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Real Madrid's Galacticos v Ronaldo & the class of 2017


Sky Sports' La Liga expert Guillem Balague has partnered with Real Madrid's global partner Hankook to offer you a chance to win a trip to see El Clasico in May 2018.

If you can match Guillem's selection, you'll be entered into the prize draw with the chance to see Real Madrid take on Barcelona at the Nou Camp in May 2018, in which could be a crucial title decider!

Win a trip to El Clasico!
Win a trip to El Clasico!

Pick your ultimate Real Madrid XI and win a trip to see El Clasico in 2018 ! Click here to enter.

To help you with your selection, we thought we'd look at two of Madrid's greatest sides and see how they compare...


Madrid signed Zinedine Zidane from Juventus in the summer of 2001 for £47.2m, smashing the previous £30m world record transfer fee paid by Real for Luis Figo during the previous summer.

However, Real boss Vicente del Bosque and the 'Galácticos' failed to retain their La Liga crown, finishing third in the table - nine points adrift of champions Valencia.

Despite the domestic disappointment, Real lifted the Champions League trophy - their third in five seasons - beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at Hampden Park with Zidane netting the memorable match-winner.


In goal, Iker Casillas - having graduated from the youth ranks in spectacular fashion in 1999 - saw his position as first-choice keeper challenged by Brazilian Cesar Sanchez.

Cesar usurped Casillas over the latter half of the season and played in the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen. But it was the future Real captain that made the most appearances that year with 35 in all competitions, compared to the Brazilian's 25.

Among the most used players that season were full-backs Michel Salgado (52) and Roberto Carlos (47), in addition to captain Fernando Hierro (47) and centre-backs Francisco Pavon and Ivan Helguera (both 39).

In midfield, Claude Makelele made 48 appearances, followed by Figo (42), Guti (40) and Santiago Solari (40) - while Zidane took to the field on 33 occasions.

Steve McManaman of Real Madrid
Image: Steve McManaman made 38 appearances for Real Madrid in 2001/02

Former Liverpool winger Steve McManaman had signed for Madrid in 1999 and made 38 appearances that term, in what would be his penultimate season at the club before signing for Manchester City in 2003.

In attack, Real legend Raul was in his goal-scoring prime - netting 24 from 50 appearances. The Spaniard had graduated from Castilla in 1994 and proceeded to notch 228 goals from 550 senior appearances during a 16-year period at the Bernabeu before signing for Schalke in 2010.

Fernando Morientes partnered Raul up front with 22 goals from 47 appearances, while the next most used forward was Pedro Munitis who made 33 appearances - 22 as a substitute - and scored only three goals.

2001/02 APPS


In contrast to Real's domestic failings in 2002, the class of 2017 lifted the La Liga trophy and proceeded to conquer Europe with an emphatic 4-1 win over Juventus - winning a Champions League final for the second successive year.


And that success came under the stewardship of Real's former Galactico Zidane - who had replaced Rafael Benitez at the helm after only two years in management as head coach of Madrid's Castilla team.

Keylor Navas was the established first-choice goalkeeper, while defenders Marcelo (47 apps), Sergio Ramos (44 apps), Dani Carvajal (41), Nacho and Raphael Varane (both 39) all featured frequently during the season.

In midfield, Toni Kroos (48 apps), Casemiro, Isco (both 42) and Luca Modric (41 apps) were the favoured four, while Zidane also called upon the likes of Mateo Kovacic (39), Marco Ascensio (38) and James Rodriguez (33).

Isco, Real Madrid v Real Betis, September 2017
Image: Isco came to the fore last season and has been one of Real's standout players this term

Up front, the B-B-C strikeforce of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo was hampered by Bale's injury-plagued season.

However, Lucas Vazquez stepped up to the plate with a season-high 50 appearances and Alvaro Morata (43) also made an impact - having returned to the club after a spell at Juventus.

2016/17 APPS

Ronaldo won his second successive Ballon d'Or this year, having scored 42 goals for Real last season - including two in the Champions League final - more than twice the haul of Real's next top scorer Morata (20 goals).


In terms of comparisons between the two teams, the side of 2016/17 out-performed their predecessors in front of goal, scoring a remarkable 169 goals in all competitions - 106 in La Liga - compared with just 103 (69 in La Liga) during 2001/02.

Ultimately, the Galácticos of 2002 failed to retain the La Liga trophy with an underwhelming 66 points, while the class of 2017 claimed 93 en-route to being crowned champions last season.


Defensively, both sides were fairly matched, with Del Bosque's side conceding 44 in La Liga and Zidane's team shipping 41.

Real Madrid season-ending La Liga standings

01/02 19 9 10 69 44 66 3
16/17 29 6 3 106 41 93 1

But which players will make Guillem's combined XI?

See if you can match his selection and win yourself tickets to see Real Madrid take on Barcelona at the Nou Camp in May by submitting your votes here.

The closing date to make your selections is 23:59 on 31 December 2017. Full terms and conditions can be found on

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