Club de Fútbol (also known as Real Madrid, Los Blancos, Los Merengues) is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain. It holds the record as the most effective team in Spanish football and was voted by FIFA as the most successful club of the 20th century, having won a record thirty-one La Liga titles, seventeen Spanish Cups, a record nine European Cups and two UEFA Cups. Real was a founding member of FIFA and the now-defunct G-14 group of Europe's leading football clubs as well as its replacement, the European Club Association.
Founded in 1902, Real Madrid has since spent all of its history in the top flight of Spanish football. In the 1940s, the club, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and the Ciudad Deportiva were rebuilt following the Spanish Civil War. During the 1950s, Real Madrid established itself as a major force in both Spanish and European football. During the second half of the 1980s, the club had one of the best teams in Spain and Europe (known as La Quinta del Buitre), winning two UEFA Cups, five Spanish championships in a row, one Spanish cup and three Spanish Super Cups.
The club's traditional home colours are all white. It has played its home professional games in the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in downtown Madrid since 1947. Unlike most European football clubs, Real Madrid's members (socios) have owned and operated the club since its inception.
Real Madrid maintains a large fanbase and holds numerous long-standing rivalries with several other clubs. It semiannually contest the El Clásico with FC Barcelona which is the most notable rival of The Whites. The club is the world's richest football club (€351m) in terms of revenue and the second most valuable (worth over €950m as of 2008).
Football was introduced to Madrid by the professors and students of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, which included several Oxbridge graduates. They founded Football Club Sky in 1897, playing on Sunday mornings at Moncloa. This club split in 1900 into two different clubs: New Foot-Ball de Madrid and Club Español de Madrid. The latter club split again in 1902, resulting in the formation of Madrid Football Club on 6 March 1902. Only three years after its foundation, in 1905, Madrid FC won its first official title in the history of the club after defeating Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Cup final. The team won the first of four consecutive Copa del Rey titles (at that time the only statewide competition). The club became one of the founding sides of the Spanish Football Association on 4 January 1909, when club president Adolfo Meléndez signed the foundation agreement of the Spanish FA. After moving among some minor grounds, in 1912, the team settled at the ground that came to be called "Campo de O'Donnell". 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 had leading the first edition until the last match of the season, but a loss to Athletic Bilbao at San Mamés kept Madrid from winning the title. They had to settle for runner-up, just one point behind Barcelona. Real Madrid won its first League title in the 1931–32 season. The Whites won the League again the following year, and thus became the first side to have won the championship twice.
Santiago Bernabéu Yeste became president of Real Madrid in 1945. Under his presidency, the club, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and the Ciudad Deportiva were rebuilt following the Spanish Civil War. Beginning in 1953, he embarked upon a strategy of signing world-class players from abroad, the most prominent of them being the signing of Alfredo di Stéfano. Thus, he built the world's first multinational side.
In 1955, acting upon the idea proposed by the French sports journalist and editor of L'Équipe Gabriel Hanot, and building upon the Copa Latina (a tournament involving clubs from France, Spain, Portugal and Italy), Bernabéu met in the Ambassador Hotel in Paris with Bedrignan and Gusztáv Sebes and created what today is 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, which included the 7–3 Hampden Park final against Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960. Winning the competition five consecutive times saw Real permanently awarded the original cup and earning the right to wear the UEFA badge of honour. The club won the European Cup for a sixth time in 1966 defeating FK Partizan 2–1 in the final with a team composed entirely of nationally born players (known as the Ye-yé team) – a first in the competition. The name "Ye-yé" came from the "Yeah, yeah, yeah" chorus in the Beatles' song "She Loves You" after four members of the team posed for Diario Marca dressed in Beatles wigs. The Ye-yé generation was also European Cup runner-up in 1962 and 1964.
In the 1970s, Real Madrid won 5 league championships and 3 Spanish Cups.In 1971, the club played it's first UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, being defeated by English side Chelsea F.C. with 2-1. On 2 July 1978, club president Santiago Bernabéu passed away while the World Cup was being played in Argentina. In his honor FIFA decreed three days of mourning during the tournament. His death put an end to the one to whom credit can be given for transforming Real Madrid from the second most successful club in Madrid into the most successful in Spain, and one of the most successful in Europe. The following year, the club organized the first edition of Santiago Bernabéu Trophy in the memory of its former president.
By the early 1980s, Real Madrid had lost its grasp on the La Liga title until a new batch of home-grown stars started to back winning domestic titles. 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. With La Quinta del Buitre (reduced to four members when Pardeza left the club for Zaragoza in 1986) Real Madrid had one of the best teams in Spain and Europe during the second half of the 1980s, winning two UEFA Cups, five Spanish championships in a row, one Spanish cup and three Spanish Super Cups.
In the early 1990s, La Quinta del Buitre split 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 was proclaimed league champion and players like Roberto Carlos, Predrag Mijatović, Davor Šuker and Clarence Seedorf arrived at the club to strengthen a squad that already boasted the likes of Raúl González, 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, The Whites defeated Juventus 1–0 in the final thanks to a goal from Predrag Mijatović.
Real Madrid's players celebrate their 2008 Supercopa de España title win.
In July 2000, Florentino Pérez was elected club president. His campaign vowed to erase the club's debt and modernize the club's facilities. However, the primary electoral promise that propelled Pérez to victory was the signing of Luís Figo. The following year, the club controversially got its training ground rezoned and used the money to begin assembling the famous Galáctico side including players such as Zidane, Ronaldo, Luís Figo, Roberto Carlos, Raúl González and David Beckham. It is debatable whether the gamble paid off, as despite a European Cup win in 2002, followed by the League in 2003, the club failed to win a major trophy for the next three seasons.
Ramón Calderón was elected as club president on 2 July 2006 and subsequently appointed Fabio Capello as the new coach and Predrag Mijatović as the new sporting director. Real Madrid won the La Liga title in 2007 for the first time in four years. However, Capello was dismissed in June 2007, and replaced by German manager and former player Bernd Schuster. The Whites ended the 2007–08 season with the 31st league title and the first consecutive league title in eighteen years.
Last edited by njoups; 8th December 2008 at 09:20..
The first crest of Real Madrid had a simple design. It consisted of a decorative interlacing of the three initials of the club, "MCF" for Madrid Club de Fútbol, in dark blue on a white shirt. The first change in the crest occurred in 1908 when the letters adopted a more streamlined form and appeared inside a circle. The next change in the configuration of the crest did not occur until the Presidency of Pedro Parages in 1920. At that time, King Alfonso XIII granted the club his royal patronage which came in the form of the title "Real", roughly translated as "Royal". Thus, Alfonso's crown was added to the crest and the club styled itself Real Madrid Club de Futbol. With the dissolution of the monarchy in 1931, all the symbols of the Royalty were eliminated. Therefore, the crown on the crest and the title of Real were removed. In its place, the dark mulberry band of the Region of Castile was added. In 1941, two years after the end of the Civil War, the crest's "Real Corona", or "Royal Crown", was restored while the mulberry stripe of Castile was retained as well. In addition, the colors were modified in that the crest was made full color, with gold being the most prominent, and the club was again called Real Madrid Club de Futbol.
The most recent modification to the crest occurred in 2001 when the club wanted to better position itself for the twenty-first century and further standardize its crest. One of the modifications made was changing the mulberry stripe to a more bluish shade.
Last edited by njoups; 8th December 2008 at 09:20..