Real Madrid has not been the same in recent years, both as a sporting and a commercial entity. But the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga is a kind reminder of how top players are still ready to give up anything to represent Los Blancos. Some players have been fortunate enough to play in front of the Bernabeu faithful for a long period of time. In this article, we will take a look at the five players with the most appearances for Real Madrid.
#5 Santillana – 645 games
Santillana started his senior career at Racing Santander and in his very first season scored 16 goals in the league. He earned a move to Madrid in the summer of 1971 and won the league in his first season. Santillana’s peak came in the late 70’s when his terrific form in front of the goal helped Real Madrid to hat-trick La Liga titles.
Santillana represented Real Madrid for 17 seasons and scored 289 goals in all competitions. Santillana won 16 major trophies during his time at Real Madrid, before retiring in 1988.
#4 Sergio Ramos – 671 games
Ramos bid an emotional goodbye to Real Madrid in 2021 after 16 years of outstanding service to the club. Ramos joined from Sevilla in 2005 and spent his initial years playing as a right-back. From the 2009 season onwards, Ramos became Madrid’s first-choice central defender.
In the 2014 Champions League final, Ramos scored the equalizer in stoppage time, thus taking the match into extra time. Real Madrid eventually won the game, and Ramos’ goal became the stuff of folklore. Despite playing as a defender, Ramos has 101 goals for Real Madrid, a tally bettered only by Fernando Hierro.
#3 Manolo Sanchis – 710 games
Fernando Hierro and Manolo Sanchis formed one of the best center-back partnerships of all time at Real Madrid. During the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s, Sanchis was regarded by many as the best defender in Europe. Unlike Ramos and Hierro, Sanchis was not a hard-tackling center-back but possessed good composure and intelligence.
Sanchis was a one-club man, representing only Real Madrid in his career after progressing from their youth system. Sanchis won eight league titles during his time at Real Madrid, including five consecutive La Liga triumphs between 1985 and 1990.
#2 Iker Casillas – 725 games
Second on the list of most appearances for Real Madrid is Casillas, a Spain and Real Madrid legend. Casillas made his Real Madrid first-team debut in 1999 and helped them win the Champions League. Known for his acrobatic saves, Casillas was a strong and commanding presence, both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
Casillas has won the La Liga best goalkeeper award twice and the Zamora Trophy in 2008. Casillas was the captain of the team that won the La Decima in 2014 by beating Atlético Madrid. Casillas’s tearful goodbye to fans at a press conference in 2015 is one of the most emotional farewells in recent memory.
#1 Raul – 741 games
Raul tops the list of most appearances for Real Madrid and is also their second-highest goalscorer. Raul was a Bernabeu favorite right from his debut in 1994 until his departure in 2010. Raul was at the heart of Real Madrid’s UCL triumphs in 1998, 2000 and 2002. In the ’90s, he formed a famed strike partnership with Morientes and then later formed an even deadlier duo with Ronaldo Nazario.
Raul served as Real Madrid’s captain for seven years, starting from 2003. Famously, Raul was never sent off in his entire tenure with Real Madrid and was heralded for his humility off the field.