Real Madrid Club de Fútbol (Royal Madrid Football Club), commonly known as Real Madrid, or simply as Real, is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain.
Founded in 1902 as Madrid Football Club, the team 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 is the most valuable sports team in the world, worth €2.5 billion ($3.4 billion) and the world’s highest-earning football club for 2013–14, with an annual revenue of €549.5 million.The club is one of the most widely supported teams in the world. Real Madrid is one of three founding members of the Primera División that have never been relegated from the top division, along with Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. The club holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably El Clásico with Barcelona and the El Derbi madrileño with Atlético Madrid.
Real Madrid established itself as a major force in both Spanish and European football during the 1950s. The club won five consecutive European Cups, and reached the final seven times. This success was replicated in the league, where the club won five times in the space of seven years. This team, which consisted of players such as Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskás, Gento, Raymond Kopa, and Santamaría, is considered by some in the sport to be the greatest team of all time.
In domestic football, the club has won a record 32 La Liga titles, 19 Copa del Rey, 9 Supercopa de España, 1 Copa Eva Duarte, and 1 Copa de la Liga. In international football, the club has won a record 10 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles and a joint record 3 Intercontinental Cups, as well as 2 UEFA Cups, 2 UEFA Super Cups and a FIFA Club World Cup.
Real Madrid was recognised as the FIFA Club of the 20th Century on 23 December 2000, and named Best European Club of the 20th Century by the IFFHS on 11 May 2010. The club received the FIFA Centennial Order of Merit in 2004. The club is ranked first in the latest IFFHS Club World Ranking, setting a new ranking-points record. The club also leads the current UEFA club rankings.
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 81 victories for Madrid, 76 victories for Barcelona, and 39 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. During Franco’s regime, however, the blaugrana team was granted profit due to its good relationship with the dictator at management level, even giving two awards to him.
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 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 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.
Isco clearly wasn’t on Rafa Benítez’s plans. The Spanish playmaker did not feature a single minute in the last 3 games played by Real Madrid and was reportedly willing to leave the club and join either Manchester City or Juventus as soon as possible if the situation wasn’t going to change, but Zinedine Zidane’s appointment as the first-team coach has turned the situation around, according to Marca.
Zidane was the main reason why Isco decided to sign for Real Madrid in the summer of 2013. The Frenchman convinced him of joining Real and he also worked closely with him when he was Ancelotti’s assistant coach. Now that Zidane himself is the manager, Isco will surely have more chances to prove he deserves more minutes in this squad, although he will have a hard time trying to be a regular starter in this squad with players like James, Cristiano Ronaldo or Bale in the offensive line.