Real Madrid Club de Fútbol was founded in 1902 as Madrid Football Club. The Spanish king Alfonso XIII added royalty to the club by granting them the title of Real in 1920. A golden crown was also added to the club’s emblem. Nicknamed “Los Blancos”, Real Madrid are characterized by their all-white home kit. Since 1947, they play their home games at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, holding more than 85,000 spectators.
Real Madrid currently holds the record of most Spanish league titles and Champions League titles. The club had their most successful period between 1950 and 1970. Among many achievements, a team featuring star player Alfredo Di Stéfano won five consecutive European Cups between 1956 and 1960.
In 2000, Florentino Pérez became the new president of Real Madrid. Under his tenure, the club has restored its international prestige by annually attracting new star players. Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham all became part of a glamorous team called “Los Galácticos”. Pérez often broke the transfer fee record when signing top players. Most notably, Real Madrid paid 96 million Euros to Manchester United for bringing in Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, only to break the record again four years later with the signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur for 100 million Euros.
The single most controversial signing by Real Madrid was the transfer of Luís Figo from arch-rivals Barcelona. Direct transfers between the two clubs are very rare and often spark outrage among supporters. The derby between Real Madrid and Barcelona, known as “El Clásico”, has often been an ill-tempered battle, including red cards and fighting on the sidelines.
Real Madrid also play local derbies with neighbor Atlético Madrid, known as “El Derbi madrileño”. Although Altético has been improving their game under charismatic manager Diego Simeone, “Los Blancos” often end up as winners.