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.

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 10 European Cups while Barcelona had 4 titles.
Spain 2012
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.  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
Represented La Roja in 4 World Cup Finals. He was at one point Spain's cap record holder.  He won Barcelona's first ever Champions' League in 1992.

CB/RB: Sergio Ramos
Part of the all-conquering Spanish team that won the WC and two European Championships.  He is the youngest player ever to receive his 100th caps. He joined Real Madrid as a teenager. He scored the tying goal as Real Madrid won their 10th European Cup in 2014. He won his second Champions League title in 2016.
Sergio Ramos

RB: Albert Ferrer
Part of Barcelona's Dream Team in the 1990's. He won a Champions' League with Barcelona in 1992.

CB:  Fernando Hierro
At one point, he was Spain's all-time leading scorer and he was a center-back.  He was capped 90 times, whilst appearing in four World Cups and two European Championships. For Real Madrid, he won three Champions' League titles.  He is considered to be Spain's greatest defenders.

Fernando Hierro

CB: Carlos Puyol
Carlos Puyol is the captain of Barcelona that dominated club football duringbhis era.  He won the WC in 2014 and the European Championship in 2008.

CB:  Jacinto Quincoces
Quincoces One of the greatest defenders of the pre-war era.. 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 WC Finals in 1934.

LB:  Jose Antonio Camacho
Camacho is widely considered to be Spain's greatest leftback.  He played at  the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups, as well as the Euro 1984 and 1988. Spain reached the Final in 1984.  He was with the great Real Madrid side of the 1980's.  He won 19 titles with Real Madrid, including two UEFA Cups.

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.
DM:  Jose Pirri
He is regarded as one of Spain's greatest player.  He played in two WC Finals. 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.

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 WC 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
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 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.  He has won more trophies than any other Spanish player in history.

RW/FW: Amancio Amaro
Nicknamed "El Brujo".  He 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
He 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.  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
He scored the WC winning goal in 2010 that gave Spain its first ever WC title. He also won Champiosn' league trophies with Barcelona.

ST: Telmo Zarra
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
He was probably the best Spanish player in the late 1990's.  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. 

ST: David Villa
The all-time leading scorer for Spain.  He was the Golden Boot winner at Euro 2008 and the Silver boot in WC 2010.  He is best remembered for his club career with Valencia.
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), he 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 WC 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, Luis Arconada, Josep Samitier, Miguel Chendo, Miguel Angel Nadal, Estanislao Basora, Migueli, Michel, David Silva, Fernando Torres, Senna, Segio Busquets.

Squad Explanation 
  • Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskas and Lázsló Kubala were not considered because they had played for other national teams before they played for Spain. I put them on other teams.
  •  Josep Samitier were the notable omissions. Instead, I selected Rafael Moreno AranzadiRafael Moreno Aranzad is the original "Pichichi"(top scorer of La Liga").  
  • I only carried 7 defenders because Sergio Ramos could be used as backup for both center-back and right back.
  •   Estanislao Basora just missed out on the roster.

Starting lineup
Formation 4-2-1-3 
The formation is based up the WC 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.  Amancio is a controversial choice here. There are better players than him sitting on the bench, but he is the best right-sided attacker on the team.  Iniesta deserved to be a starter, but Gento is much better player. 



  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.