Team of the Decade: Real Madrid

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Real Madrid Team of the Decade
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 27: Cristiano Ronaldo (2ndL) of Real Madrid CF holds the trophy as he poses for a picture with his teammates Karim Benzema (R) and Gareth Bale (L) during the celebration with their fans at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium the day after winning the UEFA Champions League Final match against Liverpool on May 27, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. Real Madrid CF is the only European football team with 13 European Cups (Photo by Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images)

If Real Madrid do not win every competition available every season, it is not a successful season for them. As a result, at the Santiago Bernabeu, it will not be counted as a successful decade. However, the last nine years saw them win 18 trophies, including four UEFA Champions League trophies. Icons of the club were created during that time, a theme for this Real Madrid team of the decade.

Team of the Decade: Real Madrid

Goalkeeper – Iker Casillas

The Spaniard ranks second in the all-time appearances list for Los Blancos. His tenure with the club lasted 16 years, before he departed in 2015 for a fresh beginning.

Casillas won every trophy available to him during his time in Madrid. He was selected as the best goalkeeper in Europe for six consecutive years, winning the world’s best in five of the years.

There is no doubt that now-retired Iker Casillas was a catalyst for defining moments during his reign as the club’s number one in goal. Without him, several trophies would have been lost.

Right-Back – Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos has played at right-back previously, allowing him to be selected here to accommodate another club icon at the heart of the defence.

While he is often criticised for his unsporting behaviour, the Spaniard has proven himself to be one of the world’s best defenders, even as he comes to the twilight of his career. Strong in the air and not afraid to put his body on the line, the 34-year-old has continued to perform at the highest level.

At the other end of the pitch, he iis also extremely effective. Last season saw him scored ten times in all competitions, while he has already scored seven goals this season.

Centre-Back – Pepe

Much like Ramos, Pepe proved a tough challenge for attackers facing him.

He possessed the same traits as Ramos, proving tough to get past and doing everything to prevent the opposition from getting a shot at goal. Pepe was also clever in how defended, ensuring that he did not always have to go diving into a tackle.

The Portuguese international made 344 appearances in his time with the club, winning 13 trophies.

Centre-Back – Raphael Varane

The Frenchman made the move to Spain as an 18-year-old for just £10 million in 2011, a price that has proved to be money well spent.

Calm presence to a ferocious defence, Varane has not always been first-choice during his time with the club. His young age proved a stumbling block at first, with managers keen to ensure that he did not crumble under pressure during the early days of his time with the club.

However, he is now an established member of the side currently managed by Zinedine Zidane, and he has now become a fan’s favourite at the Bernabeu.

Left-Back – Marcelo

Trademark overlapping runs down the left wing from the Brazilian is what Madrid fans have become accustomed to.

Displacing Marcelo from his left-back role has proved tough since his breakthrough season in 2007. While he is known for his ability going forward, his defensive abilities can often be overshadowed.

Much like his team-mates in this side, Marcelo has been part of the success at the Bernabeu in recent seasons.

Midfield – Xabi Alonso

The Spaniard who oozes, and is the very definition of, class. Xabi Alonso may have only spent four years of the decade with Madrid, but he made a huge impact.

He was an instrumental figure in their 2011/12 title victory, featuring in 36 of the 38 game league season. High appearance figures were a common occurrence during his time with the club – he featured in more than 40 games in each of his first three seasons in the Spanish capital.

With an immaculate passing range and excellent ability to break up play, Alonso is the perfect defensive midfielder to be picked in the Real Madrid team of the decade.

Midfield – Toni Kroos

It is fascinating to think that the German has only been with the club for seven years. Toni Kroos feels like he has been part of the furniture a lot longer in Madrid.

While he possesses the same traits as Alonso, the 30-year-old has the ability to carry the ball forward. Kroos was an instrumental figure in each of Madrid’s four Champions League victories in the decade, in particular the 2016/17 season, where he was directly involved in 18 goals across the campaign.

Midfield – Luka Modric

The Croatian glancing through the midfield has become a common occurrence at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite having regressed to a deeper role due to his lack of pace, Luka Modric is no less effective for Real Madrid than when he first joined. If anything, his passing ability has allowed him to become more effective, filling the void left by Xabi Alonso.

The Croat’s sensational decade was defined by his Ballon d’Or triumph in 2018.

Right Wing – Cristiano Ronaldo

The once club-record signing and the record goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo would comfortably win Player of the Decade.

The fact Ronaldo’s worst season in Madrid in terms of goals and assists was his first speaks volumes in itself. He scored 33 goals and registered eight assists, figures that any player in the world would be delighted with.

However, the Portuguese international strove to get better, in which he even succeeded in doing that. Cristiano Ronaldo will go down as one of the best players to ever step foot on this planet.

Striker – Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema’s goalscoring is overshadowed by Ronaldo’s sensational brilliance.

The Frenchman arrived in 2009 having enjoyed two excellent seasons with Lyon in France. While it took him a season to acclimatise to his new surroundings, Benzema has been consistent in his performances ever since.

Now aged 32, Benzema does not look like slowing down any time soon, and as a result, was an obvious choice.

Left Wing – Gareth Bale

Perhaps the most controversial pick in this side. However, there is no doubting that the Welshman has been one of the better players on the white side of the Spanish capital in the last decade.

Gareth Bale’s reputation now is not the same as when he joined in 2013. He arrived from Tottenham with high expectation and was walking into a side with big shoes to fill. Bale had to prove that he was capable of matching Ronaldo on the opposite wing.

While he has not done that – partially due to the Portuguese’s freakish excellence – Bale has undoubtedly had an excellent seven years with the club. During his first season, he scored 21 goals while creating 16 goals for his team-mates. That set the par, and he has matched that in almost every season since.

Manager: Zinedine Zidane

Zidane receives plenty of criticism, but winning three Champions League trophies in a row is no mean feat. As a result, he is our manager of the decade for Real Madrid.

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