The Santiago Bernabeu has been home to some of the most lethal headers in football history. From Carlos Santillana to Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid have always had a player of great heading ability in their squad.
All of them have stood out for their jumping power or their heading precision. And all of them have scored great goals with their head that have helped Real Madrid become the club with most titles in history.
Here at Real Madrid News we have tried to determine who, out of all these outstanding players, has been the best header in the club’s history. Here is our effort to define the top 5:
5. Hugo Sanchez
Hugo Sanchez is one of the most prolific goalscorers in football history. He was known for his ability of scoring in any possible manner: with volleys, backheel shots and, of course, headers. Despite his short height -only 1.75 metres (5 ft 9 in) – he had great heading skills. In seven seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, he scored 208 goals in 283 matches. Surely he deserves a spot among the top five.
4. Fernando Morientes
Morientes wasn’t precisely an athletic player. He wasn’t quick nor was he especially strong, but his clinical finishing and a sense of space helped him become one of the best forwards of his generation. He was 1.86 metres (6 ft 1 in) tall, which was a good advantage for him to stad out as exceptional header. The Santiago Bernabeu fans will never forget that historic afternoon when he scored four goals against Las Palmas, three of them with his head.
3. Ivan Zamorano
The Chilean striker scored 76 goals in his four seasons at Real Madrid, many of them with his head. With 1.78 metres (5 ft 10 in) of height, he wasn’t exactly a tall forward, but he had the ability to be always in the right place. He was a natural finisher: He would met any cross sent into the box, and many times succeed in finding the back of the net. His impressive jumping ability helped him become an infallible header.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is without a doubt the best athlete in Real Madrid history. That has allowed him to become one of the most lethal headers in the world. There is no other striker in the world who combines such a phenomenal leg strength and jumping ability with such an outstanding precision in his headers. According to a recent study, he is able to reach heights of 44cm in the air from a standing start and 78cm with a run-up, more than the average NBA player. Thanks to that, in the past few years, he has scored more goals with the head than any other footballer. In fact, last season he netted 17 headers, an all-time record in Spain.
1. Carlos Santillana
If you asked the Santiago Bernabeu veterans who is the best header in history, there is little chance that somebody would mention any name other than Carlos Santillana. The former Los Blancos striker is remember in Spain as the player with the greatest ability to score with the head. He was 1.75 metres (5 ft 9 in) tall, but still he was able to beat the defenders in every cross into the box and send the ball into the back of the net. Santillana made 778 appearances for Real Madrid, scoring 352 goals. He even managed to score with his head from outside the box. Many claim he would have made a great high jump athlete in the Olympics.