It was a group of, among others, Oxford and Cambridge graduates studying at Institución Libre de Enseñanza, who used to meet up for games of football on Sunday mornings from 1897 onwards who started it all. After five years, this rather motley assortment officially became Madrid Football Club – and just three years later Athletic Bilbao were beaten to win the Spanish Cup.
After being awarded royal patronage by Alfonso XIII, Real Madrid became founder members of the Spanish league – the intense rivalry with FC Barcelona being evident right from the beginning with the Catalan club pipping Real to the very first championship.
In 1932 and 1933, however, Real Madrid became the first club to win the league on more than one occasion – and they have since gone on to capture the title a further twenty nine times; along with seventeen Copa del Rey victories.
Of course it is for European Cup or Champions' League victories that Real Madrid is best known – having won this title on no less than a record-breaking nine times. Having won the trophy in its first five seasons and then again in 1966, Real Madrid had to wait until 1998 to win it again.
It followed this success up, though, by capturing the Champions League again in both 2000 and 2002. During recent seasons, however, although always surviving the Group Stages, the club's record in the knockout part of the competition has been disappointing.
The two most famous names in Real Madrid's history are undoubtedly Santiago Bernabéu Yeste and Alfredo di Stéfano.
The former had just about every possible role at the club - starting as a goal scoring centre forward and moving on to become manager and eventually president. It was his foresight that took the club into the newly-formed European Cup, created the magnificent stadium that bears his name and initiated the policy of trying to bring the very best players in world football to Madrid.
Di Stéfano has been equally as legendary. A part of the most successful club side in football history, the Argentinian created goalscoring records that only now is Raúl González beginning to overtake. Di Stéfano, as a Life President, is still a hugly repsected character around the football club.
Some of the world's most famous footballers have played for Los Merengues, or Los Blancos as they are also known. Football history is made of names such as David Beckham. Paul Breitner, Emilio Butragueño, Roberto Carlos, Luis Del Sol, Luis Figo, Francisco Gento, Fernando Hierro, Raymond Kopa, Michael Laudrup, Gunter Netzer, Ferenc Puska, Ronaldo, Hugo Sánchez, Bernd Schuster and Zinedine Zidane.
And now, of course, in Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo, they have two players capable of joining the absolute legends of the sport.
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