La Liga has hosted some of the world’s best talent since the league’s inception in 1929.
11. Raphael Varane – Lens to Real Madrid ($11.00m)
Certainly one of the most underrated defensive players of all-time, the 26-year old French defender Raphael Varane has earned 16 trophies — four of them Champions League silverware — during his nine-year spell with Real Madrid.
The ever-dependable World Cup-winning center back continues to play a key role in the side with head coach Zinedine Zidane refusing to sell him at all costs.
10. Samuel Eto’o – RCD Mallorca to Barcelona ($29.70m)
Rejected by Real Madrid early in his career, the Cameroonian striker went on to have an illustrious career with Barcelona and Inter Milan in the first decade of the 21st century. At Barcelona, he scored a magnificent 130 goals in 199 games and won the Treble in the 2008/09 season winning Champions League, La Liga, and Copa del Rey.
9. Ronaldinho – Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona ($35.48m)
Often considered one of the best to ever play the game, the gifted Brazilian dribbler known quite simply as Ronaldinho scored 70 goals for the Catalan side over five seasons. He remains the only player other than Maradona to have received a round of applause from Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu. The smiling superstar won both a Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the year after winning Champions League and second La Liga title 2005.
8. Luis Suarez – Liverpool to Barcelona ($89.89m)
If you thought Luis Suarez starred at Liverpool, he’s been on an absolute tear at Barcelona. The hard-working and physical attacker has scored 113 goals in 137 La Liga appearances. On top of his prolific goal-scoring record, he’s won a Champions League, three La Liga titles, and is a three-time Spanish Cup winner with Barcelona. His other trophies include a Copa America win with Uruguay where he was named the player of the tournament.
7. Sergio Ramos – Sevilla to Real Madrid ($29.70m)
Once the highest-paid transfer for a Spanish defender, Sergio Ramos signed with Real Madrid from Sevilla in 2005 for €27 million. Ramos succeeded Iker Casillas as Real Madrid captain in 2015, helping guide Los Blancos to four of the five last Champions League victories. Love him or hate him for the occasionally stepping over the line, he has been remarkably consistent at the top level for 14 years, also scoring crucial goals.
6. Roberto Carlos – Inter Milan to Real Madrid ($6.60m)
The Brazilian defender played 527 times for Los Blancos, making his name as one of the best left-back in history. He also made a name for himself as a free-kick specialist, known for blasting rockets at goal. Carlos finished his Real career winning four domestic league trophies and Champions League three times.
5. Zinedine Zidane – Juventus to Real Madrid ($85.25m)
After winning two Serie A titles at Juventus, the Frenchman signed for Real Madrid in 2001 as the club’s second Galáctico for a world record transfer of 77.5 Euros. Zidane’s impact was immediate, scoring a hallmark volley with his left foot in the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen. He won La Liga the following year, along with his Ballon d’Or. One of the greatest footballers of all time, he retired in 2006 with 155 appearances and 37 goals. As Real Madrid’s coach for nearly 3 years, Zidane won 3 Champions Leagues and one La Liga, equaling nine trophies in total.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United to Real Madrid ($103.40m)
3. Ronald Koeman – PSV Eindhoven to Barcelona ($6.24m)
Signed in 1989 to play a part of Cruyff’s “Dream Team,” the defender scored an incredible 102 goals in his six seasons at Barca, most notably the set-piece goal that won the team’s first European Cup in 1992. The Dutchman’s powerful right boot helped lead the team to five Spanish Championships, three Spanish Super Cups, and a Spanish Cup. Koeman still holds the La Liga record for 25 consecutive penalties scored.
2. Gerard Piqué – Manchester United to Barcelona ($5.50m)
A student of La Masia, he transferred to Manchester United in 2004 before coming back home on a €5m fee to play for Barcelona in 2008. Not known for his pace, Gerard Piqué nonetheless morphed into one of Barcelona’s most versatile defenders given his dependability in the air and sharp passing abilities. In his 456 caps in his nine years with the squad, he’s won the Treble of Champions League, Spanish Cup, and La Liga twice.
1. Raul – Atletico to Real Madrid (free transfer)
Considered one of the greatest Spanish players for all time for his ball control and a knack for goal, Raul broke into the Real Madrid first team as a 17-year-old. The rest is history. He spent 16 years with Los Blancos, scoring 323 goals which rank him fifth on the all-time scoring La Liga list behind Ronaldo and Messi. The 6-time La Liga Champion also starred in 3 Champions League wins and four Spanish Super Cups.