Since its foundation in 1902, Real Madrid has been home to some of the best goalkeepers in football history. Some of them have left their mark on the game for their quality and other became the fans favourites for other reasons.
Some might disagree in the order, but it is highly unlikely that you will disagree in the number. Anyway, check out our top 9 and leave your comments behind to let us know your views:
9. Mariano Garcia-Remon
Considered as one of the most complete Spanish goalkeepers of the 70’s, Mariano Garcia-Remon is one of the big names of Real Madrid history. He was a member of the squad for 15 years, and later he would hold different positions as manager in the youth categories and even in the first team –for just three months. He joined Real at 15-years-old and would make his professional debut for Los Merengues in 1971. He had superb reflexes, but suffered terrible injury problems that prevented him from playing regularly. However, he would go on to make 231 official appearances for his life-club before retiring in 1986. He won seven leagues, four Spanish cups and two UEFA Cups.
8. Jose Banon
Banon was Real Madrid’s starting goalkeeper during the decade of the 40’s. Those were tough years for Los Blancos, due to the recent Spanish Civil War, but Banon clearly stood out as one of the best players of the team. He played 160 official games for Los Merengues, from 1943 to 1949. He is remembered as a very agile keeper and a great athlete who could jump from one post to the other. However, he had to retire at 27 years old due to a lung problem. He won two cups and one Zamora Trophy as the best goalkeeper of the 1946 league.
7. Bodo Illgner
Illgner will be always remembered by Los Blancos fans as the goalkeeper of the long-awaited ‘Septima’, the seventh European Cup that Real pursued for 32 years until they managed to lift it in 1998. The Germany international arrived at Madrid in 1996 and Fabio Capello trusted him to become the undisputed starting goalkeeper, sending Paco Buyo and Santiago Canizares to the bench. He played 107 games for the Whites, conquering two Champions Leagues, two leagues and one Intercontinental Cup. With Germany, he won the World Cup in 1990. After suffering several injuries and seeing Iker Casillas take his seat, Illgner decided to retire in 2001.
6. Juanito Alonso
Alonso was the usual starting goalkeeper during the most successful years of the club. He played he first game for Real in 1928 and went on to play for eleven consecutive seasons. Alongside Alfredo di Stefano and Paco Gento, he won five European Cups, five leagues, one Intercontinental Cup and one Zamora Trophy. He is remembered as a simple goalkeeper, who would do the job efficiently but without adornments. Every season president Santiago Bernabeu would sign a famous goalkeeper, and every season Alonso ended up earning himself the starting goalkeeper role. Like Banon, he had to retire in 1960 due to a lungs problem, having played 225 games for Los Blancos.
5. Antonio Rodrigo Betancort
Nicknamed ‘Siete Manos’ (Seven Hands) for his good reflexes and agility, Betancort was the goalkeeper of the late 60s. He made his debut in 1963 and soon became the undisputed starter. He still holds the record of least goals conceded in a season: 15 in 1966-67. Betancort’s worst day at Real Madrid was the final of the European Cup of 1966, when he missed the game due to an injury he had suffered in the semi-final. He was never able to succeed at the national team since he always had Spain’s legend Iribar ahead of him. He retired in 1971, having won six leagues, one European Cup, two Spanish cups and two Zamora Trophies for Los Merengues.
4. Miguel Angel Gonzalez
Miguel Angel played at the Santiago Bernabeu during the 70s and the early 80s. He made his debut in 1969 and played 346 for Los Merengues. He is the third stopper to have made the most appearances for the club. He was a keeper of great ability and elasticity, in fact, they used to call him ‘El Gato’ (The Cat). The fans consider him one of the greatest legends of the club, although not always was he the guaranteed starting goalkeeper. Miguel Angel alternated on goal with Mariano Garcia Remon for a long time and that competency benefited both of them. He played his last game on 1985, although he remained a member of the squad until 1986. He won eight leagues, five Spanish Cups, two UEFA Cups and one Zamora trophy. He has remained an employee of the club since he retired, holding different positions.
3. Paco Buyo
When Miguel Angel retired, Real needed a world-class goalkeeper to replace him, and president Ramon Mendoza chose Francisco ‘Paco’ Buyo, who had spent seven successful seasons at Sevilla. Buyo made his debut in 1986 and he would wear Los Blancos number 1 shirt for ten years. His great qualities as a goalkeeper and his deep love for the club quickly made him one of the fans favourites. He was a player of exceptional leadership skills, a stopper of superb reflexes and an athlete of impressive strength. He played 454 official games for Los Blancos, conquering five league titles, two Copa del Rey titles, five Spanish Supercups and two Zamora trophies.
2. Ricardo Zamora
Considered by many as the best goalkeeper of the 20th Century, Zamora is an all-time legend of Real Madrid and the Spanish national team. He made his debut for Los Blancos in 1930 and went on to make 152 appearances. He was one of the forefathers of modern goalkeeping: He was the first one to wear gloves and invented the elbow stop to prevent injuries in the hands. Zamora played his last game for Los Merengues in the Copa del Rey final of 1936, leading Real to a 2-1 victory over Barcelona. He won five Spanish cups, two leagues and a silver Olympic medal with Spain. The award for the best stopper in La Liga is named in his honour.
1. Iker Casillas
‘El Santo’ (The Saint) won IFFHS’ World’s Best Goalkeeper of the Year award in five consecutive occasions, from 2008 to 2012, more than any other goalie in history. No wonder why many consider him the best stopper to have ever played the game. Luckily for Real Madrid, such a rare talent grew up in Los Blancos youth system and he would play for the first team during 25 successful years. He arrived at the club at nine years old and made his professional debut in 1999 at 17. He’s the Spanish player with more caps for the national team and the second in Real Madrid history with more appearances: 725, only 16 less than Raul. He is arguably the goalkeeper with best reflexes ever, and it cannot be said he is the perfect goalkeeper just because he always struggled with high crosses. He has won five leagues, two Copa del Rey, four Spanish Supercups, three Champions Leagues, two European Supercups, one Intercontinental Cup, one World Cup and two European Championships. Despite having move to Porto to end his career, he can still extend this endless list of honors that no other goalkeeper can match.