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La Liga’s Best Starting XI, the 1980s

Unlike today’s Real Madrid and Barcelona hegemony, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao ran the La Liga table in the early half of the 1980s. At one point, Real Sociedad had achieved a record-setting 38 La Liga wins in a row. However, the latter half of the 1980s was all about Real Madrid. Los Blancos went on to win five La Liga titles in a row from 1986 to 1990. Here are some of the players that starred on those respective teams, as they were the best performers of the 1980s.

José Mari Bakero

While the attacking midfielder may have won bigger trophies in the 90s with Barcelona, he enjoyed a successful stint in the 1980s with Real Sociedad where he appeared 223 times and won back to back La Liga titles.

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Hugo Sanchez

In a seven-year career at the Bernabeu from 1985 to 1992, the Mexican striker won five consecutive league titles, a Spanish Cup, and the UEFA Cup. A prolific and spectacular goal-scorer, he fired 164 goals in the domestic league, 38 during the 1989-90 season.

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Emilio Butragueño

The Spanish striker played eleven seasons at the Santiago Bernabéu, netting 123 times and contributed to a bag of titles including the team’s two UEFA Cups, two Copa del Rey, and six La Liga titles.

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Rafael Gordillo

Playing 182 domestic matches as left-back, Rafael Gordillo helped Los Blancos win a UEFA Cup in his first year with Real Madrid. He also guided the side to five consecutive La Liga titles from 1985 to 1990.

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Luis Arconada

Playing between the sticks, the Spanish goalkeeper Luis Arconada helped lead Real Sociedad to back-to-back titles from 1980 – 1982. His 414 club caps spanned nearly two decades.

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Jesus Zamora

The Spanish midfielder Jesus earned 455 caps with Real Sociedad, culminating in the team’s back to back league championships from 1980 – 1981. In fact, his tying goal against Sporting de Gijón guaranteed the one point needed to secure the title over Real Madrid.

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Jesús María Satrústegui

Together with Jesus Zamora, Jesus Satrústegui posed as Real Sociedad’s biggest offensive threat. The Spanish striker scored 29 goals in the back to back La Liga seasons of 1981 and 1982. He finished his Real Sociedad career with 297 caps and 133 goals.

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Transferring to Barcelona for a then-record fee of $7.6 million, one of the greatest footballers ever had an unfortunate tenure at Barcelona. Maradona picked up a serious bout of hepatitis and then suffered a broken ankle in a match against Athletic Bilbao. He scored 38 goals in 58 games over two years before moving on to Napoli, grabbing a league title, a Spanish Cup, and a Spanish Super Cup.

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Manuel ‘Manolo’ Sanchís

One of the most decorated La Liga players of all time, Manolo’ Sanchís played a remarkable 22 seasons with Los Blancos. An industrious and brute sweeper, he captained the team 13 years and helped them achieve six La Liga championships, two UEFA Champions League, plus two UEFA Cups. We told you he was accomplished.

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José Antonio Camacho

The Real Madrid left-back played a vital role in the team that dominated the 1980s. His trophy haul includes nine La Liga, two UEFA Cups, and six Copa del Rey.

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Carlos Santillana

The Spanish striker played 18 years for Los Blancos where he developed a reputation for his aerial expertise. He scored 290 goals in 645 team appearances. He won 9 league titles, four Spanish Cups, and two UEFA Cups.

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The Spanish right-back Chendo spent his entire 16-career with Real Madrid, helping the team to achieve seven La Liga victories, two Copa del Rey, a Champions League, and two UEFA Cups.

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