121 years of Real Madrid: The faces of a success story

121 years of Real Madrid: The faces of a success story

BirthdayThe year is 1902: the word football did not have the meaning it has today and was not associated with as many emotions. But the sport is slowly making a name for itself in Spain. With games in backyards or meadows. But that wasn’t enough for Julián Palacios and ten other football-mad men. They wanted to found a real club and they did so on March 6, 1902. That is exactly 121 years ago today and who has been able to play on the pitch of what is now the most successful club in the world is almost unbelievable. But real.

– Photo: IMAGO”> Enlarge

121 years: Real Madrid have dominated football for decades – Photo: IMAGO

Madrid Foot Ball Club: here to stay

MADRID. The motherland of football is England. Is it[calledButthemothercountryofthemostsuccessfulclubintheworldisSpainThat’saprovenfactRealMadridatitsinceptiononMarch 6, 1902 nor “Madrid Foot Ball Club” has won more titles than any other club in the world in the overall consideration of all tournaments ever held. Just three years after it was founded, it became clear that this new club from Madrid was a winning club. In the then only existing competition in Spain, the Copa del Rey defeated Real Athletic Bilbao 3-0. And since that wasn’t enough, you also won in the four years that followed. When the Spanish league was founded in 1928, Real Madrid immediately ranked among the top places, winning the league title twice in a row in the 1931/32 and 1932/33 seasons.

A very stable Madrid in the years that followed, albeit not always with title luck, was almost driven to ruin as a result of the Spanish civil war from 1936 to 1939, but thanks came Santiago Bernabeu Yeste get back on your feet. Wobbly legs. Not much was left of the former title ambitions and today’s all too well-known arch-rivals Atlético Madrid (then: Atlético Aviación, official club of the Air Force) and FC Barcelona dominated. But that was just the calm before the storm that was to come. The names that came up in the years that followed and made the club what it is today were not on anyone’s list…

Alfredo di Stéfano: Veni Vidi Vici – he came, saw and conquered

A title stat is impressive, but even more impressive and important in recognizing a club that has been of great value in world football for 121 years are the players who have earned those titles. Who made Real Madrid what it is today? Who are the faces that have shaped Madrid football so much? The forerunner of all this success is without a doubt Alfredo di Stefanobecause with his start at Real Madrid in 1953, he lent Real’s football along with players like Francisco Gento or Ferenc Puskás a note reminiscent of a dance. A ballet dance. From then on, the so-called “white ballet” danced its way onto the football podium a total of thirteen times, five of which in a row on initially unknown territory, namely in the European Cup of National Champions. In an eleven-year career, the striker scored 308 goals in 396 games. But that wasn’t the only thing that made him special. It was his leader mentality that made Real Madrid so strong and was lacking, at least internationally, when he left the club for Español Barcelona in 1964.

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Real “craves” for titles again: Emilio Butragueño

While the white ballet continued to diligently win league titles after Di Stéfano’s departure, it forgot how to dance on the international stage. That changed with the „Fifth of the Vulture“-Ära, five players from the academy who finally brought momentum back to Real Madrid’s international tournament appearances. One name stood out among them: Emilio Butragueño, “the Vulture” (Spanish for vulture). In addition to five league titles in a row (1986 to 1990), the UEFA Cup was also brought to Madrid in 1985 and 1986 – not the big European Cup, but still. The Spaniard was unbeatable in terms of game vision and technique, scoring 171 goals in 463 competitive games and raising with them Míchel, Manolo Sanchis, Martin Vázquez and Miguel Pardeza and center forward Hugo Sanchéz took 80s football to a whole new level.

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The “Quinta del Buitre” put the white ballet back on the road to international success – Photo: realmadrid.com

Zinédine Zidane und die „Galácticos“

Slowly but surely there was a knock on the door from Catalonia, louder and louder: FC Barcelona became increasingly dominant in the 1990s and ruled Spanish football with four championship titles in a row. Real Madrid, on the other hand, fell silent. Although they won two championships in 1994/95 and 1996/97, there was a lack of consistency. But Real Madrid wouldn’t be Real Madrid if that hadn’t changed quickly. Because after 32 years of waiting, the time had come: In 1998, “la Séptima”, the seventh Champions League title, was finally won, followed by the eighth coup in 2000 and then it became galactic: The Blancos crowned their 100th anniversary in 2002 with their ninth victory in the Champions League. In this final, only one of several stars that would later bear the name “Galácticos” rose: Zinedine Zidane. Famous for his grandiose volley, which led Real Madrid to a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen, he decisively shaped an entire era of Real Madrid. Technically outstanding, the midfield strategist never ceased to amaze the football world. And he did that after his active career: in 2016, ten years after the Frenchman last stepped onto the lawn for Real Madrid, he was on the sidelines as a coach. As the second most successful coach in the club’s history: In his two terms in office, he won 172 in 263 games and with these 172 victories a total of eleven titles: three times the Champions League, and twice each the league, club world championship and the Spanish and European Supercup . This makes him the second most successful coach in Real’s history after the legendary Miguel Muñoz. Hat!

Cristiano Ronaldo: Breaking the limits

The second generation of the Galactics began in 2009 and with it a period in which the competition between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid would heat up. The squad quality of both teams was so high that in the 2009/10 season Real Madrid didn’t even need a record 96 points to win the league title – because Barcelona had 99. And Barcelona had Lionel Messi, who scored 98 goals in had scored a third of all goals at 34 during that record-breaking season. And Real Madrid? From now on, Real Madrid also had this child prodigy who would break all records: Cristiano Ronaldo. 438 competitive games, 450 (!) Goals and 132 assists. The Portuguese is the top goalscorer Real Madrid have ever had. With this almost inhuman individual quality, he was one of the decisive factors for a total of four Champions League titles, two championships and two cup wins.

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Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas: the life insurance companies

Where CR7 whirled outside their own half and made life difficult for the opponent, a safe haven was needed at the back in case the ball was lost in the heat of the step-over battle. For this, Real Madrid had bred a homegrown product that was already popular in the days of the Galácticos: Iker Casillas. Promoted to the first team in 1999, also became a hero in the Champions League final against Leverkusen in 2002, and remained loyal to his club until 2015. Ever since the 2010 World Cup, which he won with Spain, he has been considered one of the best (if not the best) goalkeepers in the world. 725 times he kept the goal at Blancos. He won 21 titles and his spectacular saves will not be forgotten. As well as the spectacular presence of the best defender in the world: Sergio Ramos. This player carried Real Madrid with his numerous tattoos not only on his body but also in his heart. Trained at FC Sevilla, he came to Real in 2005 and in 16 years has become one of the most complete defenders: a bench at the back, a born leader and with the quality of even scoring goals in crucial moments, especially with a header. Even without these two actors, the 121 years today would be less radiant than they are.

– Photo: IMAGO / Alterphotos”> Enlarge

Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos hit it off on the pitch– Photo: IMAGO / Alterphotos

And who will usher in the new era?

All of these are fond memories and the list of legends is much longer, but they are all in the past. Everything that represented Real Madrid in those great epochs is no longer there. Nevertheless, many continue to work in the background. Raul Gonzalez has been the coach of Castilla since the 2019/20 season. The departed Paco Gento and Amancio Amaro were Real’s honorary presidents. Casillas has taken on the role of Director General at the Real Madrid Foundation and also Robert Carlos is ambassador active. But the stars of the last few years have left a small hole and what’s left are legends like Karim Benzema and Luka Modric. Marcelo only left in the summer of 2022. Now it’s time to start a new era – at the remodeled Bernabéu. So who are the defining faces? Vinicius Junior? Maybe even Erling Haaland? Sure, the names sound promising, but history has left some big footprints. Footsteps one hundred and twenty-one years old as of today.

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Happy birthday, Real Madrid!



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