Raymond Kopa is number 22 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series


Real Madrid have had a lot of exceedingly talented football players. They've had magnificent goalkeepers. They've had world class defenders. They've had dominant midfielders and they've had legendary strikers.


But Real Madrid have only had one Raymond Kopa.


Not often does a player make such a considerable impact at a club in such a short spell, but that was Kopa's remit when he moved to Spain. However, he didn't just meet expectations in the Spanish capital, he surpassed them.


With club and individual honours galore, he etched his name into, not only the club's history, but into footballing history forever. Kopa was truly one of a kind.


Here are some of his career highlights.


First League Title With Reims

Nowadays if you ask someone how Reims are getting on, you'll most likely be met with a shrug of the shoulder or a response in the vein of 'Ermm, doing OK in Ligue 1?'. 


Well, it is in fact the latter of those statements which is true, but cast your mind back to the 50s and 60s and we're talking about one of Europe's most formidable sides. They boasted some magnificent talent during their prime, none more so than Kopa.


The French magician propelled the club into previously unknown heights during his first spell there, garnering the attention of clubs across the continent with consistently dizzying displays.


En route to a first Ligue 1 title, he bagged 13 league goals in a superb individual campaign at the age of just 22. It was Kopa's first taste of silverware but, needless to say, not his last.


Becoming the First Frenchman to Lift the European Cup

It was a controversial departure from Reims that brought him to the Spanish capital, agreeing to join the club at the start of the 1956/57 season, three weeks before his current side were to face off against Madrid in the European Cup final.


Los Blancos secured the crown on that occasion, and it was to be the start of a memorable relationship with the competition during his three-year stay in ​Madrid


Kopa was as silky as footballers came. His majesty and elegance on the ball was heightened in the club's famous white strip, who took advantage his ability to enhance the club's playing style and extract the best out of each player in the squad.


His talents didn't go unrewarded, as he was integral and leading Madrid to the European Cup final in his debut season - where they overcame Fiorentina 2-0. In doing so, Kopa became the first player from his nation to secure the prestigious European title. But, once again, it wasn't to be his last.


Scooping the Ballon d'Or

You don't elevate a club of Madrid's stature into the most formidable force in Europe without getting some recognition. And no, I'm not talking about a pat on the back or Player of the Month award. What Kopa deserved was more, and what Kopa received, was the best of all.


It's hard to ignore the fact that Kopa won another European Cup the following season - as well as his second successive​ La Liga crown - but his awarding of the Ballon d'Or was precisely what his performances merited.


The two previous years he'd finished in third place, so it wasn't as if the decision came out of the blue. Yet, what Kopa did was lift his game to astronomic levels, which itself improved the players around him. He was someone who elevated all those whom he played with, and France Football had clearly noticed this. 


As he got better, so did Madrid. 


Final European Cup Triumph

Is it genuinely feasible to have a more prolific three-year spell with a club? What more other than a Ballon d'Or, three European Cup's, two La Liga titles and a Latin Cup could he do?


Kopa was unstoppable throughout his time in Madrid, notching impressive goal tallies for someone in his position, and registering countless assists. 


So it was no wonder that this Madrid war machine matched their exploits of the season before by securing Kopa's third successive - and the club's fourth - European Cup with victory over former club Reims (yes, really) in the final.


He would never play on this stage again, but he needn't have really. 


Kopa didn't just play in the European Cup, he completed it.


90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here.


Number 50: Luka Modric

Number 49: John Charles

Number 48: Hugo Sanchez

Number 47: Jairzinho

Number 46: Omar Sivori

Number 45: Paolo Rossi

Number 44: Paul Breitner

Number 43: George Weah

Number 42: Kaka

Number 41: Lev Yashin

Number 40: Gunnar Nordahl

Number 39: Kevin Keegan

Number 38: Hristo Stoichkov

Number 37: Gianluigi Buffon

Number 36: Johan Neeskens

Number 35: Xavi Hernandez

Number 34: Luis Suarez

Number 33: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Number 32: Andres Iniesta

Number 31: Rivelino

Number 30: Bobby Moore

Number 29: Socrates

Number 28: Sandor Kocsis

Number 27: Lothar Matthaus

Number 26: Ronaldinho

Number 25: Ruud Gullit

Number 24: Bobby Charlton

Number 23: ​Giuseppe Meazza