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Real Madrid Number 10: The Greatest Madridistas To Wear The Shirt

A whole host of outstanding players have had the privilege to wear Real Madrid’s number 10 shirt over the course of their 120-year history. The jersey has brought mixed fortunes with some forgettable players donning the number whilst others have gone on to become true Los Blancos legends. In 2023, Croatian superstar Luka Modric is currently the proud owner of Real Madrid’s iconic number ten shirt.

Why Is The Real Madrid No.10 Shirt So Popular?

Real Madrid have arguably forged the most prestigious legacy in football history and their crowning achievement becoming European Cup champions on a record 14 occasions. Their number 10 shirt has traditionally been worn by the team’s most remarkable and often world-class talents.

Those who have sported the infamous jersey usually possess incredible skill with some evolving into club legends. The number is often given to Madrid’s brightest creative sparks who are able to wow fans whilst adorned in Royal White fabric featuring a number ten on the back.

10. Michael Laudrup

Danish midfielder Michael Laudrup was one of the greatest footballers of his generation, known for his exceptional skill, vision and an elegant playing style. He had a highly successful club career, playing for several legendary sides including Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Ajax.

His most noteworthy achievements coincided with his time at Barcelona. Laudrup was a crucial part of Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team” that won four consecutive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994.

The Danish international joined Real Madrid in 1994 and with his flair for creating scoring opportunities he became a fan favourite at the Bernabeu. Laudrup played over 70 times across two seasons and scored a total of 15 goals. The Dane won one La Liga title with Madrid in 1995 before eventually leaving to join Vissel Kobe in Japan a year later.

9. Lassana Diarra

Defensive midfielder Lassana Diarra began his career at Le Havre, playing for the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain during his illustrious career. The French international was a dogged tackler, adaptable and possessed immense ball-winning capabilities.

Diarra signed for Los Blancos in 2009 and rapidly established himself as a linchpin of the team. He played five seasons at Real Madrid and made 117 appearances. The Frenchman was instrumental in the side’s successful 2010-2011 campaign that saw them win the Copa del Rey title.

He eventually left the club in 2012 and headed for the Russian Premier League yet will always be remembered for his epic contributions in the Spanish capital.

8. James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez earned his move to Real Madrid in 2014 following a phenomenal performance for Columbia at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. At the tournament he displayed exceptional technique and an eye for scoring goals from midfield.

Switching to the Bernabeu from Monaco for a fee of £63 million, the Columbian helped Madrid win the Champions League that year and also in 2016, alongside two La Liga titles. He made 125 appearances for the Spanish side and scored 37 times across four campaigns.

He eventually joined Bayern Munich in 2017 following a reduction in playing time. Despite his ups and downs at Madrid, James left a lasting impression on the club and its adoring fan base with never forget his wonderful flair.

7. Robinho

Brazilian playmaker Robinho rose to prominence at Santos before making a life-changing move to Real Madrid in 2005. He arrived with great expectations, an electrifying playing style, close control with exceptional dribbling skills.

He was part of the side that won consecutive La Liga titles in 2007 and 2008. Robinho played 137 times for Los Blancos during his three full seasons in the Spanish capital and scored 35 goals.

Robinho eventually departed for the Premier League and Manchester City in 2008, also featuring for AC Milan and Istanbul Basaksehir late in his career. But Robinho’s time with Madrid was most memorable, mesmerising Spanish crowds with his skills whilst forming a formidable attacking partnership with the likes of Ronaldo and Raul.

6. Luis Figo

Luis Figo made the controversial move from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000 for a then world record fee of £62 million. It was a transfer that truly shook the foundations of European football because of the intense rivalry between the two clubs.

Figo’s spell at Real Madrid brought huge success to the club as they would win two La Liga titles and the Champions League in 2002. The Portuguese winger was a sensation at the Bernabeu, earning the trust of fans with his versatility, skill and astute goal scoring.

In spite of having to endure an understandably difficult and often volatile relationship with Barcelona supporters, Figo’s will be celebrated by Real as one of the most influential players to have worn the famous white shirt.

5. Clarence Seedorf

Clarence Seedorf had an illustrious career before moving to Spain and then a notable stint at Real Madrid too. He signed for the La Liga club from Sampdoria in 1996 and rapidly became an important central figure at the Bernabeu.

Joining for a mere fee of £3.4 million, the Dutchman played three-and-a-half seasons in the Spanish Capital, making 159 appearances and scoring 20 goals. Seedorf grew into a versatile midfielder with fantastic feet and a powerful strike.

Real Madrid won the league title in 1997 and the Champions League a year later. Seedorf’s time at the club was cut short following a switch to Inter Milan in 1999. Nevertheless, he had already cemented his place in Los Blancos history and went on to become one of the greatest Dutch midfielders of his generation.

4. Hector Rial

Forward Hector Rial is a legendary figure in Real Madrid’s history having helped drive the club to massive European success during the 1950s. The Spanish striker joined Real in 1949 and went on to symbolise their glorious “Madridismo” era in which they became near unbeatable.

Rial’s agility and prowess in front of goal made him a feared striker across Europe. Real Madrid were dominant with the Spaniard leading the line and claimed five consecutive European Cup titles from 1956 to 1960. He played a total of 113 times for Real and scored 60 goals.

The Spanish attacker formed mesmerising partnerships with other iconic players like Alfredo Di Stefano and Francisco Gento. Rial’s ability to find the back of the net so consistently and a knack for registering crucial goals in big matches made him a beloved figure among Madrid fans of the time.

3. Mesut Ozil

German wizard Mesut Ozil had phenomenal vision and creativity from his days at Werder Bremen with eye-catching performances during the 2010 World Cup.

Ozil’s precise passing and deft touch gave him the ability to unlock defences. He signed for Real Madrid during the summer immediately following the World Cup. In only his second season he helped Madrid to a La Liga triumph in 2011-2012. Ozil’s performances soon earned him recognition as one of the best playmaking midfielders in the world.

He provided 81 assists across his three seasons at the Bernabeu – averaging an incredible 27 per campaign! Despite leaving for Arsenal in 2013, Ozil remains one of most influential number 10s  in the club’s recent history.

2. Luka Modric

Luka Modric moved from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid in 2012. He quickly became a focal point of the team’s midfield, able to control the tempo of the game and switch play with ease.

He has been significant to the team’s dominance over the last decade, Los Blancos winning numerous La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League trophies – including a historic three consecutive European triumphs in a row from 2016 to 2018. The Croatian has made nearly 500 appearances for Real to date.

Modric is composed and elegant with a relentless work ethic that has made him one of the most celebrated midfielders of the modern era. His overall significance to Real Madrid’s epic success should not be underestimated.

The Croatian’s true brilliance was finally acknowledged by world football’s governing body and his fellow professionals – when in 2018 he was awarded the Ballon d’Or. His leadership and class has more than solidified his reputation as one of Real Madrid’s all-time greats.

1. Ferenc Puskas

Hungarian footballing icon Ferenc Puskas joined Real Madrid in 1958 having already become a global star. On the international stage he was a phenomenon, scoring 84 goals in 86 games for his country. Following the demise of Hungarian football in the late 50’s, Puskas turned his attention to club football and made an immediate impact in Spain.

His incredible goal-scoring record, powerhouse of a left foot and exceptional dribbling skills made him an almost unplayable striker – earning him the nickname “The Galloping Major.”

Puskas formed a legendary striking partnership with Alfredo Di Stefano. He won five La Liga titles with Madrid and perhaps most notably claimed three European Cups in 1959, 1960 and 1966.

The world-class Hungarian was one of the greatest players of his generation. His contribution whilst wearing Real Madrid’s number ten shirt made him a true icon of the club and god-like amongst the history of the game.

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