He spent over a decade at the very highest level and was officially recognised as the best forward in Europe in 2004.
And during that period, Morientes played both alongside, and against, some of the greatest players Spanish football has seen – but who was the best?
“Out of the players I played with, probably Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid,” Morientes told official La Liga sponsor, Clear Men.
“Fans got a chance to see him at games, but we got to see him in training and he was equally spectacular in training as he was in matches.”
And his toughest opponent?
“I’m going to say Roberto Ayala,” Morientes revealed. “He was a centre-back at Valencia and whenever I faced him it was a real battle.”
So, too, were the Clasicos he contested against fierce rivals Barcelona – and it comes as no surprise that winning the biggest domestic derby in world football is still among Morientes’ favourite memories from his playing days.
“Probably beating Barcelona [was my greatest La Liga triumph],” he said.
Morientes hit 100 goals for Real Madrid over an eight-year stay with the club, five of which arrived during a single game in a historic performance.
“The day I scored five goals against Las Palmas at the Bernabeu,” he added, recalling the that day in February 2002 when he became the first Madrid player to score five goals in a single match since Ferenc Puskas in 1961.
Fernando Morientes is an official LaLiga ambassador and was speaking courtesy of Clear Men, official global partner of LaLiga.