Top 10 Most Underrated Real Madrid Players Of The 21st Century

Real Madrid: a name synonymous with soccer royalty. But even in a team glittering with stars, some gems are less visible. Think you know all the legends who’ve donned the white jersey? Think again.

We’re about to spotlight the unsung heroes whose boots have graced the Bernabeu turf but not the headlines. Intrigued? Keep reading to find out who these overlooked maestros are.

10. Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema has consistently shown his value to Real Madrid with his numerous contributions. Even though he may not always get the recognition he deserves, there’s no denying his instrumental role in many of the team’s 21st-century triumphs.

Benzema’s steady stream of goals and knack for creating golden opportunities for his teammates is a testament to his offensive dynamism.

His commendable work ethic, often overlooked, is evident in his relentless pressure on defenders and tireless attempts to reclaim possession.

Benzema can also adapt to a variety of tactical approaches, making him a critical asset to the diverse strategies employed by multiple coaches over the years.

His unwavering dedication and consistent performance in achieving club objectives are a clear indication of his commitment to the team.

It’s these qualities that truly emphasize why Benzema deserves more acknowledgment for his invaluable role at Real Madrid.

The spotlight should also shine on another key player, defender Raphael Varane. His contributions are just as significant, and his story is another that’s worth telling in the annals of Real Madrid’s history.

9. Raphael Varane

While Raphael Varane has been part of numerous victorious teams, his contributions to soccer are often undersold. This French defender, celebrated for his speed and technical abilities, has been a cornerstone at Real Madrid since 2011.

His four Champions League titles bear testament to his consistent performance and his knack for shining under pressure, both vital elements to the club’s triumphs.

Yet, the limelight often falls on more flamboyant players, leaving Varane’s subtle defensive mastery unnoticed due to its absence of spectacle compared to scoring goals.

Further, his role in keeping defensive lines balanced is crucial, but underappreciated. It’s these quiet performances, like Varane’s, that can be truly appreciated when one has a thorough understanding of the subtle intricacies of soccer.

8. Keylor Navas

Turning our attention to Keylor Navas, the brilliance of this Costa Rican goalkeeper is evident in his exceptional shot-stopping abilities and decision-making prowess. His agility and quick reflexes have time and again marked the line between triumph and loss for Real Madrid.

Between 2014 and 2019, Navas played a pivotal role in Real Madrid’s glory, helping the team clinch three consecutive Champions League titles – a record that stands tall in modern football history.

Yet, there is a tendency to overlook Navas when discussing the most influential players of Real Madrid in the 21st century.

This could be due to the constant competition for his position from other high-profile players. But an unbiased evaluation confirms that Navas’s contribution to Real Madrid’s success during his time with the team is irrefutable.

7. Dani Carvajal

When discussing Dani Carvajal, one cannot ignore his outstanding contributions as a right-back, significantly strengthening the defense of his team. This Spanish footballer, over time, has become an integral part of Real Madrid.

His careful tackles and precise crosses have frequently swung games in the team’s favor. Although his work may be overshadowed by more high-profile players in the club, the importance of Carvajal’s efforts cannot be disputed.

A glance at his statistics shows a high rate of interceptions and successful challenges per game, highlighting his defensive prowess.

His quickness and endurance enable him to actively engage in both attack and defense strategies, optimizing his performance on the pitch. This multitasking ability makes him a versatile player, capable of adapting to various situations during a match.

Carvajal’s commitment, coupled with his tactical understanding of the game, has enriched Real Madrid’s performance. His consistent contributions often prove critical in turning the tide of a match, making him an invaluable asset to the team.

6. Lucas Vazquez

Lucas Vazquez, a renowned Spanish soccer player, has shown remarkable talent as a winger, greatly boosting the offensive strength of his team.

His quickness and nimbleness have been key in breaching defensive barriers, setting up scoring chances for his teammates.

Beyond this, Vazquez’s strategic intelligence allows him to switch roles on the pitch effectively and adjust to different game plans. His adaptability has made him an irreplaceable asset for Real Madrid.

However, his efforts often go unnoticed in the shadow of more high-profile team members. A comprehensive analysis of match data and player performance indicates that Vazquez’s reliable performance in high-stakes situations contributes greatly to Real Madrid’s triumphs.

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5. Casemiro

Transitioning from the offensive flair of Lucas Vazquez, the spotlight now shines on a player who has been fundamental in sustaining balance in Real Madrid’s midfield: Carlos Henrique Casemiro.

This Brazilian midfielder often plays in the shadows of his more ostentatious teammates but should be lauded for his significant contributions.

Casemiro, a steadfast pillar of stability, is recognized for his defensive expertise and tactical discipline. His skills have been key in strengthening Madrid’s midfield against some of the toughest opponents.

Casemiro’s talent for disrupting play, intercepting passes and igniting attacks underlines his vital role in the team’s structure.

An interesting aspect of his game is his knack for scoring decisive goals. This surprising element further amplifies his indispensable presence on the field. However, he is often underappreciated within the discourse of Real Madrid’s influential players this century.

4. Guti

Shining a light on a less-celebrated yet deeply influential figure, José María Gutiérrez Hernández, popularly known as Guti, is worthy of recognition for his contributions to soccer.

This Spanish midfielder committed himself to Real Madrid from 1995 to 2010 and had a significant role in securing numerous titles for the team.

His technical skills were exceptional – a refined first touch, unmatched field vision, and a tendency for providing assists made him indispensable. However, these inherent qualities often found themselves overshadowed by other high-profile players of the time.

Moving on to discuss Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior’s impact on Real Madrid will further emphasize how some individuals’ contributions do not receive the attention they merit, even with their significant roles.

3. Marcelo

Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior, known simply as Marcelo, is a Brazilian footballer who has significantly impacted Spanish football. His exceptional skills and strategic play have greatly enhanced his team’s performance.

Since 2007, up until 2022, Marcelo has held the left-back position for Real Madrid, where his high-level technical abilities are often more noticeable than his defensive contributions.

Marcelo’s precision passing and adroit dribbling skills set him apart from typical defenders. His ability to initiate plays from deep positions provides a unique aspect to Real Madrid’s offensive strategy.

Although Marcelo’s impact is substantial, he often goes unnoticed due to the common expectations of a defender’s role.

However, by evaluating his influence on games and the success of the team, it’s evident that Marcelo is one of Real Madrid’s most underappreciated players in recent times.

2. Angel Di Maria

Argentine footballer, Angel Di Maria, has certainly carved an impressionable niche in the world of soccer with his distinctive skills and well-thought-out game strategies.

Having been an integral part of Real Madrid from 2010 to 2014, Di Maria’s influence was a key factor in the team’s winning streak. His inventiveness in midfield helped him to construct opportunities for scoring and outsmart opposition defences.

Although his efforts often went unnoticed due to the limelight being hogged by his more famous teammates like Ronaldo and Bale, it never deterred Di Maria from consistently delivering top-notch performance.

His gameplay stood out for his extraordinary speed, ability to dribble effectively and precise delivery from wide positions – essential characteristics of a successful winger.

Although he may not have been in the spotlight as much as his other teammates during his stint with Real Madrid, it’s undeniable that Di Maria played a vital role in sculpting their triumphant campaigns.

Consequently, it’s only fair that he is considered one of the most underappreciated players of this century.

1. Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil’s tenure at Real Madrid was nothing short of poetic. From 2010 to 2013, this German midfielder orchestrated plays that were the stuff of legends.

His vision was so acute that he could spot a run from a teammate before even they knew they were going to make it. Yet, when fans reminisce about the greats who’ve graced the Bernabeu, Ozil’s name is often left out.

Why the oversight? Perhaps it’s because he shared the field with titans like Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso. But make no mistake, Ozil was the linchpin that often made the team tick.

His stats speak volumes: 81 assists and 27 goals during his time at Real Madrid. Those aren’t just numbers; they’re a testament to his influence on the pitch.

Ozil’s exit in 2013 to join Arsenal was a complex affair, influenced by disagreements with then-manager Jose Mourinho. But those three years in Madrid? Pure magic. He was the silent genius in a team of extroverted stars, the guy who set the stage for others to shine.

So, if you’re a Madridista looking back at the club’s recent history, don’t skip over Mesut Ozil. His contributions were as vital as they were brilliant, and they deserve to be celebrated.

Manuel Esposito

Hello everyone! My name is Manuel and I've recently got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science at the University of Portsmouth. I'm raised and born in New York, and I've been a big fan of soccer my whole life. Soccer is the reason why I got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science, and my goal with this blog is to help you improve your soccer techniques, strategies, and knowledge!

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