As we welcome 2020, The Hard Tackle takes a look at the best players to have represented Real Madrid in the decade gone by.
The past ten years have been quite eventful for Real Madrid. From Jose Mourinho delivering a La Liga title, to the wait for La Decima ending under Carlo Ancelotti and the UEFA Champions League hat-trick under Zinedine Zidane, Los Blancos have seen lots of highs over the last decade, while there have been some lows as well.
During that period, Real Madrid have had some absolute world class players representing them, while there have been more than a few duds to have donned the famous white jersey. Taking a look back at the last decade we at The Hard Tackle formulate the best XI from the players to have represented the club in that period.
GK: Keylor Navas
Iker Casillas is a true legend, no doubting that. But, the Spaniard’s final few years at Real Madrid were tumultuous to say the least, while his form also suffered; which is why the selection of Keylor Navas becomes an easy choice.
The Costa Rican was an integral member of the side that saw immense success under Zidane and despite having left the club this past summer, Navas will be remembered very fondly by the fans.
RB: Dani Carvajal
A product of the Real Madrid youth setup, Carvajal had a brief spell away from the club before returning. And he has not looked back since, establishing himself as one of their most consistent performers. A key outlet down the right side, the Spanish international brings a lot with his attacking output and again, has been part of the success achieved in the second half of the decade.
CB: Raphael Varane
Having arrived as a relatively unknown quantity from France in 2011, Varane has grown into one of the best centre-backs in the game during his time at Real Madrid. Almost 300 club appearances, with 2 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League trophies more than justify his selection in this team.
CB: Sergio Ramos
People have contrasting opinions about some of the things Sergio Ramos does on the pitch, but all would agree that he is one of the best defenders in the game and a true leader. The Spaniard has been the cornerstone on which the success of this Real Madrid side his been built, delivering top-notch displays at the back, while chipping in with crucial goals on a consistent basis. An easy pick.
Arguably the best left-back in the past decade or so, the Brazilian international is another player who has been a constant presence in the success that Madrid have enjoyed in the last ten years. There have been some signs of slow decline in the past year or so, but Marcelo has been immense for Los Blancos and is deserving of a spot in this team.
CM: Luka Modric
The Croat has been one of the best transfer dealings Real Madrid have done. Having arrived from Tottenham in 2012, Modric embedded himself into the Spanish capital club with utmost ease and has been churning out consistent and impactful displays year after year.
Age seems to be catching up with him, but Modric is another player who was pivotal to the success that Real Madrid enjoyed in the last decade.
The man who does the dirty work in the centre of the park allowing those around him to go about their job and flourish, Casemiro’s impact in Real Madrid’s success in the past five years or so cannot be understated.
Signed initially on loan before making the transfer permanent, Casemiro has been a permanent fixture in the side with his defensive qualities and tactical awareness adding so much value. Xabi Alonso was a close competitor, having played some of his best football at Real Madrid before leaving for Bayern Munich. But, the four Champions League triumphs edge it in Casemiro’s favour.
CM: Toni Kroos
An absolute steal at €25 million, Kroos arrived from Bayern Munich in 2014 and has won silverware at Real Madrid in all but one season since (2018-19). A world-class operator, the German pass master elevated the Spanish giants with his presence on the field, while he keeps chipping in with absolute worldies every now and then.
RW: Gareth Bale
The Welsh wing-wizard is not loved by the Real Madrid supporters, true. He has spent a lot of time on the treatment tables during his stint at the Bernabeu, true. But, he has been a top performer when fit and available, that is also true. Bale has been directly involved in goals in three of the four Champions League finals that Real Madrid have won during his time in Spain.
He came so very close to leaving the club last summer and has since created controversy with some of his actions. But, despite everything, Bale warrants a place in Real Madrid’s team of the decade.
ST: Karim Benzema
A consistent source of goals every season, a true team member who for many years happily played a supporting role behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema is invaluable to this Real Madrid side. The Frenchman has been the focal point of the Merengues’ attack over the past decade and has scored 238 goals for the club, while also setting up 131 more.
Scores goals in plenty, works hard off the ball and has stepped up in an admirable way since Ronaldo’s departure, taking the responsibility of being Real Madrid’s chief goalscorer.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
The name says it all. One of the best players to have ever played the game, Ronaldo is the all-time top goalscorer for Real Madrid with 450 strikes, won four Ballon d’Ors during his time at the club, won the Golden Shoe on three occasions as well.
The way Real Madrid’s fortunes plummeted following his departure in 2018 said a lot about how important the Portuguese maverick was for the team. It goes without saying that Ronaldo was not only the best Real Madrid player in the last decade, but easily one of the best to have represented Los Blancos in their long and illustrious history.
Real Madrid Team of the Decade: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo