17 Royal Facts About Real Madrid

It’s one of the most popular and famous football clubs in the world, and in this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about Real Madrid.

1. The club was founded with a different name

The origins of Real Madrid go back to when football was introduced to Spain at the end of the 19th century through the “Institución Libre de Enseñanza.” This educational project included a lot of English students and went on to found “Sky Football” in 1897.

This club, better known as “La Sociedad,” split in 1900 and a new club was founded called “Nueva Sociedad de Football.” Just a year later, this new football club was renamed the “Madrid Football Club.”

This ne football club which would end up becoming Real Madrid was founded on March 6, 1902. A man named “Julián Palacios” was appointed the first president of the club.

Julián Palacios - facts about real madrid
Julián Palacios, Real Madrid’s first president. / Wiki Commons

2. It’s really a royal club

During the first years of the club’s formation, it instantly became one of the top teams of Spain. Real Madrid won their first league title just 3 years after its formation in 1905.

They also moved to a new facility to play their home games, a ground known as “Campo de O’Donnell,” which had a capacity of 5,000 spectators.

It wasn’t until the year 1920 though that they were officially known as “Real Madrid, ” as opposed to their original name “Madrid Football Club.” It was King Alfonso XIII who granted the title of “Real,” which means “Royal,” to the club.

Campo de O'Donnel
Campo de O’Donnell / Wiki Commons

3. Real Madrid has never been relegated

Real Madrid was one of the founding members of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, an organization that was formed on January 4, 1909.

Together with other founding clubs FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, they are one of the three clubs that have never been relegated from the first division of Spanish football.

That’s very much to the contrary as famous football club Manchester United in England, who were relegated numerous times before their rise to prominence in the 1950s.

One of the first Real Madrid squads in 1906. / Source

4. They lost the first league season on the last day

The Spanish Football League, the predecessor of the current competition known as “La Liga,” was formed in the year 1929 and a total of 10 teams participated in the first season.

Real Madrid was a contender for the first league’s title in Spanish history until the last game, but unfortunately for them, they lost that game to Athletic Bilbao and their main rivals, FC Barcelona, won the title in 1929.

Little would they know that Real Madrid and FC Barcelona fighting for the title every year would become the normal situation for dozens of times the next decades.

Real Madrid in 1927
Real Madrid in 1927 / Wiki Commons

5. Real Madrid went on to win dozens of titles

It didn’t take long for Real Madrid to win their first league title though, because they did just 2 years after the league was formed in the 1931-1932 season.

They didn’t just repeat this the following year, being the first team to win the league twice, but went on to win the most titles of all Spanish teams until today!

As of 2020, Real Madrid has won a total of 33 league titles since 1929, an absolute record in the country.

Real Madrid 33 titles
Real Madrid team and Madrid mayor after winning the 33rd title in 2017. / Source

6. Did Real Madrid really beat FC Barcelona 11-1?

The Spanish league continued during World War II, and it’s during this horrible period in history that one of the most remarkable games in Real Madrid’s history was played.

On June 13, 1943, Real Madrid beat their arch-rivals FC Barcelona with 11-1 in the semi-final of the “Copa del Rey,” which was referred to as the “Copa del Generalissimo” in honor of General Franco.

Whether or not the result was legitimate, as there were claims of the Barcelona players being intimidated, remains up for debate. In Madrid, they clearly believe this result was the result of a fair match.

7. The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium was built in 1947

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is the football temple where Real Madrid plays its home games at. It was built in 1947 and was named after one of the most prominent figures of the club, Santiago Bernabéu.

As both a player and president he played a crucial role in the success of the club, and the immense stadium named in honor of the man will carry his legacy forever.

The Bernabéu is considered to be one of the most famous football stadiums in Spain and even the world and is the third biggest club football stadium in Europe.

bernabeu stadium

8. A new tactic in management really paid off in the 1950s

It was Santiago Bernabéu who introduced a new policy, which is basically still used at the club today. This policy revolved around signing some of the most famous and expensive football players from abroad.

One of the major signings during this initial era of spending heavily on world-class players was Alfredo di Stefano in 1953, an Argentinian forward who stayed at the club for 9 years and who is by many considered to be one of the best players in history.

Alfredo di stefano

9. Did you know Real Madrid wears a UEFA badge of honor?

After the signing of di Stefano, Real Madrid became invincible for nearly a decade. It was also in this period that the predecessor of the UEFA Champions League, a regular tournament for the champions teams around Europe, was created.

During these first years of the Champions League, Real Madrid managed to win the European Cup 5 times in a row, from 1956 to 1960.

This amazing achievement resulted in the UEFA granting Real Madrid the right to wear the UEFA badge of Honor.

Real Madrid won the Champions League 5 times in a row. / Source

10. The Beatles and Real Madrid have a connection

The players of Real Madrid during the 1960s were known as the “Yé-Yé” generation and the Beatles have something to do with that!

After Real Madrid had won their 6th European Cup final, 4 of the players were photographed by the Spanish newspaper “Marca” when they impersonated the Beatles.

Therefore, the press started calling them “Yé-Yé,” a reference to the chorus of the Beatles song “She Loves You,” which goes “yeah, yeah, yeah.”

11. The Yé-Yé generation consisted of all-Spanish players

One of the most remarkable facts about Real Madrid is that during this period in the 1960s, they relied solely on Spanish players.

In 1966, Real Madrid won the European Cup for the 6th time with an all-Spanish team, the first time this happened in the competition. The “Yé-Yé generation” beat Partizan Belgrade with 2-1 at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels.

The Yé-Yé team in 1966 / Ron Kroon / Anefo

12. The 1980s were the years of  “La Quinta del Buitre”

Real Madrid didn’t just buy expensive players all the time, they compensated for this lavish spending by producing great players in their own youth academy as well. This academy is known today as “La Fábrica.”

There wasn’t a period in history that the youth academy produced as many great players as in the 1980s. 5 of them named Emilio Butragueño, Manuel Sanchís, Martín Vázquez, Míchel and Miguel Pardeza, were called “La Quinta del Buitre.”

This name literally translates to “the Vulture’s Cohort” referred to Emilio Butragueño, one of the most popular players to ever wear the Real Madrid shirt.

Emilio Butragueño
Emilio Butragueño / Source

13. Real Madrid is a club of “Galácticos”

Even though “La Fábrica” has produced many other great players, the most prominent strategy remains to buy expensive players, preferably from abroad.

The name “Galácticos” has been used to describe a team that mainly consists of these types of players, and when Florentino Pérez took over in the early 2000s, the name became a household name to describe the Real Madrid Squad.

Some of the players that were bought during this initial period were Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luís Figo, David Beckham, Luis Figo, and Fabio Cannavaro.

David Beckham at Real Madrid
David Beckham at Real Madrid / Source

14. The club once sacked its coach after winning the league title

With this huge number of superstars called “Galácticos,” Real Madrid went on to win the league title in 2003.

One of the most controversial facts about Real Madrid was the sacking of coach Vicente del Bosque shortly after winning the league that year. He was extremely successful as a manager and well-liked by both the fans and the players.

This resulted in a dozen players leaving the club the following year, including one of the most respected of all, captain Fernando Hierro.

Zidane and Hierro
Zidane and Hierro / Source

15. Is this the best Real Madrid player ever?

It’s extremely difficult to compare players of different eras. We can’t compare Christiano Ronaldo with Alfredo di Stefano, for example.

If we solely look at the stats and what the players meant to a club in terms of winning leagues trophies, then there’s very little doubt, and Christiano Ronaldo can be considered the best player in Real Madrid’s history.

Just to name one stat, he is Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer with a total of 450 goals in just 438 games in 9 seasons. That’s more than double that of the six other players who scored over 200 goals, even though he played a lot more games.

Christiano Ronaldo in 2013. / Source

16. These are the club’s two major games every year

Every football club has at least one major game against its arch-rivals which they look forward to every single year.

Well, Real Madrid has two of these games!

The first is the Madrid derby against their neighbors Athlético Madrid called “El Derbi madrileño.” The second is one of the biggest games every year in football, the game against FC Barcelona called “El Clásico.”

El Clasico
El Clásico / Elemaki / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5

17. Real Madrid is the most successful club in European history

Real Madrid isn’t just the most successful club in Spain with a total of 65 trophies, including 33 league titles as of 2020. They are also the most successful club in European history based on the number of trophies they won.

The club has won a total of 26 European and worldwide trophies, including a record 13 UEFA Champions League titles, 2 UEFA Cups, and 4 UEFA Super Cups!

Yes, Real Madrid isn’t just one of the most popular football clubs, it’s also one of the most successful clubs in football history!

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