The arsenal of world-class players to emerge from Spain this century is remarkable. From Andries Iniesta, Xavi, Iker Casillas, to Xabi Alonso, each contributed to Spain’s international dominance from 2008 – 2012. With all that winning, it’s no wonder that most of the Spanish side’s most capped players emerged this century.
Sergio Ramos, 180
With 180 caps and 23 goals, Sergio Ramos has excelled for the national side ever since his senior debut in 2005. Building on the confidence from Euro 2008, the physical right-back helped the team earn five clean sheets in its run-up to winning the 2010 World Cup. The engine and workhorse of the Spain defense, Ramos played every minute of Euro 2012 as he did in the prior World Cup, earning the team yet another taste of glory.
He retired from Spain duty on February 23, 2023, posting on social media that “football is not always fair.”
“With a heavy heart, it is the end of a road which I hoped would end with a better taste or on a part with we achieve with La Roja.
“I honestly believe this journey deserved to end at my choosing or because my performances were not at a level worthy of the national team — not due to a question of age or other reasons.”
Iker Casillas, 167
With 167 caps, Iker Casillas leads the Spanish national team with the most caps. As captain of one of the greatest teams of all time, he cemented his legacy in Spanish football history. With his outstanding shot-stopping ability and quick reflexes, he helped the Spanish side win two Euros and World Cup 2010.
Sergio Busquets, 138
The anchorman Sergio Busquets has played 138 games for the Spanish team, helping them win the World Cup in 2010, the European Championship in 2012, and runner-up at the Confederations Cup in 2013. As a student of the game with tactical positioning, Busquets often makes the difficult look easy. The Barca captained has contributed to 3 Champions League titles, 8 La Liga titles, and 7 Spanish cups.
With 133 appearances for Spain, Xavi played an instrumental role in helping his country win its first title since 1964 with the UEFA Euro 2008. With his incredible vision — he dished 599 passes with a 91% success rate — and his ability to get stuck in, Xavi also helped power the team to the 2010 World Cup. The engineer of the tiki-taka, Xavi also guided the team to another UEFA Euro trophy in 2012.
Andrés Iniesta, 131
Perhaps no one player exemplifies Spain’s style of play, ’tiki-taka’, more elegantly than Andres Iniesta. With 131 caps and 13 goals for the national side, he famously scored the winning goal for Spain to seal the 2010 World Cup against Holland, its first World Cup trophy ever. Iniesta was also named Man of the Match, a trend he carried on to Euro 2012, where he was named Player of the tournament for leading his team to victory.
Andoni Zubizarreta, 126
With 126 caps during a 13-year tenure from 1985-1998, the Spanish goalie Andoni Zubizarreta started in all but one of his four World Cups and three European Championships. A skilled shot-stopper, he was also a standout goalkeeper for his club sides Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, and Valencia.
David Silva, 125
The creative midfielder has earned 125 caps with the Spanish side, notching 35 goals on his way to helping the team to a record-setting back to back Euro titles with a World Cup in between. While less prominent than Spain’s other tiki-taka players, he made the Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament for his two goal and three assists display.
Xabi Alonso, 114
The versatile midfielder Xabi Alonso excelled in both offensive and defensive positions, acting as both playmaker and a tactical tackler. As part of Spain’s golden era that won Euro 2008 and 2012 along with the 2010 World Cup., Xabi played 114 hardworking games for the national side, scoring 16 goals.
Cesc Fàbregas, 110
With 110 appearances, Cesc Fàbregas is Spain’s eighth most capped player to date. He made the historic assist to set up Iniesta’s game-winning goal against Holland to win the 2010 World Cup. He also helped the side win the Euro Championships of 2008 and 2012.
Fernando Torres, 110
Once a world-class striker with lethal scoring abilities before nagging injuries, Fernando Torres helped lead La Roja during its unprecedented run from 2008 to 2012, collecting two Euros and a World Cup. A participant in 110 national games, Torres finished his career with 38 international goals, making him Spain’s third-highest leading scorer ever.
Gerard Piqué, 103
With 103 appearances for the national side, Gerard Piqué has been one of Spain’s most versatile defenders, given this superiority in the air and his sharp passing skills. He also has 608 caps in his decade-plus career with Barcelona, winning the treble of Champions League, Spanish Cup, and La Liga twice.