Over the coming days, leading Spanish journalists and football experts will be giving their best team of all time in this newspaper, to try and pin down the 11 greatest players to have ever graced a football pitch. Once all 11 teams have been named, a final will be drawn up, based on which players were included the most times across all the sides.
Dani Garrido's XI
Goalkeeper: José Ángel Iribar
The Bilbao born goalkeeper is synonymous with Athletic Club. 'El Txopo' as he was known played in over 600 official games for the San Mames outfit winning two Spanish cups as well as the Zamora Trophy in the 1969/70 campaign. Iker Casillas has stated that Iribar is one of the "greatest Spanish goalkeepers of all time". After retiring from the game, Iribar moved into management where he oversaw both the Athletic Club first and second teams. The 77-year-old is now involved in Basque politics.
Right back: Paolo Maldini
Central defender: Sergio Ramos
Left-back: Roberto Carlos
Central midfielder: Andrés Iniesta
Born in La Coruña, it was during his spell with FC Barcelona that Suárez established himself as a major talent with his elegant and graceful manner of playing the game. His 61 goals in 122 games for the Catalan side secured a move to the "Grande Inter" team of the 1960s and was a success with the Milanese giants winning three Serie A titles and two European Cups with the 'nerazzurri'. Suarez moved into management and has overseen the likes of Inter, Sampdoria, Deportivo la Coruña along with a spell as Spanish national team manager in the late 80s.
Attacking midfielder: Diego Maradona
Attacking midfielder: Lionel Messi
The other half of the individual duopoly that has dominated men’s football over the past 15 years or so, Messi has plundered an eye-watering, club-record 648 goals for Barcelona since his first-team debut in 2004 - including 455 in LaLiga, more than any other player - and has helped the Catalans to four Champions Leagues and no fewer than 10 Spanish titles. Winner of an unprecedented six Ballons d’Or, 'La Pulga' is also the Argentina national team’s all-time leading marksman with 71 goals.
Attacking midfielder: Zinedine Zidane
Zidane’s majestic volley in Real Madrid’s 2002 Champions League final win may well be the greatest goal ever scored in the fixture (although a certain Welshman might disagree). A Ballon d’Or winner once and a FIFA World Player of the Year winner thrice, ‘Zizou’ was the undoubted star of the France team that won Les Bleus’ first ever World Cup in 1998, heading in two goals in a 3-0 demolition of Brazil in the final. His next appearance in the World Cup's showcase match was less successful, however.