The Best Players in the History of the Spanish La Liga

Some of the best players in the history of the Spanish La Liga were part of the beginning of the competition, while others are still active. Who’s included in this category?
The Best Players in the History of the Spanish La Liga

Last update: 20 August, 2020

There are local and foreign players, from the current era or from black and white photos, of popular teams and smaller ones. Below, we’ll tell you who, in many people’s opinion, are the best players in the history of the Spanish La Liga. Don’t miss it!

Who are the best players in the history of the Spanish La Liga?

Remember, each person has their personal ranking based on their tastes or what they’ve seen, even depending on the type of player they prefer. In this list, we’ll share our selection of the best soccer players in the history of the almost 90 seasons of the Spanish La Liga:

1. Lionel Messi

Although it"s a bit obvious, we couldn"t help but place one of the best soccer players of all time in the top spot of this list. Even the Research Centre of History and Statistics of Spanish Football (CIHEFE) considers him to be the best player.

Lionel Messi.
Leo Messi is one of the best soccer players in history, as well as the one who’s scored the best goals.

Lionel Messi has been playing with FC Barcelona for 15 seasons and is the top scorer in the history of the Catalan team, as well as in the entire La Liga. He’s won 34 titles with the Catalan club and won the Ballon d"Or on several occasions.

2. Raúl González Blanco: Spanish La Liga

Raúl González Blanco (featured on the main image of this article) is synonymous with Real Madrid, the team where he played most of his career (1994-2010). However, a curious fact is that he started in the lower divisions of Atlético de Madrid. He’s the fifth historic goal scorer in the Spanish league. In fact, he scored 323 goals with the “merengue” team.

Raúl was part of Real Madrid"s “galactic” team. During his career, he won 22 titles, 16 of them with the team from the Spanish capital.

3. César Rodríguez

The third in the list of the best players in the history of the Spanish La Liga takes us back in time when photos were in black and white and the Internet didn’t exist.

César Rodríguez began his career in León but became famous when he signed with Barcelona. However, he was transferred to CE Sabadell FC and Granada CF before making his debut with the Barça team.

Cesar Rodríguez, one of the best Spanish La Liga players.
Image: FC Barcelona.

Rodríguez helped the team win its first international title in 1949. During that season, he scored 28 goals and won the Pichichi Trophy for the top goal scorer. He ended his career in 1960 at Elche, where he continued as a coach. He retired from the activity in 1976, after leading ten Spanish teams.

4. Telmo Zarra: Spanish La Liga

Around the same time as Rodríguez, Zarra was a prolific forward from Erandio, Spain. Many consider him one of the best players in the history of the Spanish La Liga. He began his career in the highest category when he arrived at Athletic Bilbao in 1940. He played in this team until 1955.

Telmo Zarra playing soccer.
Image: FIFA.com

Playing in the mythical San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, he scored 251 goals in 277 games, almost one goal per game on average, and won the Pichichi Trophy six times. In addition, he held the record for scoring the most goals in a single season: 38. Until a certain Lionel Messi arrived on the scene!

5. Enrique “Quini” Castro

We just had to include this Asturian forward of the last century who played for the defunct CD Ensidesa on our list. In 1968, he signed for Real Sporting, where he was promoted to the first division two years later. Subsequently, he played for Barcelona in 1980.

Enrique Quini Castro.
Image: FC Barcelona.

Quini scored 259 goals in 505 games and won the Pichichi Trophy in 6 of the 17 seasons he played in La Liga.

6. Juan Arza: Spanish La Liga

He was known as “The Golden Boy” and played for Sevilla FC for 16 seasons, between 1943 and 1959–a rather complicated time in the history of Spain. A year later, in 1960, he retired from UD Almería, in la Segunda División.

Juan Arza in Sevilla.
Image: Sevilla FC.

Arza had a good scoring average. In fact, he scored 203 goals in 409 games for the four teams he played for (at the beginning of his career, he played for the Alavés and Málaga, both in the Segunda División). In addition, he won the Pichichi Trophy for the 1954-1955 season.

Other La Liga players worth noting

Some of the players in the history of the Spanish La Liga that are also worth mentioning are Alfredo Di Stéfano (Real Madrid), Francisco “Paco" Gento (Real Racing Club de Santander and Real Madrid), Carlos Alonso “Santillana" (Real Racing Club de Santander and Real Madrid), and Guillermo Gorostiza (Athletic and Valencia).

Of course, we also can’t forget about Johan Cruyff (Barcelona), Ferenc Puskas (Real Madrid), and Ricardo Zamora (RCD Espanyol, Barcelona, and Real Madrid).

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