Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, Raphael Varane, Casemiro, Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez, Dani Carvajal and Luka Modric all shone for Zinedine Zidane in last Saturday's Madrid derby, as they have been doing for many years.
This old guard is now part of the furniture of Real Madrid, which continues to perform for the club come rain or shine.
In moments of crisis, they all continue to turn up and are far from surrending their starting spots. Even when new signings arrive at Madrid, they are unable to dislodge the core of players who have proven irreplaceable when playing at their highest level.
The performances of these players haven't only served to redeem their transfer fees but has helped the team star in one of the most successful periods of the club's history. They all won their first LaLiga Santander together in 2016 and are still battling to win it in 2021.
Kroos, Modric and Casemiro
A midfield three of Real Madrid legends, which cost the club just over 70 million euros. Jose Mourinho did everything to convince Florentino Perez to sign Modric. The price of 40 million euros raised doubts initially, which soon dissipated. Today he is still a star player and is eyeing a new deal at the club. Kroos was a spectacular signing and taking him from Bayern Munich proved to be a great strategy. The return of Casemiro had a lot to do with Florentino, who was already in love with the Brazilian during his days at Castilla, and Rafa Benitez finally made him a regular.
Carvajal, Ramos, Varane
It cost a little under 50 million euros to secure this ever reliable defensive trio. The best deal and the biggest investment was Ramos, who won over Arrigo Sacchi, the then sporting director of the club. The Italian was certain of Ramos' potential and, 15 years later, he is a club legend and is awaiting a contract renewal.
Varane was Zidane's discovery, capturing the youngster for just 10 million euros. The Frenchman has formed a devastating partnership alongside Ramos over the years.
With Carvajal, following the exit of Mourinho, the club didn't think twice about signing him back from Bayer Leverkusen and that decision is one of the smartest pieces of business from Los Blancos this century.
Benzema and Lucas Vazquez
Karim Benzema was Florentino's gamble, who was clear that the then Lyon striker was born to play for Real Madrid. Last Saturday, Benzema broke the record for the most appearances for Real Madrid made by a foreigner and is the sole survivor of one of the most legendary attacking three of all time, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Lucas Vazquez was a surprise signing by Rafa Benitez and one that Zidane has benefitted from. He has become one of Zidane's most loyal soldiers during the past three years. Few substitutes in the history of Real Madrid have had as much prominence and relevance as Lucas Vazquez has had.