Real Madrid first Galacticos where are they?

La Liga By: Iseghohi Odianosen | 10/04/2017

The term Galacticos is now a word famous in the world of football to describe either a superstar signing or a transfer for an exorbitant price. It is commonly used for every big signing Real Madrid makes during transfer windows, we need to go back to the year 2000 when Florentino Perez became the club president for the first time.

Perez ushered in the first Galacticos era during his reign between 2000 and 2006. Galactico in Spanish implies superstars, thereby referring to the top players in the world signed by Madrid. Perez brought in a second wave of Galacticos during his second spell that began in 2009 and is still going strong. Players such as Kaka from AC Milan, Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, Karim Benzema from Lyon, and Modric from Tottenham, Gareth Bale from Tottenham, James from Monaco and so on.

We take a look of the first set of Galacticos

Luis Figo

The Portuguese is the first Galacticos signed by Perez for Madrid. Figo was one of the greatest players of his generation, the Portuguese became the first Galactico when signed for Madrid from arch-rivals Barcelona in 2000. It was one of the shock transfers at the time and it starts the beginning of the Galacticos. He won the La Liga and the Champions League with Madrid before finishing his playing career at Inter Milan in 2009.

One of the best attacking players to play the game, Figo is currently popularising football in India through the futsal route as he is the head of the Premier Futsal League in the Asian country. He had also put his name up previously to contest for the position of FIFA president in 2015, before dropping out eventually. He has recently stated that he will enter coaching one day, but not at the moment while he is busy being the face of futsal in India.


Raul Gonzalez is a Madridista through and through and signed his first professional contract with Real Madrid at the young age of 17 in 1994. He kicked on from then to play for 16 seasons including captaining the side from 2003 to 2010.

Raul is a home grown Galactico.

He holds the record for making the highest number of appearances for Real Madrid (741 appearances) and is considered to be one of their greatest players of all time and a Galactico who came through the ranks.

A natural striker, Raul scored 323 goals for Madrid and is the second-highest goal scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo and was the top scorer for Spain as well till his retirement. He finished his career with spells at Schalke, Al Sadd and New York Cosmos in 2015. Since his retirement, he has worked as a La Liga ambassador and is joining his boyhood club in an advisory rule from July 1st this year.


Casillas graduated from the Madrid youth system and was considered a Galactico as he was a part of the team at that time. However, his achievements since then have ensured that he will be remembered as one. Casillas is a home grown Galactico just like Raul.

A legendary career that saw him win three Champions League titles with Real Madrid, along with leading Spain to international success that includes a World Cup and two Euro wins, Casillas is not only one of the most successful but also one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

Nicknamed “San Iker” for his ability to make insane saves, a civil war with Jose Mourinho during the latter’s time at the club from 2010-2013 soured things and eventually Casillas moved to Portuguese club FC Porto, where he continues to ply his trade. He set a major record recently in March by becoming the player with most appearances in European club matches with 175, crossing AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini’s record.


The player who defined the attacking left-back/wing-back role in the sport, Roberto Carlos joined Real Madrid in 1996 much before the dawn of the Galacticos era in 2000. However, he went on to become a huge part of that team with his pace, explosiveness and delivery in attack and is especially known for his thunderbolts and outrageous free-kicks, earning him the nickname el hombre bala, the bullet man.

Roberto Carlos won three Champions League titles with Real Madrid and won the World Cup in 2002 with Brazil. He finished his playing career with spells at Fenerbahce, Corinthians and Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia where he took over caretaker duties as well for a brief period.

He later returned in 2015 as a player-coach for Delhi Dynamos in ISL in India. Recently, he was among the 91 foreign coaches who applied for the vacant managerial position of the Ghana football team, which was ultimately given to James Kwesi Appiah.



David Beckham was one of the last arrivals in the first set of Galacticos as he joined in 2003 from Manchester United, where he had a successful career including a Champions League win in 1999. The Englishman was as famous for his wand of a right foot, using which he has created and scored some of the best goals in football, as he was known for being a fashion icon and one of the most popular players in the world.

Beckham left Madrid in 2007 and played for MLS side LA Galaxy with loan spells at AC Milan and finally retired after a short stint at Paris Saint-Germain in 2013. He currently owns an MLS team based out of Miami, that is yet to take off, as a part of the MLS expansion plan.

Beckham was given this option when he signed for LA Galaxy and he exercised it in 2014. Further, he is a UNICEF ambassador, thereby doing a good amount of humanitarian work as well apart from being a celebrity.


Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima or Ronaldo is one of the greatest strikers to ever play the game and enjoyed successful spells with his clubs as well as for Brazil, with whom he won the World Cup in 2002.

He joined Madrid right after and was one of their best players for the first few years before injuries and weight issues robbed him of his pace and tricks. Nicknamed Il Phenomeno by the Italian media, Ronaldo was a terrifying prospect for the opposition with his phenomenal ability to create opportunities out of nothing and score goals.

After spells with AC Milan and Corinthians, he retired in 2011 and currently works as a United Nations ambassador for the Match against Poverty initiative where he takes part in matches to raise funds for developmental projects. Further, he was one of the six ambassadors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup as well.


The player who epitomises what it means to be a Galactico more than any other player, Zinedine Zidane known as the French magician, was the best player in the world in early 2000s and one of the greatest ever players to grace the sport.

Zidane was signed for a record transfer fee of about €75 million in 2001 from Juventus and held the record till Kaka broke it in 2009 when he joined the second set of Galacticos.

His goal in the 2002 Champions League final is regarded one of the best goals ever seen and Zidane won the FIFA World Cup with France in 1998. The French attacker started his coaching career in 2014 when he was appointed as the manager of Madrid’s B team, Real Madrid Castilla assistant to Carlo Ancelotti before took over the first team last January.