only two players listed here have not won a Champions League.  They are Ronaldo (Brazil) and Gonzalo Higuain.  Diego Lopez did not play much in the Champions' League.  He was Iker Casillas' backup during games over there while he started most of the league matches.
-- Because Iker Casillas played as the starter from Florentino Perez's first tenure until Casillas' retirement in 2015, only two other keepers have ever played for the club under Perez at the time of the creation of the blog team.  Since then, Thibaut Courtois has played for the club.
-- Both Fabio Cannavaro and Ruud van Nistelrooy played for Real Madrid between the two terms of Florentino Perez.  So they are not eligible for this team.
-- At time of writing, Dani Carvajal already won four Champions' League as a key player.  So I left off Álvaro Arbeloa.
-- Salgado was married to Malula Sanz, daughter of former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz.  Florentino Perez defeated Sanz to become the president of Real Madrid.
-- Roberto Carlos and Marcelo were basically the only two left backs who made an impact during Perez's tenure.  
-- Iván Helguera was a surprise selection.  Ricardo Carvalho played better than him, but he was with the club for only three seasons while Helguera held down the starting position for a long time.  Carvalho was also injured during one of his three seasons. Raphaël Varane was also better than Helguera, but he has not hold down the starting position at the time of writing.  Edited: In early 2020, I decided to replace him with Varane.
--  Guti's career would have been better if he left the club in his prime, but he remained loyal to the club and stayed mainly as a backup player.  His loyalty counted here. I took him over Mesut Özil.
-- Casemiro won three Champions' League as one of the most important players.  He scored the winning goal in the 2017 Final.
-- Makelele left the club during the summer of 2003 because Perez would not give him a rise, but this selection is about performance under Perez.  Makelele was an important player during the early years of Florentino Perez.
-- Benzema received a lot of criticism early in his Madrid career, but he is still one of the longest serving starter under Florentino Perez.  After the departure of Cristano Ronaldo, he has been carrying the team on his shoulder. All three members of the BBC are included.
-- Ramón Calderón not Perez brought Gonzalo Higuain to the club. Nevertheless, Higuain played under Perez.
-- David Beckham was left off because Gareth Bale and Luis Figo.  Yes, Bale has been injury prone, but he has won three Champions' League.  He scored the winning goal vs Barcelona in the Final of Copa del Rey in 2014.  The goal remained one of the best goal of the season.  He scored the winning goal at the 2014 Champions' league Final and a two goals in the 2018 Final.
-- I do give David Beckham for turning the club into the most glamorous club in the world, but I ranked others more important on the playing field.  Beckham was played out of position for most of his career here.  Real Madrid did not see the best of Beckham.  Fabio Capello benched him in the first half of his last season here, in which he responded and played his best football in his career.
-- Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane won the 2002 Champions' League Title.  
-- Luis Figo's controversial transfer from Barcelona must be mentioned in any blog post about Perez's presidency.  Without Figo signing of the "agreement" to move to Real Madrid, I doubt Perez could have became the President of Real Madrid.  Perez's predecessor Lorenzo Sanz had won Champions' League titles in both 1998 and 2000.  And Real Madrid's last European Cup was 32 years before that in 1966. So Figo basically kickstarted Perez's revolution here.
-- Ronaldo (Brazil) actually played two great seasons before his form started to drop.  He scored 30 and 31 goals in his first two seasons. 
-- The last player selected was between Ángel Di María, Mesut Özil and Toni Kroos.  At the time of writing, Kroos has played three good seasons with the club.  Di Maria was the hero of the 2012-2014 season, but that was his only season, where he was considered a star.  Furthermore, I already had Figo and Bale as right wingers. 

Makelele got the start because of his experience over Casemiro.  Ramos played on the right largely because I wanted to start Pepe, a veteran.  Carvajal needs to play longer with the club before earning the starting position.  Higuain's performance at the club was better than Ronaldo of Brazil.  Raul on the right is weird, but I need to fit everyone.  I could start Ronaldo of Brazil on the left and push Raul as the striker, but Raul is a better option as a secondary striker.

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