Real Madrid Club de Fútbol
Old Names: Nueva Sociedad de Football, Madrid Football Club
HEAD COACH: Zinedine Zidane
PRESIDENT: Florentino Perez
CAPTAIN: Sergio Ramos
NICKNAME: Los Blancos, Los Merengues, Los Vikingos, La Casa Blanca
STADIUM: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
RIVALS: BARCELONA, ATLETICO MADRID, ATHLETIC BILBAO, BAYERN MUNICH, JUVENTUS
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol commonly referred to as Real Madrid, is a Spanish club based in Madrid.
Founded on 6 March 1902 as Madrid Football Club, the club has traditionally worn a white home kit since inception. The word “real” in Spanish means “royal” was given to the club by King Alfonso XIII in 1920 together with the royal crown on the emblem. The team has played its home matches in the 80,000+ capacity Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in downtown Madrid since 1947.
However, the club has been playing at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano since there is a large renovation project going on at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid’s members (socios) have owned and operated the club throughout its history like Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao.
The club has many rivalries, with the biggest being the famous El Clásico with Barcelona and El Derbi Madrileno with Atlético de Madrid.
Real Madrid established itself as a major force in both Spanish and European football during the 1950s, winning five consecutive European Cups and reaching the final seven times.
This success was replicated in the league as the club won the Spanish title five times as well during these seven years. This team included Alfredo Di Stéfano (after whom Madrid’s second stadium was named), Ferenc Puskás (the FIFA Goal of the Year award is named after him), Francisco Gento, and Raymond Kopa. This team is considered by some to be the greatest football team of all time.
In domestic football, the club has won a record 34 La Liga titles, 19 Copa del Rey trophies, 11 Supercopa de España, 1 Copa Eva Duarte, and 1 Copa de la Liga.
In international competitions, Real Madrid have also won it all. They have a record 26 trophies including the most European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles with 13, 2 UEFA Cups and 4 UEFA Super Cups.
In international football, they have won a record 7 FIFA Club World Championships.
Real Madrid was recognised as the FIFA Club of the 20th Century on 11 December 2000 and received the FIFA Centennial Order of Merit on 20 May 2004. The club was also awarded Best European Club of the 20th Century by the IFFHS on 11 May 2010.
In June 2017, the team succeeded in becoming the first club to win consecutive Champions League titles, and then went on to create more history by making it three in a row and four in five seasons in May 2018!
History of Real Madrid
Early years (1902–1945)
Real Madrid’s origins date back to when football was introduced in Madrid by the students of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, which included several Cambridge and Oxford University graduates.
They founded (Sociedad) Sky Football in 1897, commonly known as La Sociedad (The Society) as it was the only one based in Madrid, playing on Sunday mornings at Moncloa.
In 1900, a conflict between members caused some of them to leave and create a new club, the Nueva Sociedad de Football (New Society of Football), to distinguish themselves from Sky Football.
Among the dissenters were Julián Palacios, who was recognized as the first Real Madrid president, Juan Padrós and Carlos Padrós, the latter two being brothers and future presidents of Real Madrid.
In 1901, the new club was renamed as Madrid Football Club. Later, following a restructuring in 1902, Sky was renamed as “New Foot-Ball Club”. On 6 March 1902, after a new Board presided by Juan Padrós had been elected, Madrid Football Club was officially founded.
Three years after its foundation, in 1905, Madrid FC won its first title after defeating Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Cup final.
The club became one of the founding sides of the Royal Spanish Football Federation on 4 January 1909, when club president Adolfo Meléndez signed the foundation agreement of the Spanish FA. After moving between grounds, the team moved to the Campo de O’Donnell in 1912.
In 1920, the club’s name was changed to Real Madrid after King Alfonso XIII granted the title of Real (Royal) to the club.
In 1929, the first Spanish football league was founded. Real Madrid led the first league season until the last match, a loss to Athletic Bilbao, meant they finished runners-up to Barcelona.
Real Madrid won its first league title in the 1931–32 season and retained it the following year, becoming the first team to win the championship twice.
On 14th April 1931, the arrival of the Second Spanish Republic caused the club to lose the title Real and went back to being named Madrid Football Club. Football continued during the Second World War, and on 13 June 1943 Madrid beat Barcelona 11–1 in the second leg of a semi-final of the Copa del Generalísimo (the Copa del Rey having been renamed in honour of General Franco).
It has been suggested Barcelona players were intimidated by police, including by the director of state security who allegedly told the team that some of them were only playing because of the regime’s generosity in permitting them to remain in the country.
The Barcelona chairman, Enrique Piñeyro, was apparently assaulted by Madrid fans. However, none of these allegations have been proven, hence, the FIFA and UEFA still consider the result as legitimate.
According to Spanish journalist and writer, Juan Carlos Pasamontes, Barcelona player Josep Valle denied that the Spanish security forces came before the match. Instead, at the end of the first half, Barcelona coach Juan José Nogués and all of his players were angry with the hard-style of play Real Madrid was using and with the aggressiveness of the home crowd.
When they refused to take the field, the Superior Chief of Police of Madrid appeared, identified himself, and ordered the team to take the field.
Santiago Bernabéu and European success (1945–1978)
Santiago Bernabéu became the president of Real Madrid in 1945.
Under his presidency, the club, its stadium Estadio Real Madrid Club de Fútbol and its training facilities Ciudad Deportiva were rebuilt after the Spanish Civil War damages.
Additionally, during the 1950s former Real Madrid Amateurs player Miguel Malbo founded Real Madrid’s youth academy, or “cantera,” known today as La Fábrica.
In 1953, Malbo adopted the strategy of signing world-class players from abroad including one of their greatest ever – Alfredo Di Stéfano.
In 1955, acting upon the idea proposed by Gabriel Hanot, a French sports journalist and editor of L’Équipe, Bernabéu, Bedrignan and Gusztáv Sebes created a tournament for the champions teams around Europe, under invitation, that would eventually become what is today known as the UEFA Champions League.
It was under Bernabéu’s guidance that Real Madrid established itself as a major force in both Spanish and European football.
The club won the European Cup five times in a row between 1956 and 1960. After these five consecutive successes, Real was permanently awarded the original cup and earning the right to wear the UEFA badge of honor.
The club won the European Cup for a sixth time in 1966 defeating Partizan Belgrade 2–1 in the final with a team composed entirely of the same nationality players, a first in the competition. This team became known as the Yé-yé.
The name “Yé-yé” came from the “Yeah, yeah, yeah” chorus in The Beatles’ song “She Loves You” after four members of the team posed for Marca and impersonated the Beatles.
The Yé-yé generation were also the European Cup runners-up in 1962 and 1964.
In the 1970s, Real Madrid won 5 league championships and 3 Spanish Cups. The club played its first UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1971 but lost to English side Chelsea 2–1.
Quinta del Buitre and continued success (1980–2000)
By the early 1980s, Real Madrid had lost its grasp on the Liga title until a new set of home-grown stars brought domestic success back to the club.
Spanish sport journalist Julio César Iglesias gave to this generation the name La Quinta del Buitre (“Vulture’s Cohort”), which was derived from the nickname given to one of its members, Emilio Butragueño.
The other four members were Manuel Sanchís, Martín Vázquez, Míchel and Miguel Pardeza – all five footballers were graduates of Real Madrid’s La Fabrica.
With La Quinta del Buitre (reduced to four members as Pardeza left for Zaragoza in 1986) and notable players like goalkeeper Francisco Buyo, right-back Miguel Porlán Chendo and Mexican striker Hugo Sánchez, Real Madrid had one of the best teams in Spain and Europe during the second half of the 1980s, winning 2 UEFA Cups, 5 Spanish championships in a row, 1 Spanish cup and 3 Spanish Super Cups.
In the early 1990s, La Quinta del Buitre broke up after Martín Vázquez, Emilio Butragueño and Míchel left the club.
In 1996, President Lorenzo Sanz appointed Fabio Capello as coach. Although his tenure lasted only one season, Real Madrid won the league title, and players like Predrag Mijatović, Davor Šuker, Clarence Seedorf, Roberto Carlos and keeper Bodo Illgner, arrived at the club to strengthen a squad that already boasted the likes of Raúl, Fernando Hierro and Fernando Redondo.
As a result, Real Madrid (with the addition of Fernando Morientes in 1997) finally ended its 32-year wait for its seventh European Cup. In 1998, under manager Jupp Heynckes, Los Blancos defeated Juventus 1–0 in the final with a goal by Mijatović.
In November 1999, Vicente del Bosque took over as Madrid’s head coach. In the 1999–2000 season, the squad was led by the veterans such as Fernando Hierro, Fernando Redondo, Roberto Carlos and Raúl González.
Real added to the budding young talents of Guti and Iker Casillas by signing Steve McManaman and Nicolas Anelka from the English Premier League, alongside local talents Míchel Salgado and Iván Helguera.
In del Bosque’s first season in charge, Real won the Champions League for the 8th time, following a 3–0 victory over fellow Spanish club Valencia in the final, with goals from Morientes, McManaman and Raúl.
This victory marked the beginning of another successful period in Real Madrid’s already rich history.
Florentino Perez and the Galacticos (2000-2006)
In July 2000, Florentino Pérez was elected as Real Madrid’s president.
He vowed in his campaign to erase the club’s €270 million debt and modernize the club’s facilities. However, the primary electoral promise that propelled Pérez to victory was the signing of Luís Figo from arch-rivals Barcelona.
The following year, the club had its training ground rezoned and used the money to begin assembling the Galácticos team by signing a global star every summer, which included Zinedine Zidane, (Luis) Ronaldo, Luís Figo, David Beckham and Fabio Cannavaro.
Despite winning the UEFA Champions League and an Intercontinental Cup in 2002, followed by La Liga in 2003, the club failed to win a major trophy for the next three seasons so although the Galacticos super team was formed, they struggled to click together.
The few days after the capturing of the 2003 Liga title were marred by controversy.
The first controversial decision came when Pérez sacked Vicente del Bosque.
Over a dozen players left the club, including Madrid captain Fernando Hierro, while defensive midfielder Claude Makélélé refused to take part in training in protest at being one of the lowest-paid players at the club, and subsequently moved to Chelsea.
“That’s a lot [of players leaving] when the normal rule is: never change a winning team,” stated Zidane. Real Madrid then appointed Carlos Queiroz at the helm temporarily.
The 2005–06 season began with the promise of several new signings: Júlio Baptista (€24 million), Robinho (€30 million) and Sergio Ramos (€27 million). However, Real Madrid suffered from some poor results, including a 0–3 loss at the hands of Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabéu in November 2005.
Madrid’s coach Wanderley Luxemburgo was sacked the following month and his replacement was Juan Ramón López Caro. A brief return to form came to an abrupt halt after losing the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinal, 6–1 to Real Zaragoza. Shortly after, Real Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League for a fourth successive year, this time at the hands of Arsenal. On 27th February 2006, Florentino Pérez resigned as club president.
Ramón Calderón era (2006–2009)
Ramón Calderón was elected as club president on 2nd July 2006 and appointed Fabio Capello as the new coach for a second time and Predrag Mijatović as the new sporting director.
Real Madrid won La Liga in 2007 for the first time in four years, but Capello was nonetheless sacked at the end of the campaign.
Jose Mourinho at the helm (2009-2013)
On 1st June 2009, Florentino Pérez regained Real Madrid’s presidency. He continued with the Galácticos policy pursued in his first term, by buying Kaká from Milan for a record-breaking sum of £56 million, and then breaking the record again by purchasing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for £80 million.
The 2009–10 season, however, was a transitional one as Madrid again finished second in the league, although this time amassing 96 points, the club’s record at the time, and went out of the Champions League at the hands of Olympique Lyonnais.
José Mourinho took over as manager in May 2010. In April 2011, a rare occurrence happened when, for the first time ever, four Clásicos were to be played in a span of just 18 days.
The first fixture was for the league campaign on 17th April (which ended 1–1 with penalty goals for both sides), the Copa del Rey final (which was won by Madrid 1–0 A.E.T., bringing them their first trophy in the second Galáctico era) and the controversial two-legged Champions League semifinal on 27th April and 2nd May that saw Barcelona win 3–1 on aggregate and ultimately winning the tournament.
In the 2011–12 season, Real Madrid won La Liga for a record 32nd time in its history, also finishing the season with numerous club-level records set, including 100 points reached in a single season, a total of 121 goals scored, a goal difference of an incredible +89 and 16 away wins, with 32 wins overall.
In the same season, Cristiano Ronaldo became the fastest player to reach 100 goals scored in Spanish league history. In reaching 101 goals in 92 games, Ronaldo surpassed Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskás, who scored 100 goals in 105 matches.
Ronaldo set a new club mark for individual goals scored in one year with 60 and became the first player ever to score against all 19 opposition teams in a single season!
Real Madrid started the 2012–13 season by winning the Supercopa de España, defeating Barcelona on away goals.
However, the Super cup turned out to be their only trophy of the season, despite being close to winning them all. Real finished runners-up to Barça in La Liga, and reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the third consecutive season, where they were eliminated by Borussia Dortmund 3–4 on aggregate thanks to Robert Lewandowski’s heroics that saw him score 4 goals in the first leg in Dortmund.
Madrid also entered the Copa del Rey in the round of 32, going on a memorable run to the final, which saw them defeat Barcelona in the semi-finals before losing to Atlético Madrid 1–2 in A.E.T..
A major transfer of the season was the signing of Luka Modrić from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of around £33 million. After the Copa del Rey defeat to Atlético Madrid, Pérez announced the departure of José Mourinho at the end of the season by “mutual agreement”.
Cristiano Ronaldo, La Decima and the European Treble (2013-2018)
On 25th June 2013, Carlo Ancelotti succeeded Mourinho to become the manager of Real Madrid for a three-year deal, with Zinedine Zidane named as one of his assistants.
On 1st September 2013, Gareth Bale transferred from Tottenham Hotspur to Los Blancos. The transfer of the Welshman was a new world record signing, with the transfer price approximated at €100 million.
In Ancelotti’s first season at the club, Real Madrid finished the league campaign in third place (behind Barcelona and cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid), but won the Copa del Rey by beating Barcelona in the final. They reached the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, where they defeated city rivals Atlético Madrid 4–1 in A.E.T. after trailing till the dying moments in regulation to be saved by a Sergio Ramos goal to send it into extra time. Madrid went on to win their tenth European title and their first since 2002. Madrid became the first team to win ten European Cups/Champions League titles, which is famously known as “La Décima”.
After winning the 2014 Champions League, Real Madrid signed Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas, German midfielder Toni Kroos and Colombian attacking midfielder James Rodríguez.
The club won the 2014 UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla, which was the club’s 79th official trophy.
During the last week of the 2014 summer transfer window, Real Madrid sold two players key to the previous season’s successes – Xabi Alonso to Bayern Munich and Ángel Di María to Manchester United.
This decision by the club was surrounded by controversy, with Cristiano Ronaldo stating, “If I was in charge, maybe I would have done things differently,” while Carlo Ancelotti admitted, “We must start again from zero.”
After a slow start to the 2014–15 season, Real Madrid went on a record-breaking 22-match winning streak, which included wins against Barcelona and Liverpool, surpassing the previous Spanish record of 18 successive wins set by Frank Rijkaard’s Barça in the 2005–06 season.
The streak came to an end in their opening match of 2015 with a loss to Valencia, leaving the club two short of equalling the world record of 24 consecutive wins.
Madrid was in contention for both the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League until the very end but ultimately came up short in the league behind treble-winning Barcelona and losing to Juventus 2–3 on aggregate in the Champions League semi-finals.
Overall, despite playing attacking football and being the highest scoring team in Europe, several defeats meant that Real finished the season with two trophies out of a possible six, which led to the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti on 25th May 2015.
On 3rd June 2015, Rafael Benítez was confirmed as the new Real Madrid manager for the 2015–16 season, signing a three-year contract.
In the Copa del Rey round of 32, Real accidentally fielded an ineligible player Denis Cheryshev in a 3–1 first leg away win against Cádiz, resulting in the second leg being cancelled and Real being disqualified.
Benítez was relieved of his duties on 4th January 2016 following allegations of unpopularity with supporters, displeasure with players and a failure to get good results against top teams.
Benítez’s departure was announced along with the promotion of Zinedine Zidane to his first head coaching role. Under Zidane, Madrid ended up finishing second in the league, with 90 points and just one point behind champions Barcelona.
On 28th May, Real Madrid won their 11th Champions League title won after a 5–3 penalty shoot-out victory over Atlético Madrid after the game ended 1-1, with the achievement being termed “La Undécima”.
Real Madrid began their 2016–17 campaign, which was to be Zidane’s first full season in charge of the club, with victory in the 2016 UEFA Super Cup over Sevilla.
On 10 December 2016, Madrid won their 35th-straight match without a loss, which set a new club record.
On 18 December 2016, the club defeated Japanese outfit Kashima Antlers 4–2 in the final of the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup.
With a 3–3 draw at Sevilla in the second leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 on 12 January 2017, Madrid progressed to the quarter-finals with a 6–3 aggregate victory and extended its unbeaten run to 40 matches, breaking Barcelona’s Spanish record of 39 matches unbeaten in all competitions from the previous season.
Their unbeaten streak ended after a 1–2 away loss against the same opposition in La Liga three days later. The team then was knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Celta Vigo 3–4 on aggregate.
In May that year, Madrid won the league title for a record 33rd time, their first title in five years.
On 3 June 2017, the club’s Champions League final win against Juventus resulted in Real Madrid being the first team to successfully defend their title in the UEFA Champions League era, and the first to win consecutive titles in the competition since Milan in 1989 and 1990, when the tournament was known as the European Cup.
This was Real Madrid’s 12th European title, extending its record, and its third in four years. The achievement is also known as “La Duodécima”.
The 2016–17 season was the greatest campaign in terms of trophies won (four out of a possible five) in the history of Real Madrid 0 an achievement that was later equalled in the 2017–18 season.
Real kicked off the 2017–18 campaign by winning its second consecutive UEFA Super Cup (and fourth overall) in a 2–1 victory over Manchester United.
Los Blancos beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou 3–1 in the first leg of the 2017 Supercopa de España and then defeated the Catalans 2–0 in the return leg, ending their 24 consecutive match scoring record in El Clásico matches and winning their second trophy of the season.
On 16th December 2017, Real beat Brazilian club Grêmio 1–0 in the FIFA Club World Cup final and became the first team to retain the trophy.
On 24th January 2018, Madrid were knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage by Leganés on away goals.
The team’s league campaign was also a disappointment as they only managed to finish third, 17 points behind champions Barcelona.
Madrid did extremely well, however, in the Champions League, once again progressing to the final where they defeated Liverpool 3–1 to become the first club to win three straight titles in the Champions League era, as well as the first team to win three consecutive titles in the European Cup/Champions League since Bayern Munich in 1976.
The trophy also marked Madrid’s fourth win in five years and their eighth consecutive semi-final appearance. On 31st May, only five days after winning the final, Zidane announced his resignation as Real Madrid manager, citing the club’s “need for change” as his rationale for departing.
The new Real Madrid post Cristiano Ronaldo (2018-present)
On 12 June 2018, Real Madrid named Julen Lopetegui, the head coach of the Spanish national team, as their new manager.
It was announced that he would officially begin his managerial duties after the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, the Spanish national team sacked Lopetegui a day prior to the tournament, stating that he had negotiated terms with the club without informing them.
The club then began re-shaping the squad in the summer of 2018, which included the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus for a reported €100 million.
Madrid began their 2018–19 campaign by losing to Atlético Madrid 2–4 A.E.T. in the 2018 UEFA Super Cup. After a 1–5 loss to Barcelona in El Clásico on 28th October, which left Real Madrid in 9th place in the league table with only 14 points after 10 games, Lopetegui was dismissed and replaced by then Castilla coach, Santiago Solari.
On 22nd December 2018, Real Madrid beat Al Ain 4–1 in the FIFA Club World Cup and became the outright record winners of the Club World Cup with four titles.
Solari won 10 of his first 13 La Liga matches, before the team were knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the semi-final stage by Barcelona and were then eliminated by Ajax in the Champions League at the round of 16 stage after eight consecutive semi-final appearances.
On 11th March 2019, Real Madrid dismissed Solari and reinstated Zidane as the head coach of the club and Los Blancos went on to finish third in the league.
In the summer of 2019, Madrid signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea, Luka Jović, Éder Militão, Ferland Mendy, Rodrygo, Reinier and a bunch of other players for a total of more than €350 million!
On 12 January 2020, Madrid beat cross-city rivals Atlético Madrid in a penalty shootout in the Supercopa de España final to win their eleventh title.
After a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, La Liga was restarted in June and Madrid won ten games in a row to capture the club’s 34th league title. Madrid played the postponed second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Manchester City in August, losing 1–2 (2–4 on aggregate) at the Etihad Stadium and were eliminated in the Round of 16 for the second consecutive season.