Picking an all-time XI for either one of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid is hard enough, but pitting them together to make the ultimate super team? Near enough impossible.
The list of players who learned their trade, cemented their status in the football hall of fame or even finished off their trophy-littered careers in the Spanish capital is endless. Fortunately, the hard work has been done for you here at 90min, after endless hours of agonising, scrutinising and analysing of all the data under the sun.
Or, more realistically, we’ve just applied a bit of brain power and come up with the following team. Enjoy…
Iker Casillas is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time and his trophy cabinet is absolutely heaving. Debut at 17, Champions League winner by 19 and over 500 appearances over 16 years – not a bad record, eh?
He had extraordinary cat-like reflexes and was a man-mountain in between the sticks (despite only being 6ft). All hail ‘San Iker.”
Former Real Madrid teammate Steve McManaman once described Michel Salgado as “the hardest person in the world…a genuine psychopath, even in training.”
If you add that to his decade-long stint at Real, re-defining how a right-back should play and holding aloft four La Liga trophies and two Champions Leagues, he owns the right-back spot.
Much of Atlético’s resurgence can be filtered back to the steady foundations of Diego Godin, who matured into one of the world’s best centre-backs after joining from Villarreal in 2010.
Diego Simeone’s defensive management style blended seamlessly with Godin’s aggressive style of play, and he was also sold in the air and not afraid to get stuck in. Add in the surprise element of bursting through with the ball and he was borderline untouchable at times.
He really is like Marmite, Sergio. The master of the dark-arts, win-at-all-costs, ultimate sh*thouse. But he’s Real’s beloved sh*thouse.
A force of nature during his time at Madrid, Ramos has won a lot of trophies in the capital, and when the dust settles, he’ll be remembered as one of the best pound-for-pound central defenders in world football.
It’s pretty sad that there is a generation of football fans who won’t have seen Roberto Carlos don the all-white strip, because that left peg must be worth a fortune.
Former Real Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque once said, “Roberto Carlos can cover the entire [left] wing all on his own,” – indicative of just how attack minded he was. Then again, he didn’t often need to defend given the calibre of player around him, and boy could he hit a set piece.
The only thing that needs justifying here is the decision to put Ronaldo, one of the greatest left wingers and forwards of all time, out on the right.
Luckily, it’s a position he’s more than familiar with, and rather than giving a tired old opinion of why he’s so good, we’ll allow the late, great George Best to do the honours. “There have been a few players described as the new George Best over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me,” the Northern Irishman said.
Adelardo is plausibly Atlético’s best ever midfielder, holding the club record for appearances to this day with 551 – earned during a 17-year spell in the capital between 1959 and 1976.
One of the most complete midfielders, he combined skill, commitment, nous and a knack for goalscoring to stand head and shoulders above those who played alongside him.
It’s 2002, Zinedine Zidane’s only just balding and he’s sporting those gorgeous predators. Oh, when life was simple.
Not only was the Frenchman was a pure joy to watch, his ability to create space from nowhere seemed almost impossible. Wore his predator boots like two silk slippers, carefully moulded to his feet so he could pluck a ball straight from the clouds.
Paulo Futre became a bonafide legend at Atlético during his six seasons at the club, thanks to his explosive pace, insane dribbling skills and ability to twist and turn on a sixpence.
He even attained comparisons to Maradona, owing to their similar stature, and it was easy to see why he’s remembered as a generational talent in Portugal during the late 80s/early 90s.
Ferenc Puskás’ Real Madrid career unfortunately came before most people’s time, but the fact his legacy still stands is testament to how wonderful a player he was.
Joining Real Madrid in 1957 at the grand old age of 31, Puskás scored four-hat tricks in just his first season. He won La Liga five years in a row from 1961 to 1966, scoring a total of 82 goals over that period. Not surprising the most beautiful goal award is now named after him, eh?
Sometimes in life, things are just meant to be. You know, they just click. Fernando Torres was made for Atlético Madrid and Atlético Madrid was made for Fernando Torres.
Atlético’s prodigy, native son and folk hero played a total of 404 times for Los Rojiblancos and is a shining example of the notion that trophies aren’t everything, El Niño only won the Segunda División and the Europa League in Madrid, but that didn’t phase him one bit.