The Most Famous

SOCCER PLAYERS from Spain

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This page contains a list of the greatest Spanish Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 16,923 Soccer Players, 860 of which were born in Spain. This makes Spain the birth place of the 4th most number of Soccer Players behind Brazil and United Kingdom.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Spanish Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous Spanish Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Spanish Soccer Players.

Photo of Santiago Bernabéu Yeste

1. Santiago Bernabéu Yeste (1895 - 1978)

With an HPI of 77.68, Santiago Bernabéu Yeste is the most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages on wikipedia.

Santiago Bernabéu de Yeste (Spanish pronunciation: [sanˈtjaɣo βeɾnaˈβew ˈʝeste]; 8 June 1895 – 2 June 1978) was a Spanish footballer who played for Real Madrid as a forward, and is one of the most important men in Real Madrid's history.He is generally considered the one to whom much of the credit can be given for transforming Real Madrid into one of the most successful football clubs in Spain and in Europe. The team's current stadium is named in his honour. He was the club's President for 35 years, from 11 September 1943 until his death in 1978.

Photo of Luis Suárez

2. Luis Suárez (1935 - )

With an HPI of 76.32, Luis Suárez is the 2nd most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Luis Suárez Miramontes (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlwis ˈswaɾeθ miɾaˈmontes]; born 2 May 1935) is a Spanish former footballer and manager. He played as a midfielder for Deportivo de La Coruña, España Industrial, FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, Sampdoria and the Spain national team. Suárez is regarded as one of greatest Spanish football players of all time. He was noted for his elegant, fluid, graceful style of play. Nicknamed El Arquitecto - The Architect - he was noted for his perceptive passing and explosive shot, and in 1960, he became the only Spanish-born player to win the Ballon d'Or. In 1964 he helped Spain win the European Championship. Suárez originally achieved prominence as a creative inside forward, or attacking midfielder in modern terms, for the great Barcelona team of the 1950s before he joined Inter Milan where he reached his prime as deep-lying playmaker for the legendary Grande Inter team of the 1960s. He played a pivotal role in the success of Herrera's Inter Milan side, and was one of the primary creative forces in the squad, due to his skill on the ball, vision, and passing range. He retired as a player in 1973, after three seasons at Sampdoria. Suárez subsequently began a career as a coach and has managed Inter Milan on three occasions, the last two on a caretaker basis. Suárez has also coached both Spain U21s and the senior Spain team. He was in charge of the latter for 27 games and led them to the second round of the 1990 World Cup. He has also coached several Italian and Spanish club sides. He is currently a scout for Inter Milan.

Photo of Francisco Gento

3. Francisco Gento (1933 - )

With an HPI of 75.26, Francisco Gento is the 3rd most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Francisco Gento López (born 21 October 1933), usually referred as Paco Gento, is a former Spanish football player, who played as a left winger. Gento began his career at Racing Santander in 1952 and moved to Real Madrid the following season. He appeared in a joint record eight European Cup finals, winning a record six, as well as winning 12 La Liga titles. In a 14-year international career, Gento earned 43 caps for Spain, playing at the World Cup in 1962 and 1966. Following the death of Alfredo Di Stéfano, Gento was appointed as the Honorary President of Real Madrid.

Photo of Ricardo Zamora

4. Ricardo Zamora (1901 - 1978)

With an HPI of 74.52, Ricardo Zamora is the 4th most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Ricardo Zamora Martínez (Spanish pronunciation: [riˈkaɾðo θaˈmoɾa maɾˈtineθ]; 14 February 1901 – 8 September 1978) was a Spanish footballer and manager. He played as a goalkeeper for, among others, RCD Espanyol, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. As an international he played for both the Catalan XI and Spain. As a manager, he won two La Liga titles with Atlético Aviación and briefly managed Spain. Zamora, nicknamed El Divino, was noted for wearing a cloth cap and a white polo-neck jumper on the field, a look later copied by several of his contemporaries. He claimed it was to protect him from both the sun and his opponents. As a goalkeeper, he was primarily known for his athleticism, quick reflexes, shot-stopping abilities, large frame, and bravery in goal. In 1929 while playing for Spain against England, he carried on playing despite breaking his sternum. Spain won the game 4–3, becoming the first team from outside the British Isles to defeat England. Zamora is also remembered for a spectacular last minute save he made in the 1936 Copa del Presidente de la República Final while playing for Real Madrid against FC Barcelona. Regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation, along with Gianpiero Combi and František Plánička, as well as one of the greatest of all time, in 1999, the IFFHS elected him the best Spanish goalkeeper – as well as the fourth best in Europe and fifth best overall – of the twentieth century; in the same year, he was voted one of the greatest players of the 20th century by World Soccer magazine. The award for the best goalkeeper in La Liga, the Ricardo Zamora Trophy, is named in his honour. Zamora was also Spain's most capped player for 45 years until being surpassed by José Ángel Iribar.Zamora was also the subject of controversy throughout his career. He allegedly enjoyed drinking Cognac and smoking up to three packs of cigarettes a day. During the 1920 Olympic Games he was sent off against Italy after punching an opponent and on the way back from the same tournament he was arrested, imprisoned and fined for attempting to smuggle Havana cigars. In 1922 he was suspended for a year when he lied to the tax authorities about the signing on fee he received when he returned to RCD Espanyol. He also received 40,000 pesetas of the 150,000 peseta fee that took him from Espanyol to Real Madrid.Zamora's ostensible political allegiances were also the subject of debate and controversy. Despite playing regularly for the Catalan XI, he was accused of rejecting Catalan nationalism. In 1934, he was awarded an Order of the Republic medal by his namesake Niceto Alcalá-Zamora, president of the Second Spanish Republic, while during the Spanish Civil War he was exploited by Nationalist propagandists and he played in a benefit game for their cause. During the 1950s he was awarded the Great Cross of the Order of Cisneros by the Franco regime.He died in 1978 and is interred in the Montjuïc Cemetery in Barcelona.

Photo of Miguel Muñoz

5. Miguel Muñoz (1922 - 1990)

With an HPI of 72.81, Miguel Muñoz is the 5th most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Miguel Muñoz Mozún (19 January 1922 – 16 July 1990) was a Spanish football player and manager. A midfielder, he spent the majority of his career at Real Madrid before going on to coach the club, where he is widely considered one of the most successful and greatest managers in football history, leading the team to two European Cup victories and nine La Liga titles (winning seven major titles in both major competitions combined as a player). Muñoz later had a six-year coaching spell with the Spain national team, and led them to the final of Euro 1984.

Photo of Quique Setién

6. Quique Setién (1958 - )

With an HPI of 72.00, Quique Setién is the 6th most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Enrique "Quique" Setién Solar (Spanish pronunciation: [enˈrike seˈtjen soˈlaɾ]; born 27 September 1958) is a Spanish football manager and former player who played as a central midfielder. As a player, he was nicknamed El Maestro, and was best known for his two spells with Racing de Santander, starting and finishing his 19-year professional career at the club. Over 15 seasons in La Liga, he played 374 matches and scored 58 goals. He also won three international caps for Spain. Setién started a managerial career in 2001, going on to coach several teams including Racing. Starting in January 2020, he was in charge of Barcelona for seven months, being dismissed following an 8–2 loss against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

Photo of Telmo Zarra

7. Telmo Zarra (1921 - 2006)

With an HPI of 71.72, Telmo Zarra is the 7th most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Pedro Telmo Zarraonandía Montoya (20 January 1921 – 23 February 2006), known as Telmo Zarra or simply Zarra (Basque: [ˈs̻ara], Spanish: [ˈθara]), was a Spanish football forward. He spent the majority of his career at Athletic Bilbao, from 1940 to 1955, for whom he remains the top scorer in competitive matches with 335 goals.Zarra signed for Athletic after playing one season for Erandio. He became a prolific goalscorer in his 15 seasons at the club, winning the Pichichi Trophy as the highest scorer in La Liga on six occasions. During his career, Zarra scored a total of 251 league goals, a Spanish record that lasted nearly six decades before being broken by Lionel Messi. His 81 goals in the Copa del Rey remain a record.Despite his goalscoring records, he only played for Spain 20 times. Even so, he still managed to score 20 goals, including four in one match as Spain beat Switzerland 6–3 on 18 February 1951. He also scored his country's winning goal against England in the 1950 World Cup finals as Spain reached the final four—their best performance in the competition until winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup 60 years later. After leaving Athletic in 1955, he played for one year with SD Indautxu and another with Barakaldo CF before retiring. He died of a heart attack on 24 February 2006, aged 85. The Zarra Trophy for the highest-scoring Spaniard in La Liga is awarded in his memory.

Photo of Iker Casillas

8. Iker Casillas (1981 - )

With an HPI of 69.97, Iker Casillas is the 8th most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 88 different languages.

Iker Casillas Fernández (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈikeɾ kaˈsiʎas feɾˈnandeθ]; born 20 May 1981) is a Spanish retired professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. Popularly dubbed "San Iker" ("Saint Iker") for his ability to produce spectacular saves, Casillas is widely considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. He is known for his athleticism, quick reactions and outstanding shot-stopping ability. Having spent the majority of his career at Real Madrid, Casillas is one of the few players to achieve over 1000 professional career matches, and holds the record for the most clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League, as well as for the Spain national team. At club level, Casillas started his career with the Real Madrid youth team, eventually gaining promotion to the main team in 1999, where he became the youngest goalkeeper to play in the final of the Champions League, and to win the title, at 19 years and four days. Casillas became the first choice goalkeeper at Real Madrid, winning two Champions Leagues and La Liga titles in his first three seasons, establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. During his highly successful career in Madrid, Casillas won all major club titles, including five La Liga titles, four Supercopa de España titles, two Copa del Rey titles, three UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. After 25 years with Real Madrid, Casillas joined FC Porto in 2015 on a free transfer, where he won the Primeira Liga and a Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira title. While at Porto, he broke the record for most consecutive seasons played in the UEFA Champions League (20) and amassed the most appearances in the competition (177). He ended his playing career in February 2020, after almost a year on the sidelines following a heart attack he suffered during a training session with Porto in May 2019. With 167 international caps, Casillas has the second most appearances for the Spain national team, making him the joint tenth-most capped footballer of all time. An unused substitute at UEFA Euro 2000, Casillas became the nation's first choice goalkeeper at the 2002 World Cup, and went on to play at UEFA Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. In 2008, he was made captain, and went on to lead the team to the European Championship title that year. Casillas also led Spain to their first World Cup win in 2010, where he kept a joint–record five clean sheets, winning the Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Spain became the first nation to retain the European Championship, winning the title again in 2012, where he set the record for most consecutive minutes without conceding a goal in the competition (509). In 2014, Casillas became one of four players to represent Spain at four World Cups. In 2008, Casillas placed fourth overall in the Ballon d'Or, and has been selected for the UEFA Team of the Year six consecutive times from 2007 to 2012, a record for a goalkeeper. Casillas was also selected in the FIFPro World XI a record five times for a goalkeeper, and was named as the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper a record five times, alongside Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer. He was named as the second best goalkeeper of the 21st century, behind Buffon, and the second best goalkeeper of the past 25 years by the same organisation.

Photo of Carles Puyol

9. Carles Puyol (1978 - )

With an HPI of 69.86, Carles Puyol is the 9th most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 73 different languages.

Carles Puyol Saforcada (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈkaɾles puˈjɔl safoɾˈkaða]; born 13 April 1978) is a Spanish retired professional footballer who played his entire career for Barcelona. He mainly played as a central defender, but he could also play in either full-back position, mostly as a right-back. Praised for his leadership and defensive qualities, he is widely regarded as one of the best captains and defenders in the history of the sport.He was Barcelona's captain from August 2004 until his retirement in 2014, and appeared in 593 competitive matches for the club. He won 18 major club titles, including six La Liga trophies and three Champions Leagues. Puyol won 100 caps for Spain, and was part of the squads that won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. In the 2010 World Cup semi-final, he scored the only goal of the game against Germany.

Photo of Carles Rexach

10. Carles Rexach (1947 - )

With an HPI of 69.58, Carles Rexach is the 10th most famous Spanish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Carles Rexach i Cerdà (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈkaɾləz rəˈʃak]; born 13 January 1947) is a Spanish former football winger and manager. His career was mainly associated to Barcelona, spending 44 years at the club as a player (youth levels included) and coach. He formed a successful partnership with Johan Cruyff, both on and off the field, and as a player appeared in 638 games and scored 197 goals, winning the Pichichi Trophy in 1971; he won a combined eight titles both capacities combined, including the La Liga championship in the 1973–74 season and the 1979 Cup Winners' Cup. Rexach appeared for Spain at the 1978 World Cup, earning 15 caps in nine years.

Pantheon has 860 people classified as soccer players born between 1885 and 2002. Of these 860, 767 (89.19%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Luis Suárez, Francisco Gento, and Quique Setién. The most famous deceased soccer players include Santiago Bernabéu Yeste, Ricardo Zamora, and Miguel Muñoz. As of October 2020, 157 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Goyo Benito, Juan Alonso, and Joaquim Rifé.

Living Soccer Players

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Deceased Soccer Players

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Newly Added Soccer Players (2020)

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Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.