Real Madrid Club Profile

A match at Santiago Bernabeu, the Real Madrid stadium

Dale Harvey / Creative Commons

One of world soccer’s richest and most successful clubs, Real Madrid don’t do things in half measures. They can regularly be seen outspending the world’s other clubs on the transfer market, with the word “galactico” (meaning superstar) now a recognized term in football circles. The galactico project was started by president Florentino Perez at the beginning of the millennium, with the philosophy of signing the world’s very best players for massive transfer fees.

Superstars

Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham were the first set of superstars arriving through the Santiago Bernabeu’s revolving doors between 2000 and 2003. Perez’s first tenure came to an end in 2006, but he returned in 2009, signing Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso, dubbed “the second galacticos”.

With the aid of such supreme players, and homegrown stars Raul Gonzalez and Iker Casillas, Real Madrid have won six La Liga titles and six European Cups since the turn of the century.

When Jose Mourinho replaced Manuel Pellegrini as coach in 2010, he offloaded stalwarts Raul and Guti as he looked to make his own print on the history of this famous club.

Quick Facts

  • Founded: 1902
  • Home Ground (Capacity): Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid (80,354)
  • Nicknames: Merengues
  • Home Colors: White
  • Top Goalscorer All-Time: Cristiano Ronaldo (450 goals)
  • First Division / La Liga Titles: (33) 1931–32, 1932–33, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1971-72, 1974-75, 1975-76, 1977-78, 1978-79, 1979-80, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1994-95, 1996-97, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2011-12, 2016-17
  • Spanish Cup / Copa del Rey Titles: (19) 1904-1905, 1905-1906, 1906-1907, 1907-1908, 1916-1917, 1933-1934, 1935-1936, 1945-1946, 1946-1947, 1961-1962, 1969-1970, 1973-1974, 1974-1975, 1979-1980, 1981-1982, 1988-1989, 1992-1993, 2010-11, 2013-14
  • European Cup / Champions League: (13) 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • UEFA Cup: (2) 1985, 1986
  • Intercontinental Cup: (3) 1960, 1998, 2002
  • European Super Cup: (4) 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017

The Team

  • Current Coach: Julen Lopetegui
  • Top Goalscorer 2017-18: Cristiano Ronaldo (44 in all competitions)
  • Captain: Sergio Ramos
  • 2017-18 League Finish: 3rd

History

After being officially founded in 1902, Real Madrid wasted little time in reeling off four Copa del Rey triumphs between 1905 and 1908. Their first Spanish Championship triumph arrived in the fourth edition of the competition in 1932, and they backed that up with another title the following year.

The 1950s and 60s were truly Real Madrid’s time. The Merengues walked away with 12 titles over the two decades and also began their love affair with the European Cup. Indeed, they claimed the first edition in 1956, coming from 2-0 down against French club Reims to win 4-3 in true Real Madrid fashion. They could boast the unique talents of Alfredo Di Stefano who made his debut on 23rd September 1953, the actual day he arrived in the city with his wife and daughters to pass a medical.

Ferenc Puskas was another great of this era as Real set about crushing all competition. The duo scored hat-tricks in a 10-1 win over Las Palmas in 1959 and helped the club to multiple European Cups.

High Expectations

Championship titles were on tap throughout the 70s and 80s, and it was such dominance that led FIFA to vote Real Madrid the most successful club of the 20th century.

Real Madrid is the only club to have a European Cup trophy on-site having won the title five years in a row.

Such an illustrious history naturally means high expectations in the pressure cooker environment of the Bernabeu. Supporters expect to see winning and entertaining soccer and are not afraid to make their feelings known to the players if expectations are not being met.

Several managers have bitten the dust, despite winning trophies. In 1998, Jupp Heynckes was fired at the end of the season despite winning the European Cup. Even more shockingly, Real decided not to renew the contract of Vicente Del Bosque in 2003 after he had led the club to two European Cups and two Liga titles in four years.