Real Madrid CF
|Full name||Real Madrid Club de Fútbol|
|Nickname(s)||Los Blancos (The Whites)|
Los Merengues (The Meringues)
Los Vikingos (The Vikings)
La Casa Blanca (The White House)
|Founded||6 March 1902|
as Madrid Football Club
|Ground||Estadio Santiago Bernabéu|
|Head coach||Zinedine Zidane|
|2019–20||La Liga, 1st of 20|
|Active departments of Real Madrid|
|Closed departments of Real Madrid|
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol (Spanish pronunciation: [reˈal maˈðɾið ˈkluβ ðe ˈfuðβol] (listen), meaning Royal Madrid Football Club), commonly referred to as Real Madrid, is a Spanish professional football 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 is Spanish for "royal" and was bestowed to the club by King Alfonso XIII in 1920 together with the royal crown in the emblem. The team has played its home matches in the 81,044-capacity Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in downtown Madrid since 1947. Unlike most European sporting entities, Real Madrid's members (socios) have owned and operated the club throughout its history.
The club was estimated to be worth €3.8 billion ($4.2 billion) in 2019, and it was the second highest-earning football club in the world, with an annual revenue of €757,3 million in 2019. The club is one of the most widely supported teams in the world. Real Madrid is one of three founding members of La Liga that have never been relegated from the top division since its inception in 1929, along with Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. The club has long been considered a representative of the Spanish establishment, with Francisco Franco being heavily linked to Los Blancos during his rule, and holds many long-standing politically charged rivalries, most notably El Clásico with Barcelona and El Derbi with Atlético 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, which the club won five times in the space of seven years. This team, which consisted of players Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskás, Francisco Gento, and Raymond Kopa, is considered by some in the sport to be the greatest team of all time.
In domestic football, the club has won 66 trophies; a record 34 La Liga titles, 19 Copa del Rey, 11 Supercopa de España, a Copa Eva Duarte, and a Copa de la Liga. In European and worldwide competitions, Real Madrid have won a record 26 trophies; a record 13 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Cups and four UEFA Super Cups. In international football, they have achieved a record seven club world championships.[note 1]
Real Madrid was recognised as the FIFA Club of the 20th Century on 11 December 2000 with 42.35% of the vote, 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, then made it three in a row and four in five seasons in May 2018, extending their lead atop the UEFA club rankings.
Early years (1902–1945)
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 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, conflict between members caused some of them to leave and create a new club, Nueva Sociedad de Football (New Society of Football), to distinguish themselves from Sky Football. Among the dissenters were Julián Palacios, 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 this 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 the title the following year, becoming the first team to win the championship twice.
On 14 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 assaulted by Madrid fans. However, none of these allegations have been proven and 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 Yeste and European success (1945–1978)
Santiago Bernabéu became 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. Beginning in 1953, he embarked upon a strategy of signing world-class players from abroad, the most prominent being 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 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 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 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 was also European Cup runners-up in 1962 and 1964. In the 1970s, Real Madrid won five league championships and three 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. FIFA decreed three days of mourning to honour him during the tournament. The following year, the club organized the first edition of the Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu in memory of its former president.
Quinta del Buitre and sustained success (1980–2000)
By the early 1980s, Real Madrid had lost its grasp on the Liga title until a new cohort 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 youth academy. With La Quinta del Buitre (reduced to four members when 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 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 were proclaimed league champions, 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, they defeated Juventus 1–0 in the final with a goal from Mijatović.
In November 1999 Vicente del Bosque took over as coach. For the last season of the century, 1999–2000, the squad was still led by the older veterans such as Fernando Hierro, Fernando Redondo, Roberto Carlos and Raúl González. Real added the budding young talents of Fernando Morientes, Guti and Iker Casillas, supported by the arrival of 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 eighth time, following a 3–0 victory over Valencia in the final, with goals from Morientes, McManaman and Raúl. This victory marked the beginning of a successful period in Real Madrid's history.
Florentino Pérez era (2000–2006)
In July 2000, Florentino Pérez was elected club 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, Ronaldo, Luís Figo, David Beckham and Fabio Cannavaro. It is debatable whether the gamble paid off, as 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.
The few days after the capturing of the 2003 Liga title were surrounded with controversy. The first controversial decision came when Pérez sacked winning coach 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, with newly appointed coach Carlos Queiroz, started their domestic league slowly after a hard win over Real Betis.
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 27 February 2006, Florentino Pérez resigned.
Ramón Calderón era (2006–2009)
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 Liga title in 2007 for the first time in four years, but Capello was nonetheless sacked at the end of the campaign. The title was won on 17 June, where Real faced Mallorca at the Bernabéu while Barcelona and Sevilla, the other title challengers, faced Gimnàstic de Tarragona and Villarreal, respectively. At half-time, Real were 0–1 down, while Barcelona had surged ahead into a 0–3 lead in Tarragona. However, three goals in the last half-hour secured Madrid a 3–1 win and their first league title since 2003.
Second Florentino Pérez era (2009–present)
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 Milan for a record-breaking (in pounds sterling) sum of £56 million, and then breaking the record again by purchasing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for £80 million.
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 Liga campaign on 17 April (which ended 1–1 with penalty goals for both sides), the Copa del Rey final (which ended 1–0 to Madrid) and the controversial two-legged Champions League semifinal on 27 April and 2 May (3–1 loss on aggregate) to Barcelona.
In the 2011–12 La Liga season, Real Madrid won La Liga for a record 32nd time in the league's 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 +89 and 16 away wins, with 32 wins overall. In the same season, Cristiano Ronaldo become 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 (60), and became the first player ever to score against all 19 opposition teams in a single season.
Real Madrid began the 2012–13 season winning the Supercopa de España, defeating Barcelona on away goals, but finished second in the league competition. A major transfer of the season was signing of Luka Modrić from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee in the region of £33 million. After a disappointing extra time loss to Atlético Madrid in the 2013 Copa del Rey Final, Pérez announced the departure of José Mourinho at the end of the season by "mutual agreement".
La Décima and European treble
On 25 June 2013, Carlo Ancelotti succeeded Mourinho to become the manager of Real Madrid on a three-year deal, with Zinedine Zidane named as one of his assistants. On 1 September 2013, the long-awaited transfer of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur was announced. The transfer of the Welshman was reportedly a new world record signing, with the transfer price approximated at €100 million. In Ancelotti's first season at the club, Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey, with Bale scoring the winner in the final against Barcelona. On 24 May, Real Madrid defeated city rivals Atlético Madrid in the 2014 Champions League Final, winning their first European title since 2002, and becoming the first team to win ten European Cups/Champions League titles, an achievement known as "La Décima".
After winning the 2014 Champions League, Real Madrid signed goalkeeper Keylor Navas, midfielder Toni Kroos and attacking midfielder James Rodríguez. The club won the 2014 UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla, 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 La Liga 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. The club failed to retain the Champions League (losing to Juventus in the semi-finals) and the Copa del Rey, and also failed to land the league title (finishing two points and a place behind champions Barcelona), shortcomings that all preceded Ancelotti's dismissal on 25 May 2015.
On 3 June 2015, Rafael Benítez was confirmed as the new Real Madrid manager, signing a three-year contract. Real Madrid remained unbeaten in the league until a 3–2 loss at Sevilla on the matchday 11. This was followed by a 0–4 home loss in the first Clásico of the season against Barcelona. In the Copa del Rey Round of 32, Real fielded an ineligible player in Denis Cheryshev in a 1–3 first leg win away against Cádiz, resulting in the second leg being cancelled and Real being disqualified. Benítez was relieved of his duties on 4 January 2016 following allegations of unpopularity with supporters, displeasure with players and a failure to get good results against top teams.
On 4 January 2016, Benítez's departure was announced along with the promotion of Zinedine Zidane to his first head coaching role. Under Zidane, Real ended up finishing in second place, just one point behind champions Barcelona, in the 2015–16 La Liga. On 28 May, Real Madrid won their 11th Champions League title, extending their record for most successes in the competition, 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. On 10 December 2016, Madrid won their 35th-straight match without a loss, which set a new club record. On 18 December 2016, Madrid defeated Japanese club Kashima Antlers 4–2 in the final of the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup. With a 3–3 draw at Sevilla on 12 January 2017, Madrid's unbeaten run extended 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 Sevilla in La Liga three days later. In May that year, Madrid won the 2016–17 La Liga for a record 33rd time, their first title in five years. On 3 June, 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. Real Madrid's title was its 12th, 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 in the history of Real Madrid.
Real Madrid won the 2017 UEFA Super Cup 2–1 against Manchester United. Five days later, Real Madrid beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the first leg of the 2017 Supercopa de España, before winning the second leg 2–0, ending a 24 consecutive match scoring record of Barcelona in El Clásico matches, and with a 5–1 aggregate score. On 16 December 2017, Real beat Brazilian club Grêmio 1–0 in the final of the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup and became the first team to retain the trophy. Real Madrid also won their third successive UEFA Champions League in 2018, becoming 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 European Cup/Champions League since Bayern Munich in 1976. On 31 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.
On 12 June, Real Madrid named Julen Lopetegui, the head coach of the Spanish national team, as their new manager. It was announced that he would officially become manager after the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, the Spanish national team sacked Lopetegui a day prior to the tournament, stating that he negotiated terms with the club without informing them. The club then began aggressively re-shaping the squad in the summer of 2018, which included the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus for a reported €100 million. After a string of poor performances and losses from the team, Lopetegui was dismissed and replaced by then Castilla coach, Santiago Solari. On 22 December 2018, Real Madrid beat Al Ain by a 4–1 margin in the final of 2018 FIFA Club World Cup. With their win, Real Madrid became the outright record winners of the Club World Cup with four titles. They are considered to have been the world champions for grand total of seven times because FIFA officially recognizes the Intercontinental Cup as the predecessor of FIFA Club World Cup. They also extended the record for most consecutive titles with their third in a row. On 11 March 2019, Real Madrid reinstated Zidane as the head coach of the club.
On 12 January 2020, Real Madrid beat Atlético Madrid in a penalty shootout to win their eleventh Supercopa de España title. After a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Madrid returned in June with ten wins in a row to capture the team's 34th league title.
Crests and colours
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," meaning "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.
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Real Madrid has maintained the white shirt for its home kit throughout the history of the club. There was, however, one season that the shirt and shorts were not both white. It was an initiative undertaken by Escobal and Quesada in 1925; the two were traveling through England when they noticed the kit worn by London-based team Corinthian F.C., one of the most famous teams at the time known for its elegance and sportsmanship. It was decided that Real Madrid would wear black shorts in an attempt to replicate the English team, but the initiative lasted just one year. After being eliminated from the cup by Barcelona with a 1–5 defeat in Madrid and a 2–0 defeat in Catalonia, President Parages decided to return to an all-white kit, claiming that the other kit brought bad luck. 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 has 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. English club Leeds United permanently switched their blue shirt for a white one in the 1960s, to emulate the dominant Real Madrid of the era.
Real's traditional away colours are all blue or all purple. Since the advent of the replica kit market, the club has also released various other one colour designs, including red, green, orange and black. The club's kit is 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 and 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 shirt sponsor from 2007 until 2013 was bwin.com following the economic problems of BenQ Siemens. Fly Emirates became their shirt sponsor in 2013, and in 2017 the club renewed their sponsorship with the airliner, signing a deal until 2022 worth €70 million per year. In 2015, Madrid signed a new 10-year contract with Adidas believed to be worth a total of £850 million (€1 billion), earning £59 million (€64 million) per season. The contract includes a clause sanctioning penalty or agreement termination anytime if Real Madrid fail to qualify for the European competitions or is relegated from La Liga.
Kit suppliers and shirt sponsors
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
|2015–2020 (6 years)||Total €1 billion|
|2020–2028 (8 years)||Total €1.1 billion|
Note: Early kit contract termination clauses are being activated at any time depending on team's on-pitch performance.
|Field size||107 m × 72 m (351 ft × 236 ft)|
|Broke ground||27 October 1944|
|Opened||14 December 1947|
|Architect||Manuel Muñoz Monasterio, Luis Alemany Soler, Antonio Lamela|
After moving between grounds, the team moved to the Campo de O'Donnell in 1912, which remained its home ground for 11 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, and thus 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 the present name until 1955. The first match at the Bernabéu was played between Real Madrid and the Portuguese club Belenenses and won by Los Blancos, 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 areas were removed in 1998–99 in response to UEFA regulations which forbids standing at matches in UEFA competitions), countered to some extent by expansions. The latest capacity is 81,044 spectators. A plan to add a retractable roof has been announced. Real Madrid has the fourth-highest of the average attendances of European football clubs, behind only Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Manchester United.
The Bernabéu has hosted the 1964 UEFA European Championship final, the 1982 FIFA World Cup final, the 1957, 1969 and 1980 European Cup finals and the 2010 UEFA Champions League Final. The stadium has its own Madrid Metro station along the 10 line called Santiago Bernabéu. On 14 November 2007, the Bernabéu was upgraded to Elite Football Stadium status by UEFA.
On 9 May 2006, the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium was inaugurated in the Real Madrid City, where Real Madrid usually trains. The inaugural match was played between Real Madrid and Stade de Reims, a rematch of the 1956 European Cup final. Real Madrid won the match 6–1, with goals from Sergio Ramos, Antonio Cassano (2), Roberto Soldado (2) and José Manuel Jurado. The venue is now part of the Ciudad Real Madrid, the club's training facility 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 legend Alfredo Di Stéfano. Since 14 June 2020, the stadium is used by the first team to play their remaining 2019–20 La Liga home games due to remodelling works at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
Records and statistics
Raúl holds the record for most Real Madrid appearances, having played 741 first-team matches from 1994 to 2010. Iker Casillas comes second with 725 appearances, followed by Manuel Sanchis, Jr., having played 710 times. The record for a goalkeeper is held by Iker Casillas, with 725 appearances. With 170 caps (167 while at the club), Sergio Ramos is Real's most capped international player.
Cristiano Ronaldo is Real Madrid's all-time top goalscorer, with 450 goals. Six other players have also scored over 200 goals for Real: Alfredo Di Stéfano (1953–64), Santillana (1971–88), Ferenc Puskás (1958–66), Hugo Sánchez (1985–92), Karim Benzema (2009–current) and the previous goalscoring record-holder Raúl (1994–2010). Cristiano Ronaldo also holds the record for the most league goals scored in one season (48 in 2014–15), alongside being Real's top goalscorer of all time in La Liga history with 311 goals. 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, and is now held by Cristiano Ronaldo with 105 goals. The fastest goal in the history of the club (12 seconds) was scored by the 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 Copa del Rey match in 2006. The current official capacity of the Santiago Bernabéu is 81,044. The club's average attendance in the 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 (34 as of 2019–20) and the most seasons won in a row (five, 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 club also holds the record for winning the European Cup/UEFA Champions League thirteen times and for the most semi-final appearances (28). As of December 2019, Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time top scorer in the UEFA Champions League, with 128 (129 including qualifiers) goals in total, 105 while playing for Real Madrid. The team has the record number of consecutive participations in the European Cup (before it became the Champions League) with 15, from 1955–56 to 1969–70. Among the club's on-field records is a 22-game winning streak in all competitions during the 2014–15 season, a Spanish record and fourth worldwide. The same season the team tied the win-streak for games in the Champions League, with ten. In September 2017, the club equalled the record of the Brazilian club Santos, starring Pelé, by scoring in their 73rd consecutive game.
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 €94 million (£80 million) for the services of Cristiano Ronaldo. The fee of €77.5 million (100 billion lire) for Zinedine Zidane's transfer from Juventus to Real Madrid in 2001 was the previous highest transfer fee ever paid. This record (in pounds sterling) had been broken previously in June 2009, for a few days, when Real Madrid agreed to buy Kaká from Milan for €67 million (£65 million). The transfer of Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale in 2013 was reportedly a new world record signing, with the transfer fee reported at around €100 million. In January 2016, documents pertaining to Bale's transfer were leaked which confirmed a world record transfer fee of €100,759,418. Real Madrid equalled their record signing in 2019, when the club reportedly signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea for €100 million. The club's sale record came on 10 July 2018, when Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo for €100 million.
During most home matches the majority of the seats in the stadium are occupied by season-ticket holders, of which the figure is capped at 65,000. 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 second highest average all-time attendance in Spanish football and regularly attracts over 74,000 fans to the Bernabéu. One of the best supported teams globally, Real Madrid was the first sports team (and first brand) to reach 100 million fans on Facebook in April 2017.
Real Madrid's hardcore supporters are the so-called Ultras Sur supporters, or simply Ultras. They are known for their extreme right-wing politics, akin to Barcelona's hardcore supporters group Boixos Nois. The Ultras Surs have developed an alliance with other right wing groups, most notably Lazio Irriducibili fans, and have also developed an alliance with left-wing groups. On several occasions, they have racially abused opposing players and have been investigated by UEFA for doing so. Florentino Pérez took it upon himself to ban the Ultras from the Bernabéu and assign their seats to the general public. This decision was controversial with some of the Bernabéu faithful, however, as the lively atmosphere of games would suffer as a result. The Ultras have since held protests outside the Bernabéu and have demanded to be reinstated and allowed to enter the grounds.
Questioned over Pope Francis' adherence to 2014 FIFA Club World Cup Final opponents San Lorenzo, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos stated, "In the semi-finals we noticed the love from supporters in Marrakesh and it seemed like we were playing at home. That sums up the greatness of this team. Madrid is God's team and the team of the world".
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 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. Over the years, the record from Real Madrid and Barcelona is 95 victories for Madrid, 96 victories for Barcelona, and 51 draws.
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, 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 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 Bernabéu, the former club president for whom Real Madrid's stadium is named, fought on the Nationalist side during the Spanish Civil War. During the war, however, members of both clubs, such as Josep Sunyol and Rafael Sánchez Guerra, suffered at the hands of Francoists.
During the 1950s, the rivalry was exacerbated further when there was a controversy surrounding the transfer of Alfredo Di Stéfano, who eventually played for Real Madrid and was key to their subsequent success. The 1960s saw the rivalry reach the European stage when they met twice in a controversial knock-out round of the European Cup, with Madrid receiving unfavourable treatment from the referee. In 2002, the European encounter between the clubs was dubbed the "Match of The Century" by Spanish media, and Madrid's win was watched by more than 500 million people. The fixture has featured memorable goal celebrations from both teams, often involving mocking the opposition. A notable example of this occurred in October 1999 when Raúl silenced the hostile crowd of 100,000 Barcelona fans when he scored and then celebrated his goal by putting a finger to his lips as though to tell them to be quiet.
El Derbi madrileño
The club's nearest neighbour is Atlético Madrid, a rivalry being shared between fans of both football teams. Although Atlético was founded by three Basque students in 1903, it was joined in 1904 by dissident members of Madrid FC. Tensions escalated further after Atlético were merged with the football team of the Spanish airforce (and thus renamed Atlético Aviación), and in the 1940s, Atlético was perceived as the preferred team of Franco's regime before he revelled in Real's European success in the 1950s. Furthermore, Real supporters initially came from the middle and upper classes while the Atlético supporters were drawn from the working class. Today, however, 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, which Real won 2–1. Atlético, however, gained some revenge when, led by former Real Madrid coach José Villalonga, it defeated its city rivals 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 Real clinched the La Liga title after a 0–4 victory at Atlético at the Vicente Calderón Stadium. Atlético's first win over its city rivals since 1999 came with the Copa del Rey win in May 2013. In 2013–14, Real and Atlético were finalists of UEFA Champions League, the first final which hosted two clubs from same city. Real Madrid triumphed with 4–1 in extra time. On 7 February 2015, Real suffered their first defeat in 14 years at the Vicente Calderón, a 4–0 loss. On 28 May 2016, Real and Atlético met again for the Champions League title in Milan, which resulted in a win for Real after a penalty shootout.
El Viejo Clásico
A further minor rivalry exists between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. This is known as El Viejo Clásico (the old classic), so named as the two clubs were dominant in the first half of the 20th century, meeting in nine Copa del Rey finals including the first in 1903. Until 10 December 2011, this fixture was the most played in the history of Spanish football, when it was surpassed by El Clásico.
Athletic Bilbao, who operate a policy of only using local players, have long since ceased to be a competitive rival to clubs such as Real Madrid who scour the globe for the best talent; the Lions have collected no major trophies since 1984 and won only two of the 26 matches between the teams from 2005–06 to 2016–17. However, the matches remain keenly fought due to their historical and cultural significance, with some parallels to the political aspect of the Barcelona/Catalonia rivalry as Athletic are the largest club in the Basque region.
Real Madrid and Germany's Bayern Munich are two of the most successful clubs in the UEFA Champions League/European Cup competition, Real winning thirteen times and Bayern winning six times. Although they have never met in a final, Real Madrid versus Bayern is the match that has historically been played most often in the Champions League/European Cup with 26 matches (12 wins for Madrid, 11 wins for Bayern, with 3 draws), with several controversial incidents occurring due to the great importance of most of their meetings. Real Madrid supporters often refer to Bayern as the "Bestia negra" ("Black Beast").
During the 2010s, the two teams met in the 2011–12 Champions League semi-finals, which ended 3–3 on aggregate (Bayern won 3–1 on penalties after extra time, but lost the final at their own stadium), and then at the same stage in the 2013–14 edition with Real Madrid winning 5–0 on aggregate on their way to winning the competition. They were also drawn together in the 2016–17 quarter-finals; Real Madrid won 6–3 on aggregate and subsequently lifted the trophy. The following year, they met in the semi-finals, with Real Madrid again progressing 4–3.
Until the 2018–19 season when they were twice defeated in Madrid by three-goal margins, Real's biggest loss at home in the Champions League had been at the hands of Bayern on 29 February 2000, 2–4.
Another match that is often played in the European Cup/Champions League is Real Madrid vs Juventus, the most decorated Italian club. They have played each other in 21 matches and have an almost perfectly balanced record (9 wins for Juventus, 10 wins for Real Madrid, 2 draws), as well as nearly the same goal difference (Madrid ahead 26 to 25).
Their first meeting was in the 1961–62 European Cup, which Real Madrid won 3–1 in a replay held in Paris. At the quarter-final stage in 1995–96, Juventus prevailed 2–1 and went on to lift the trophy. In the 1998 UEFA Champions League Final between the teams in Amsterdam, Real Madrid won 1–0. They met again in the 2002–03 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, when both clubs were in their respective 'golden eras'; Juventus won 4–3 on aggregate. By that time, star midfielder Zinedine Zidane, who played for the Bianconeri in the 1998 final, had moved from Turin to Madrid in a world record €77 million deal.
In the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, former Real Madrid player Álvaro Morata scored one goal in each leg to take Juventus to the final, winning 3–2 on aggregate. They faced off again in the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final in Cardiff, which Real Madrid won 4–1. Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals in the match, and was named man of the match.
The latest Champions League meeting was in the 2017–18 quarter-finals, which Real Madrid won 4–3 on aggregate; the tie ended in dramatic and controversial fashion, with a debatable penalty awarded to Real Madrid in the last minute of the second leg after Juventus built a 3–0 lead at the Bernabeu to pull level in the tie following a defeat at their Juventus Stadium by the same scoreline. Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals over the two matches including the decisive penalty and a spectacular overhead kick, and having won the Champions League with Madrid for a fourth time, he transferred to Juventus a few months later for a €100 million transfer fee. In previous decades, Luis Del Sol, Michael Laudrup, Robert Jarni, Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson also featured for both clubs.
Finances and ownership
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 Zinedine 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 European 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 €270 million 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 million (£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 (US$1.323 billion), 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 Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, Real Madrid is organised as a registered association. This means that Real Madrid is owned by its supporters who elect the club president. The club president cannot invest his own money into the club and the club can only spend what it earns, which is mainly derived through merchandise sales, television rights and ticket sales. 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's board of directors stated that Real Madrid had a net debt of €244.6 million, €82.1 million lower than the previous fiscal year. Real Madrid announced that it had a net debt of €170 million after the 2010–11 season. From 2007 to 2011, the club made a net profit of €190 million.
During the 2009–10 season, Real Madrid made €150 million through ticket sales, which was the highest in top-flight football. The club has the highest number of shirt sales a season, around 1.5 million. For the 2010–11 season its wage bill totalled €169 million, which was second-highest in Europe behind Barcelona. However, its wage bill to turnover ratio was the best in Europe at 43 percent, ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal at 46 percent and 50 percent, respectively. In 2013, Forbes listed the club as the world's most valuable sports team, worth $3.3 billion. It was valued at €3.47 billion ($4.1 billion) in 2018, and in the 2016–17 season it was the second highest-earning football club in the world, with an annual revenue of €674.6 million. The second highest paid sports team in the world – after Barcelona – in November 2018 the average first-team pay at Real Madrid was £8.1m ($10.6m) per year.
Real Madrid was the featured club in the second installment of the Goal! football movie trilogy, Goal! 2: Living the Dream... (2007). The film follows former Newcastle United star Santiago Muñez as he is first scouted, and then signed by Real Madrid for the 2005–06 season. The film's creators wanted to put emphasis on the changes in Muñez's life after his move to Madrid. Production was done with the full support of UEFA, allowing the film crew to use many real life players in cameo roles. Real Madrid squad members featured in the film included Iker Casillas, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Raúl, Sergio Ramos, Robinho, Michael Owen, Míchel Salgado, Júlio Baptista, Steve McManaman and Iván Helguera. Non-Real Madrid players to make cameo appearances included Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o, Andrés Iniesta, Pablo Aimar, Freddie Ljungberg, Cesc Fàbregas and Santiago Cañizares. In the film, both Florentino Pérez and Alfredo Di Stéfano presented the fictional player Muñez to the club after his signing.
Real, The Movie is a 2005 part feature, part documentary film that showcases the worldwide passion for Real Madrid. Produced by the club and directed by Borja Manso, it follows five sub-stories of fans from around the world and their love for the club. Along with the fictional portion of the film, it also contains real footage of the squad, during training at Ciudad Real Madrid, matches, and interviews. Although the film mentions all of the squad, it mainly focuses on galácticos such as David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Raúl, Luís Figo, Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, and Roberto Carlos, among others. The film was originally produced in Spanish, but has been dubbed for their worldwide fanbase.
The book White Storm: 100 years of Real Madrid by Phil Ball was the first English-language history of Real Madrid. Published in 2002, it talks about the most successful moments of the club during its first centenary, having been translated into various languages. In late 2011, Real Madrid released a digital music album, entitled Legends, and a remix of the club's anthem, "Himno del Real Madrid," was released as the first single from the album.
Real Madrid TV
Real Madrid TV is an encrypted digital television channel, operated by Real Madrid and specialising in the club. The channel is available in Spanish and English. It is located at Ciudad Real Madrid in Valdebebas (Madrid), Real Madrid's training centre.
Hala Madrid is a magazine published quarterly for the Real Madrid club members and the Madridistas Fan Club card holders. The phrase Hala Madrid, meaning "Forward Madrid" or "Go Madrid", is also the title of the club's official anthem, which is often sung by the Madridistas (the club's fans). The magazine includes reports on the club's matches in the previous month, as well as information about the reserve and youth teams. Features often include interviews with players, both past and present, and the club's historic matches.
In 2007, Spanish game publisher Virgin Play signed a deal with the club to make officially licensed Real Madrid video games. The only one released under the deal (due to Virgin Play's liquidation in September 2009) would end up being Real Madrid: The Game, which was developed by Atomic Planet Entertainment and was published under Virgin Play's publishing division V.2 Play in May 2009 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Windows, Wii and Nintendo DS exclusively in European territories Virgin Play released their products in. The game featured a career mode with a mixture of role-playing and simulation as well as arcade-styled Football gameplay.
- S shared record
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 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.
- As of 7 September 2020
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Other players under contract
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Current technical staff
|Head coach||Zinedine Zidane|
|Assistant coach|| David Bettoni|
|Fitness coach||Grégory Dupont|
|Goalkeeping coach||Roberto Vázquez|
|Fitness coach/Sports therapist||Javier Mallo|
|Sports therapist||José Carlos G. Parrales|
- Last updated: 8 July 2019
|1st Vice-president||Fernando Fernández Tapias|
|2nd Vice-president||Eduardo Fernández de Blas|
|2nd Vice-president||Pedro López Jiménez|
|Honorary president||Francisco Gento|
|Secretary of the Board||Enrique Sánchez González|
|Members||Ángel Luis Heras Aguado|
Santiago Aguadi García
Jerónimo Farré Muncharaz
Enrique Pérez Rodriguez
Manuel Cerezo Velázquez
José Sánchez Bernal
Gumersindo Santamaría Gil
Raúl Ronda Ortiz
José Manuel Otero Lastre
Nicolás Martín-Sanz García
Catalina Miñarro Brugarolas
- Last updated: 6 March 2019
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