Real Madrid Club de Fútbol (Spanish pronunciation: [reˈal maˈðɾið ˈkluβ ðe ˈfutβol]Royal Madrid Football Club), commonly known as Real Madrid, is a professional association football club based in Madrid, Spain. It is the most successful team in Spanish football and was voted by FIFA as the most successful club of the 20th century, having won a record 31 La Liga titles, 17 Spanish "Copa del Rey" Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, a record 9 UEFA Champions Leagues, 2 UEFA Cups, 1 UEFA Supercup, and 3 Intercontinental Cups. Real Madrid 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. The word "Real" in the club's name is the Spanish term for "royal", and was given by the King Alfonso XIII in 1920 together with the royal crown in the emblem – several other Spanish football teams also received this royal distinction: Real Sociedad, Real Unión de Irún, Real Betis, and Real Zaragoza.
Founded in 1902, Real Madrid has never been relegated from La Liga, the top league of Spanish football. The club established itself as a major force in both Spanish and European football during the 1950s. In the 1980s, the club had one of the best teams (known as La Quinta del Buitre) in Spain and Europe, winning two UEFA Cups, five consecutive Spanish championships, one Spanish Cup and three Spanish Super Cups.
The team's traditional home kit colour is white, although it initially adopted a blue oblique stripe on the shirt. Its crest has been changed several times in attempts to modernise or re-brand it. The current crest is a modified version of the one first adopted in the 1920s. Real Madrid's home ground is the 80,354-seater Santiago Bernabéu football stadium in downtown Madrid, where it has played since 1947. The Bernabéu was the venue for the European cup (or UEFA Champions League) finals of 1957, 1969, 1980 and 2010.
Real Madrid holds long-standing rivalries with other football clubs, most notably FC Barcelona, with matches between the two teams referred to as "el Clásico". Unlike most European football clubs, Real Madrid's members (socios) have owned and operated the club since its inception. The club is the world's richest football club (€401m) in terms of revenue and the second most valuable worth over €950m in 2008.
Real Madrid's origins go back to when football was introduced to Madrid by the academics 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. It split into two clubs in 1900: New Foot-Ball de Madrid and Club Español de Madrid. The latter club split again in 1902, resulting in the formation of Real Madrid Football Club on 6 March 1902. 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. Real won the League again the following year, becoming the first side to have won the championship twice.
Santiago Bernabéu Yeste and European success (1945–1978)
Santiago Bernabéu Yeste became president of Real Madrid in 1945. Under his presidency, the club, its stadium Santiago Bernabéu and its training facilities Ciudad Deportiva were rebuilt after the Spanish Civil War damages. Beginning in 1953, he embarked upon a strategy of signing world-class players from abroad, the most prominent of them being Alfredo Di Stéfano.
In 1955, acting upon the idea proposed by the French sports journalist and editor of L'ÉquipeGabriel Hanot, Bernabéu, Bedrignan and Gusztáv Sebes created an exhibition tournament of invited teams from around Europe that would eventually become 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. After these five consecutive successes, Real was 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 same nationality players, a first in the competition. This team became known as the "Ye-yé". 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. The club played its first UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in 1971 and lost to English side Chelsea 2–1. On 2 July 1978, club president Santiago Bernabéu died while the World Cup was being played in Argentina. The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) decreed three days of mourning to honour him during the tournament. The following year, the club organized the first edition of the Santiago Bernabéu Trophy in the memory of its former president.
Quinta del Buitre and seventh European Cup (1980s–2000)
In July 2000, Florentino Pérez was elected club president. He vowed in his campaign 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 got its training ground rezoned and used the money to begin assembling the famous Galáctico side including players such as Zinédine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luís Figo, Roberto Carlos, Raúl 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 but Capello was sacked. In the 2007–08 season, The Whites won the domestic league for the 31st time, achieving their first consecutive league title in eighteen years. On 1 June 2009, Florentino Pérez regained Real Madrid's presidency. Pérez continued with the Galácticos policy pursued in his first term, buying Kaká from A.C. Milan then purchasing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for a record breaking £80 million.
Crest and colours
The progression of Real Madrid's crest since the Club's formation in 1902.
The first crest had a simple design consisting 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 madrid", roughly translated as "Royal". Thus, Alfonso's crown was added to the crest and the club styled itself Real Madrid Club de Fútbol. With the dissolution of the monarchy in 1931, all the royal symbols (the crown on the crest and the title of Real) were eliminated. The crown was replaced by the dark mulberry band of the Region of Castile. 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 whole crest was made full color, with gold being the most prominent, and the club was again called Real Madrid Club de Fútbol. The most recent modification to the crest occurred in 2001 when the club wanted to better situate itself for the 21st century and further standardize its crest. One of the modifications made was changing the mulberry stripe to a more bluish shade.
Real Madrid's original kit
Real Madrid's traditional home colours are all white, although it initially adopted a blue oblique stripe on the shirt (the design was kept in the club crest); but unlike today, dark blue socks were worn. The striped shirt was replaced by an all-white version, modeled after the shirt worn by Corinthian F.C., in 1902. In the same year, the blue socks were replaced by black ones. By the early 1940s the manager changed the kit again by adding buttons to the shirt and the club's crest on the left breast (which have remained ever since). On 23 November 1947, in a game against Atlético Madrid at the Metropolitano Stadium, Real Madrid became the first Spanish team to wear numbered shirts.
Real's traditional away colours are all black or all purple. The club's kit is currently manufactured by Adidas whose contract extends from 1998. Real Madrid's first shirt sponsor, Zanussi, agreed for the 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85 seasons. Following that, the club was sponsored by Parmalat and Otaysa before a long-term deal was signed with Teka in 1992. In 2001, Real Madrid ended their contract with Teka and for one season used the Realmadrid.com logo to promote the club's website. Then, in 2002, a deal was signed with Siemens Mobile and in 2006, the BenQ Siemens logo appeared on the club's shirt. Real Madrid's current shirt sponsor is bwin.com following the economic problems of BenQ Siemens.
After moving between grounds the team moved to the "Campo de O'Donnell" in 1912, which remained its home ground for eleven years. After this period, the club moved for one year to the Campo de Ciudad Lineal, a small ground with a capacity of 8,000 spectators. After that, Real Madrid moved its home matches to Estadio Chamartín which was inaugurated on 17 May 1923 with a match against Newcastle United. In this stadium, which hosted 22,500 spectators, Real Madrid celebrated its first Spanish league title. After some successes, the 1943 elected president Santiago Bernabéu decided that the Estadio Chamartín was not big enough for the ambitions of the club. A new stadium was built and was inaugurated on 14 December 1947. This was the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as it is known today, although it did not acquire this name until 1955. The first match held on Bernabéu was played between Real Madrid and the Portuguese club Belenenses and won by The Whites with 3–1, the first goal being scored by Sabino Barinaga.
The capacity has changed frequently, peaking at 120,000 after a 1953 expansion. Since then, there have been a number of reductions due to modernizations (the last standing places went away in 1998–99 in response to UEFA regulations which forbids standing at matches in the UEFA competition), countered to some extent by expansions. The last change was an increase of about five thousand to a capacity of 80,354, effected in 2003. A plan to add a retractable roof has been announced.
The Bernabéu has hosted the 1964 European Championship final, the 1982 FIFA World Cup final, the 1957, 1969 and 1980 European Cup finals and the 2010 Champions League Final. The stadium has its own Madrid Metro station along the 10 line called Santiago Bernabéu. On 14 November 2007, the Bernabéu has been upgraded to Elite Football Stadium status by UEFA.
On 9 May 2006, the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium was inaugurated at the City of Madrid where Real Madrid usually trains. The inaugural match was played between Real Madrid and Stade Reims, a rematch of the 1956 European Cup final. Real Madrid won the match 6–1 with goals from Sergio Ramos, Cassano (2), Soldado (2), and Jurado. The venue is now part of the Ciudad Real Madrid, the club's new training facilities located outside Madrid in Valdebebas. The stadium holds 5,000 people and is Real Madrid Castilla's home ground. It is named after former Real footballer Alfredo Di Stéfano.
Raúl is Real Madrid's all-time top goalscorer and top appearance.
Raúl holds the record for most Real Madrid appearances, having played 741 first-team matches from 1994 to 2010. Manuel Sanchis, Jr. comes second, having played 711 times. The record for a goalkeeper is held by Iker Casillas, with 518 appearances. With 127 caps (47 while at the club), Luís Figo of Portugal is Real's most capped international player.
Raúl is Real's all-time top goalscorer, with 323 goals in 741 games (1994–2010). Four other players have also scored over 200 goals for Real: Alfredo Di Stefano (1953–64), Santillana (1971–88), Ferenc Puskás (1958–66) and Hugo Sánchez (1985–92). Sánchez holds the record for the most league goals scored in one season (38 in 1989–90). Di Stéfano's 49 goals in 58 matches was for decades the all-time highest tally in the European Cup, until it was surpassed by Raúl in 2005. The fastest goal in the history of the club (15 seconds) was scored by Brazilian Ronaldo on 3 December 2003 during a league match against Atlético Madrid.
Officially, the highest home attendance figure for a Real Madrid match is 83,329, which was for a football cup competition, Copa del Rey, in 2006. The current legal capacity of Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is 80,354. The club's average attendance in 2007–08 season was 76,234, the highest in European Leagues. Real has also set records in Spanish football, most notably the most domestic titles (31 as of 2007–08) and the most seasons won in a row (5, during 1960–65 and 1985–90). With 121 matches (from 17 February 1957 to 7 March 1965), the club holds the record for longest unbeaten run at home in La Liga.
The Whites also hold the record for winning the UEFA Champions League nine times and for the most semi-final appearances (21). Raúl González is the all-time UEFA Champions League top scorer, with 68 goals in total, 66 whilst playing for Real Madrid. The team has the record number of consecutive participation in the European Cup with 15, from 1955–56 to 1969–70.
In June 2009, the club broke its own record for the highest transfer fee ever paid in the history of football by agreeing to pay Manchester United €96 million ($131.5 million, £80 million) for the services of Cristiano Ronaldo. The fee of €76 million (over $100 million, £45.8 million) for Zinedine Zidane's transfer from Juventus to Real Madrid in 2001 was the previous highest transfer fee ever paid. That Zidane's record had been ephemerally broken previously in June 2009, when Real Madrid had agreeded to buy Kaká from AC Milan for a fee that was, for a few days, the first one to exceed the Zizou's tranfer in pounds sterling. The club's record sale came on 1 September 2008, when they sold Robinho to Manchester City for €42 million (£32.5 million).
During most home matches the majority of the seats in the stadium are occupied by season ticket holders, of which there are average of 68,670. To become a season ticket holder one must first be a socio, or club member. In addition to members, the club has more than 1,800 peñas (official, club-affiliated supporters' groups) in Spain and around the world. Real Madrid has the highest average all-time attendance in Spanish football and regularly attracts over 65,000 fans to Santiago Bernabéu; it was the second best-supported La Liga team in the 2004–05 season, with an average gate of 71,900. Real Madrid's hardcore supporters are the so-called Ultras Sur supporters. They are known for their extreme right-wing politics. The Ultras Sur have developed an alliance with other right wing groups, most notably S.S. LazioIrriducibili fans. On several occasions they have racially abused opposing players, and have been investigated by UEFA for doing so.
There is often a fierce rivalry between the two strongest teams in a national league, and this is particularly the case in La Liga, where the game between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona is known as 'The Classic' (El Clásico). From the start of national competitions the clubs were seen as representatives of two rival regions in Spain: Catalonia and Castile, as well as of the two cities. The rivalry reflects what many regard as the political and cultural tensions felt between Catalans and the Castilians, seen by one author as a re-enactment of the Spanish Civil War.
During the dictatorships of Primo de Rivera and especially of Francisco Franco (1939–1975), all regional cultures were suppressed. All of the languages spoken in Spanish territory, except Spanish (Castilian) itself, were officially banned. Symbolising the Catalan people's desire for freedom, FC Barcelona became 'More than a club' (Més que un club) for the Catalans. According to Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, the best way for the Catalans to demonstrate their identity was by joining FC Barcelona. It was less risky than joining a clandestine anti-Franco movement, and allowed them to express their dissidence.
On the other hand, Real Madrid was widely seen as the embodiment of the sovereign oppressive centralism and the fascist regime at management level and beyond (Santiago Bernabeu, the former club president for whom the Merengues stadium is named, fought with los nacionales). However, during the Spanish Civil War, members of both clubs such as Josep Sunyol and Rafael Sánchez Guerra suffered at the hands of Franco supporters.
During the 1950s the rivalry was exacerbated further when there was a controversy surrounding the transfer of Alfredo di Stéfano, who finally played for Real Madrid and was key to their subsequent success. The 1960s saw the rivalry reach the European stage when they met twice at the knock-out rounds of the European Cup. The latest European encounter between the clubs, in 2002, was dubbed the "Match of The Century" by Spanish media, and was watched by more than 500 million people.
Real Madrid supporters during the 2006 El Derbi madrileño match held on Bernabéu
The club's nearest neighbour is Atlético Madrid, a rivalry being shared between fans of both football teams. Although Atlético was originally founded by three Basque students in 1903, it was joined in 1904 by dissident members of Madrid FC. Further tensions came because initially Real supporters came from the middle class while the Atlético supporters were drawn from the working class. Today these distinctions are largely blurred. They met for the first time on 21 February 1929 in matchday three of the first League Championship at the former Chamartín. It was the first official derby of the new tournament, and Real won 2–1. The rivalry first gained international attention in 1959 during the European Cup when the two clubs met in the semi-final. Real won the first leg 2–1 at the Bernabéu while Atlético won 1–0 at the Metropolitano. The tie went to a replay and The Whites won 2–1. Atlético, however, gained some revenge when, led by former Real Madrid coach José Villalonga, it defeated The Whites in two successive Copa del Generalísimo finals in 1960 and 1961.
Between 1961 and 1989, when Real dominated La Liga, only Atlético offered it any serious challenge, winning Liga titles in 1966, 1970, 1973 and 1977. In 1965, Atlético became the first team to beat Real at the Bernabéu in eight years. Real Madrid's record against Atlético in more recent times is very favorable. A high point coming in the 2002–03 season, when The Whites clinched the La Liga title after an impressive victory at Atlético 0–4 at the Vicente Calderón Stadium.
It was under Florentino Pérez's first presidency (2000–2006) that Real Madrid started its ambition of becoming the world's richest professional football club. The club ceded part of its training grounds to the city of Madrid in 2001, and sold the rest to four corporations: Repsol YPF, Mutua Automovilística de Madrid, Sacyr Vallehermoso and OHL. The sale eradicated the club's debts, paving the way for it to buy the world's most expensive players such as Zinédine Zidane, Luís Figo, Ronaldo and David Beckham. The city had previously rezoned the training grounds for development, a move which in turn increased their value, and then bought the site. The EU-commission started an investigation into whether the city overpaid for the property, to be considered a form of state subsidy.
The sale of the training ground for office buildings cleared Real Madrid's debts of €270m and enabled the club to embark upon an unprecedented spending spree which brought big-name players to the club. In addition, profit from the sale was spent on a state-of-the-art training complex on the city's outskirts. Although Pérez's policy resulted in increased financial success from the exploitation of the club's high marketing potential around the world, especially in Asia, it came under increasing criticism for being too focused on marketing the Real Madrid brand, and not enough on the performances of the team.
By September 2007, Real Madrid was considered the most valuable football brand in Europe by BBDO. In 2008, it was ranked the second most valuable club in football, with a value of €951 mil (£640 million / $1.285 billion), only beaten by Manchester United, which was valued at €1.333 billion (£900 million). In 2010, Real Madrid had the highest turnover in football worldwide. In September 2009, Real Madrid's management announced plans to open its own dedicated theme park by 2013.
A study at Harvard University concluded that Real Madrid "is one of the 20 most important brand names and the only one in which its executives, the players, are well-known. We have some spectacular figures in regard to worldwide support of the club. There are an estimated 287 million people worldwide who follow Real Madrid." 
In 2010, Forbes evaluated Real Madrid's worth to be around €992 million (USD $1,323 million), ranking them second after Manchester United, based on figures from the 2008–09 season. According to Deloitte, Real Madrid had a recorded revenue of €401 million in the same period, ranking first.
Along with FC Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, and Osasuna, Real Madrid is organised as a registered association. Unlike a limited company, it is not possible to purchase shares in the club, but only membership. The members of Real Madrid, called socios, form an assembly of delegates which is the highest governing body of the club. As of 2010 the club has 60,000 socios. At the end of the 2009–10 season, the club board of directories stated that Real Madrid had a net debt of €244.6 million, 82.1 million lower than the previous fiscal year.
Spanish teams are limited to three players without EU citizenship. The squad list includes only the principal nationality of each player; several non-European players on the squad have dual citizenship with an EU country. Also, players from the ACP countries—countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific that are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement—are not counted against non-EU quotas due to the Kolpak ruling.