It may surprise to learn that only seven British players have ever worn the famous white of Real Madrid, with Jude Bellingham becoming the eighth on joining Los Blancos this summer for a whopping 103 million euros.

In due course, the tremendous teen will surely make his mark at the Bernabeu, very possibly finding himself lauded one day as the greatest from our shores to light up the Spanish capital.

For now though, the all-time top five looks like this…

5) Caroline Weir

It was a toss-up between the former Manchester City star and Michael Owen for fifth spot, with each having excelled across a single season for Real.

Crucially though, while Owen got homesick and swiftly transferred to Newcastle, Weir is loving life in Spain, having won the club’s Player of the Year in her inaugural campaign.

One of only two players in Liga F to reach double figures for both goals and assists, the Scot ultimately accrued 31 goal involvements in 2022/23, a strike against City in the Champions League a particular stand-out.

No doubt Barcelona will remain strong favourites in the sports betting for next term, due to their long-standing dominance, but Real are getting closer all the time.

That’s partly down to making shrewd signings such as their free capture of Weir.

4) Laurie Cunningham 

The ridiculously gifted winger would be a stonewall legend at the Bernabeu were it not for a serious injury that curtailed an otherwise successful five-year stint.

Joining for close to a million pounds from West Brom in 1979 he scored twice on his debut and having won Spanish hearts and minds, proceeded to torment full-backs on 44 occasions, once receiving an unprecedented standing ovation at Camp Nou.

Alas, two seasons in, a thigh injury was exacerbated by a knee problem and a player who was nothing but a joy to watch became a peripheral figure as Real – and Barcelona – made a mockery of the La Liga betting by failing to win a title for four consecutive years.

3) David Beckham 

Beckham’s blockbuster move in 2003 was pitched as the ultimate Galactico signing but the midfielder surprised many in Madrid with his application and ability, proving himself anew as a superstar on the pitch first and foremost.

It no doubt helped to be surrounded by a glittering array of magnificent talent, from the original Ronaldo to Figo; from Zinedine Zidane to Raul, but despite all of these modern-day legends all the free-kick maestro had to show after four years in Madrid was a single league title.

Regularly falling short in Europe too, Beckham’s adventures overseas pale to his trophy-laden era at Manchester United, when the Reds ruled the Premier League odds on an annual basis. 

2) Steve McManaman 

Displaying versatility, perseverance and a good dose of flair, ‘Macca’ quickly ingratiated himself to the Madrid faithful, scoring a spectacular volley in a Champions League final to cap an impressive first season. 

Another Champions League triumph followed two years later and along with two league titles, a Supercopa de España, and an Intercontinental Cup it was unquestionably a bountiful period for both club and player.

The perseverance manifested itself early into his tenure, when the club bafflingly decided to move him on. McManaman refused, doubled down on his efforts, and emphatically won over his doubters.

1) Gareth Bale 

Madridistas may not like it, that a player who supposedly put his country and golf ahead of Los Blancos in his affections is the greatest British player to adorn their shirt. But it is incontestable. 

How can it not be, when Bale scored in three Champions League finals, his first against Liverpool in 2018 the kind of acrobatic volley usually seen in comics, not actual real life. 

All told, the Welsh phenomenon bagged 81 goals, and won so much silverware the club presumably had to double their order for polish across nine highly successful years.


Stephen Tudor is a freelance football writer and sports enthusiast who only knows slightly less about the beautiful game than you do.

A contributor to FourFourTwo and Forbes, he is a Manchester City fan who was taken to Maine Road as a child because his grandad predicted they would one day be good.