2019/20, though successful so far, has placed Real Madrid in a strange place. Its the same place they found themselves last season and probably will find themselves quite often over the coming years until another generational talent comes around and fills the void. That place and void is that the club is notably short on goals. Across club history, there have been short intervals where Real were waiting on a brilliant goalscorer to fill the mantle of a recently retired talent and, outside of Karim Benzema, the club appears to be back in that hole again after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
To visualise this tradition of one generational goalscorer succeeding another at the club, I’ve made a horse race chart of Real Madrid top 10 all time top goalscorers from Afredo Di Stefano’s first season at the club to the end of the last campaign. Its LaLiga goals as the most reliable season by season data I could get only had that data for league goals. I will do a European version one if this goes down well. The video is linked below as well as a few of my own observations and some short profiles of a few unfamiliar names that populate the list. Enjoy.
- Pre-Di Stefano Real Madrid was a pretty grim place in terms of goalscorers. Only one player breaking the century mark and, among the top ten, only three players played the 1953/54 season (Luis Molowny, Roque Olsen and Sanudo).
- Alfredo Di Stefano was Real Madrid’s top goalscorer of all time inside his fifth season at the club, he held that position quite comfortably for half a century. In a vacuum, 216 goals in 11 seasons is an impressive feat regardless of the era, however, Di Stefano’s achievement also firmly stood the test of time and has only been overtaken by one of Real Madrid’s greatest servants (Raul) and one of the greatest finishers of all time (Ronaldo).
- You’ll see towards the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s that Pirri’s name begins to rise up the ranks. It should be noted that the highest tally Pirri hit for a single season was 13 and he played across the pitch during his career. His 123 tally speaks to a remarkable consistency across his 16 seasons at the club
- My favourite part of this graph is that it perfectly captures the storm of Hugo Sanchez. Himself, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alfredo Di Stefano were generational goalscorers and probably the best the club has ever seen.
As it would be quite unproductive (and in some cases unnecessary) to write a profile for every player that featured on this list, I have gone with relative unknowns with notable achievements for the club.
The Spanish forward played for Real Madrid between 1948 to 1952. He was among the best strikers in Spain during the 1940s and often the lone bright spot in a rather miserable Real Madrid team. In 1951–52, he won his second career Pichichi with 28 goals. He was just the second player in club history to win the award and the first in two decades. He left for Deportivo when Santiago Bernabeu refused to give into his contract demands. “It was a shame not to be able to play with Pahíño,” Di Stefano famously said about Pahiño, “because together we would have scored a heap of goals”.
Started up front for Real Madrid’s first title winning side and scored Los Blancos first ever goal in LaLiga against Europa (he scored a further three for good measure in a 5-0 win). He was also one of the first players to cross the derby divide, finishing his career at Atletico Madrid in 1935-36.
Molowny was coming towards the end of his career when Di Stefano arrived on the scene. He joined the club in 1946 and was a mildly prolific goalscorer from midfield until his retirement in 1957. He’s most well known for being among Real Madrid’s most successful managers with eight trophies across four stints at the club. Himself and Zinedine Zidane are the only managers to have managed Real Madrid more than once.
Luis Regueiro was a Basque striker that started in a front three during Real Madrid’s first LaLiga title victory. He played with Real from 1931 until the Spanish Civil War when he and his brother, Pedro, toured the world with a team of Basque players in attempt to raise money for the Republican war cause. When Franco’s army won the war, Reguiero stayed in America and finished his playing career in Mexico.
Given his prolific scoring, its a surprise that Carlos Santillana isn’t a more celebrated player. Bought by Miguel Munoz in 1971 aged just 19. Santillana wasn’t techncially gifted, however, he was committed, physical and was stunning header of the ball. In April 1973, Santillana was hit hard in the kidneys in a game against Espanyol. When he was x-rayed, doctors discovered both his kidneys were on the same side of his body. Santillana was a member of the Remontada generation and scored in famous comebacks against Derby and Inter Milan, his last game and goal won Real Madrid the 1987/88 league title.