In December 2000, Real Madrid were named the greatest club of the 20th century by FIFA. Founded on 6 March 1902 as Madrid Football Club, the club only assumed the name by which they are known today after King Afonso XIII gave them permission to include the word ‘Real’ (which means ‘Royal’) in their title.
In the 1931/32, Real Madrid won the first of their Liga titles. However the Civil War (1936-39), left their Chamartin stadium in ruins, their squad scattered around the country, and some irreplaceable trophies stolen. On the 29 April 1939 a new board, under the presidency of Adolfo Meléndez, pledged to help the club rise phoenix-like from the ashes.
Champions of Europe
In addition to sharing domestic supremacy with rivals Barcelona, and clocking up a total of 31 Primera Liga titles to date, they have been champions of Europe no less than nine times, more than any other team in the history of the European Cup/Champions League. Their former president, Santiago Bernabéu Yeste, after whom their stadium is named, was, in fact, one of the driving forces behind the creation of the European Cup, back in 1955.
Between 1956 and 1960 they won five consecutive European Cup titles, as the Bernabéu regularly played host to the world’s first truly international team of stars. Hungary’s Ferenc Puskas, Francisco Gento, Didi, Evaristo de Macedo, and the Argentinian-born great Alfredo Di Stefano – now honorary Real Madrid president – were part of one the greatest club sides the world has ever seen. The 1960 European Cup final – in which Di Stefano and Co conquered Eintracht Frankurt 7-3 in Glasgow is possibly the most exciting climax that the tournament has ever seen.
The biggest support
More recently, during the so-called ‘Galactico’ era, the team has boasted the likes of Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham. Recent years have seen them add two more European titles to the roll of honours.
According to research conducted by Harvard University in 2007, Real Madrid enjoy the biggest support base in the world. Able to wield huge financial muscle and a globally recognised brand, Real’s kit sponsorship deal with adidas – worth 120 million Euros – is the biggest in sporting history.
Over the last two years, Real Madrid have boasted a bigger turnover than any other club worldwide, and are now worth an estimated US$2 billion. The club’s financial prowess enables it to provide the team with the best of everything. Players benefit from facilities that are second to none, including a state-of-the-art class training complex and even a private plane, La Saeta, to take them to away matches.
Spanish league titles: 31
1932, 1933, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008
Copa del Rey: 17
1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1917, 1934, 1936, 1946, 1947, 1962, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1993
Spanish League Cup: 1
Spanish Super Cup: 8
1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008
European Cup/Champions League: 9
1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002
UEFA Cup: 2
European Super Cup: 1
Intercontinental Cup: 3
1960, 1998, 2002
Official name: Santiago Bernabéu (original name: Chamartin)
Location: Madrid, Spain
Date opened: 14 December 1947,
Inaugural match: Real Madrid v Belenenses (POR)
Current capacity: 80,354
Major matches hosted:
1964 European Championship Final:
Spain 2-1 USSR
1982 World Cup Final:
Italy 3-1 West Germany