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By ESPN Staff

Real Madrid - Squad Profiles

Iker Casillas (goalkeeper)
Born: 20.05.81
Nationality: Spanish

Casillas

The Spanish No.1 at the World Cup during the summer, he was the hero of the second round win against the Republic of Ireland as he made crucial saves in the penalty shoot-out.

Casillas burst onto the scene as Real Madrid claimed Champions League glory in 2000 and was at the heart of the Spanish giants success as they reclaimed the crown last season. Athletic and dynamic, he is a fine shot stopper and shows excellent judgment for such a young player.


Group A: Barcelona | Bayer Leverkusen | Inter Milan | Newcastle
Group B: Ajax Amsterdam | Arsenal | AS Roma | Valencia
Group C: AC Milan | Borussia Dortmund | L Moscow | Real Madrid
Group D: Basle | Deportivo | Juventus | Manchester Utd

Fernando Hierrro (defender)
Born: 23.03.68
Nationality: Spanish

A veteran of this Real line-up, his importance to the side cannot be under estimated. The host of superstars in the attacking third of the field may take all the plaudits, but coach Vincente Del Bosque would confirm Hierro is one of the first names on his team sheet each week.

Started his career at Valladolid, but he will forever be associated with Real as this is his 14th season at the Bernabeu. A three-time Champions League winner with the club, he was a prolific goal scorer for the national side before he ended his Spain career after the 2002 World Cup.

Ivan Helguera (defender)
Born: 28.03.75
Nationality: Spanish

A big hit at Real since his move from Espanyol in 1999, he is another unsung hero of this Real side and a great partner for the veteran Fernando Hierro.

Helguera's career looked to have taken a turn for the worse when he failed to shine in a season at Roma in 1997/98 and it was not until he returned home that he found his feet. Now established as a first choice for club and country, he played in every game for Spain during last summer's World Cup final. A regular goal scorer.

Roberto Carlos (defender)
Born: 10.04.73
Nationality: Brazilian

Roberto Carlos

A legendary full-back who is as much a threat bursting forward as he is a rock at the back, he has enjoyed a sensational career with club and country.

A two time World Cup winner (1994 and 2002), he is also a three-time Champions League victor (1998, 2000, 2002). While he is famed for his swerving free-kicks, his success from set-plays leaves a lot to be desired.

When Carlos winds up for a shot, the fans behind the goal are often in more danger than the opposing goalkeeper.

Michel Salgado (defender)
Born: 22.10.75
Nationality: Spanish

A top class performer, Salgado's bid to secure a regular starting place in the Spain team has been helped by the host of retirements to established internationals after the World Cup.

He started his career at Celta Vigo and was snapped up by Real Madrid in 1998. Since then, this cultured performer has enjoyed great success at club level, playing his part in the club's Champions League triumphs of recent years. Missed out on a place in Spain's World Cup squad during the summer.

Oscar Minambres (defender)
Born: 01.02.81
Nationality: Spanish

A youngster who has made his way to the top via the toughest route possible.

Being offered a professional contract at Real Madrid may be the dream for any young kid, but actually going on to impress in the Real first team is easier said than done.

Many others have fallen by the wayside and have to move on to further their career, but Minambres looks like a future star for the Bernabeu giants. He gathered valuable Champions League experience in the first phase.

Francisco Pavon (defender)
Born: 09.01.80
Nationality: Spanish

A graduate of the Real youth team programme, this has already been a big season in the young career of Pavon.

He played in the European Super Cup triumph against Feyenoord back in August and has been a part of the shadow squad used for some Champions League games.

Yet to establish himself as a first team regular at Real, but coach Vincente Del Bosque knows all about his qualities.

Raul Bravo (defender)
Born: 14.04.81
Nationality: Spanish

A full international with Spain who has burst onto the scene with some style in the last few months, he impressed in the national team's first few qualifiers for Euro 2004.

Not yet an established starter for Real, but at the age of 21, he has time to establish himself in a defence that already has some established world stars among its ranks.

Listed by Real Madrid as a midfielder, he is also at home in a more reserved role.

Luis Figo (midfielder)
Born: 04.11.72
Nationality: Portuguese

Luis Figo

One of the world's greatest players made football history as he sealed a record breaking a high controversial £37.5m move from Barcelona to their deadly rivals Real Madrid in the summer of 2000.

A genius who can turn a game with a moment of magic, he struggled to find his best form with club and country last season, culminating in a disappointing World Cup campaign for Figo and Portugal.

His midfield partnership with Zinedine Zidane has not always worked for Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane (midfielder)
Born: 23.06.72
Nationality: French

The world's most expensive footballer is unquestionably one of the best to have ever played the game.

The hero of France's 1998 World Cup triumph, their first round exit last summer may have been averted had Zidane been fully fit, but he has been in decent form for Real this term.

Zidane paid back a bulk of his record breaking £46.5m transfer fee as he fired a sensational winning goal in last season's Champions League Final against Bayer Leverkusen.

Steve McManaman (midfielder)
Born: 11.02.72
Nationality: English

McManaman has appeared to be on the way out of Real ever since his Bosman free transfer from Liverpool in 1999, but the Bernabeu fans adore this tricky winger.

His goal in the 2000 Champions League Final triumph assured him of hero status in Madrid and he is a regular scorer on his occasional first team run outs.

His England career has ground to a halt after years of disappointing displays at international level.

Albert Celades (midfielder)
Born: 29.09.75
Nationality: Spanish

One of the few players who made the switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid and his notoriety in the Basque region is assured forever more after the transfer in 2000.

Born in Andora, he is a thoughtful midfielder who played for Spain in the 1998 World Cup finals and his experience is vital to Real coach Vincente Del Bosque.

Solid and unspectacular, Celades is a useful back up to the star names.

Claude Makelele (midfielder)
Born: 18.02.73
Nationality: French

Hailing from Kinsasha in the Congo, Makelele is a French international star of some repute having made his name in the Spanish league.

A real athlete whose energy can be significant in the midfield battle, Real signed him from Celta Vigo in the summer of 2000 and he has been a first team squad man ever since.

A starter in last season's Champions League Final triumph against Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Esteban Cambiasso (midfielder)
Born: 28.08.80
Nationality: Argentine

His first season at Real yielded little success, so a year back in his Argentine homeland on loan at River Plate gave him the chance to prove his worth to his European employers.

With that first team experience under his belt, he has been a regular starter for Vincente Del Bosque this term. Played in the European Super Cup victory over Feyenoord and he turned in some fine displays in the Champions League first phase.

Flavio Conceicao (midfielder)
Born: 12.06.74
Nationality: Brazilian

A sparkling talent in the midfield, Real snapped up Conceicao from Deportivo la Coruna in the summer of 2000 and he has been a fine addition to the star-studded squad.

Never looks out of place alongside Figo, Zidane and the rest and that says it all for a player who came on as a late substitute in last season's Champions League Final.

Santiago Solari (midfielder)
Born: 07.10.76
Nationality: Argentinian

A starter in last season's Champions League Final glory against Bayer Leverkus en, he was ignored by Argentina's top brass as they came to select their World Cup squad.

Linked with a move to Italian football in recent months, he is a battling midfielder who provides the stars with the space to strut their stuff for the European Champions.

Coach Vincente Del Bosque appreciates the importance of Solari to his side and would not like to lose him.

Guti (forward)
Born: 31.10.76
Nationality: Spanish

A newcomer to the international scene, Guti has been given his chance to shine in the Euro 2004 qualifier and scored his debut goal for Spain in the 3-0 win over Northern Ireland in October.

He missed out on a place in the World Cup squad, but looks set to make up for that setback this season as he has been a good form for Real.

He faces a battle to get into the first team with the likes of Raul and Ronaldo around.

Raul Gonzalez (forward)
Born: 27.08.77
Nationality: Spanish

A legend at Real, he is the prince of Spanish football and recently became his national team's all-time top scorer.

A predator in front of goal, he is a forward who has it all.

Pace, awareness and a classy touch, he was a star at the World Cup finals during the summer and scored the first goal in Real Madrid's Champions League Final win over Bayer Leverkusen this season.

Ronaldo (forward)
Born: 22.09.76
Nationality: Brazilian

Ronaldo

The top scorer in last summer's World Cup finals made a controversial move from Inter Milan to Real Madrid that was apparently completed after the deadline for him to play in the Champions League first phase.

The rules were bent a little to allow the brilliant Brazilian to make his bow for Real and he has made an impact in his brief career at the Bernabeu.

Powerful and skilful, Ronaldo is a genius and were it not for his continuing injury concerns, he may have gone on to become the best player of all-time.

Fernando Morientes (forward)
Born: 05.04.76
Nationality: Spanish

Morientes looked to be heading out of Real Madrid as Premiership side Tottenham made a move to secure his services during the summer, but the deal came to nothing and he is still an important player for Vincente Del Bosque.

Ronaldo's injury worries means he has a big role to play in this squad and he has enough quality to worry any defender in the world.

A brilliant sidekick for Raul over the years, he starred for Spain in the World Cup last summer as he scored a couple of crucial goals.

Tote (forward)
Born: 23.11.78
Nationality: Spanish

Scored Real's final goal of the first phase of the Champions League and Tote has shown signs he can be a threat when given his chance.

However, those opportunities may be few and far between and that may mean he looks to move on at the end of this season.

With so much world class talent at his disposal, Vincente Del Bosque may have a problem fitting Tote into his first team plans, but he would not want to lose this young talent.

Javier Portillo (forward)
Born: 30.30.82
Nationality: Spanish

A graduate of the Real youth team and this has been a big season for young Portillo.

Any forward who makes a mark in the first team at the Bernabeu is automatically labelled 'the next Raul' and this lad has been given the same tag, but he has a long way to go before he matches the achievements of the Real and Spain legend.

Played in a couple of Champions Leagues ties in the first round of group matches and will be looking for more first team exposure in the second phase.