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The 10 Best Real Madrid Right-Backs of All-Time

Updated: Apr 30

The 10 Best Real Madrid Right-Backs of All-Time
The 10 Best Real Madrid Right-Backs of All-Time

Ranking of the top 10 Right-Backs in Real Madrid's illustrious history.

The story of Real Madrid is one of triumph, fueled by the passion and dedication of its players throughout the years. From its inception as Madrid Football Club in 1900, later bestowed with the esteemed title of Real by King Alfonso XIII, to its ascent under the visionary leadership of Santiago Bernabéu, the right-back spot has been a crucial element in the club's pursuit of footballing excellence.

However, this article chronicles the top 10 right-backs, who contributed to the club's history.

10. Isidoro San José

Kicking off our list is Isidoro San José, a versatile defender, who joined Real Madrid's youth academy at age 12 and showcased his defensive skill during his tenure in the 1970s and 80s. He was known for his tenacity and tactical astuteness as he contributed to the team's success during his time at the club, including back-to-back UEFA Cups and the 1986 national championship in his last two years with Los Blancos.

9. Álvaro Arbeloa

Next up is Álvaro Arbeloa, who also joined Real Madrid's youth system from Real Zaragoza at age 18 and became known for his reliability and defensive solidity. After making his debut in 2004, he sealed a move to Liverpool in 2007 and returned to the Santiago Bernabéu two years later.

He spent most of his first season in his second stint as a left-back but later became a regular on the right side of the defence. Arbeloa's disciplined approach made him a valuable asset for Los Blancos, particularly under Jose Mourinho, where he was key in winning the 2012 La Liga title, which was their first in four years.

8. Christian Panucci

Christian Panucci earns the eighth spot on this list for his contributions to Real Madrid's defensive line during the late 1990s and early 2000s. With his defensive awareness and ability to support attacks, Panucci provided a formidable presence on the right flank, helping the team secure numerous victories.

He was the first Italian to play for Los Blancos, replacing Carlos Secretario with his excellent performances, and forming a highly aggressive fullback pairing with Brazilian star Roberto Carlos, who played on the left. Panucci played a significant role in Real Madrid's triumphs, winning La Liga in 1997 and the UEFA Champions League in 1998.

7. Manuel Torres

Manuel Torres, a stalwart of the Whites' defence in the 1950s, is revered for his solid tackling and positional awareness. Torres played a key role in the team's domestic and European success, cementing his legacy as one of the club's finest right-backs.

6. Marquitos

Marquitos, a member of the legendary Real Madrid squad that won five consecutive European Cups in the 1950s. His performances on the right side of defence were instrumental in establishing Real Madrid as a dominant force in European football. Additionally, he won six La Liga championships during his eight-year spell with the Spanish giants.

5. Ángel Atienza

Ángel Atienza, also known as Atienza II, earns his spot on this list for his contributions to Real Madrid during the 1950s. After a four-year stint at Real Zaragoza, Atienza became a reliable defender with a keen understanding of the game at the Santiago Bernabeu. He helped the Whites secure three league titles and several European Cups. After retiring from football, he pursued a full-time career as an artist, a passion he cultivated alongside his footballing career.

4. Dani Carvajal

Daniel Carvajal's inclusion in this list is a testament to his impact on Real Madrid's defence in the modern era. With his exceptional work rate, defensive solidity, and ability to join the attack, Carvajal has established himself as one of the best right-backs of his generation, contributing to the team's numerous domestic and European triumphs.

Regardless of his defensive role, Carvajal has shown remarkable goal-scoring prowess, chipping in with crucial strikes to aid Real Madrid's quest for success. As Los Blancos march towards their 36th La Liga title with only 8 games left to play in the 2023-24 season, Carvajal's defensively and offensively contributions continue to be instrumental.

3. Vicente Miera

In the third spot is Vicente Miera, who was predominantly a left-back but could play on the right flank and he was vital during the transition period between the iconic Real Madrid team that clinched five European Cup titles and the emergence of the 'Yeyé' Madrid era. Miera was reliable and contributed significantly as part of the squad that secured their sixth continental final victory against Partizan at the Heysel Stadium.

His intelligence, leadership, and impeccable defensive skills between 1961 and 1969 were next to none. Miera's remarkable achievements include multiple league titles and European Cup triumphs.

2. Chendo

Chendo [Miguel Porlan Chendo], a product of Real Madrid's youth academy, emerged as one of the finest right-backs of his generation. He had all the attributes of a top full-back, and played an integral role in the club's triumph during the 1980s and early 1990s, making 497 official matches and 140 friendlies for Los Blancos.

A standout moment in his career was when he effectively marked Maradona out of a European Cup game against Napoli in 1987. He spent 16 seasons at Los Blancos and retired in 1998, having won seven league titles, the Spanish Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, the UEFA Cup, and the European Cup.

1. Michel Salgado

Sitting at the top of our list is Michel Salgado. Salgado's relentless work ethic and fearless defending made him one of Real Madrid's greatest right-backs in history. Joining the team in 1999, he became a mainstay for over a decade, featuring in 371 matches.

Known for his physicality, tackling prowess, and attacking contributions, Salgado endeared himself to fans as he clinched four La Liga titles, 2 Champions League trophies, and numerous other accolades with Real Madrid. Throughout his time, he remained a fixture in the starting lineup under all his coaches, solidifying his status as the best right back to ever don the famous white jersey.

From the defensive resilience of Vicente Miera to the modern-day brilliance of Daniel Carvajal, each player on this list embodied the essence of determination and sacrifice. Through blood, sweat, and tears, these right-back greats have exemplified the spirit of Real Madrid.

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