Real Madrid Club de Futbol “Royal Madrid Football Club”, commonly known as Real Madrid, is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain.
Founded on 6 March 1902 as the Madrid Football Club, the club 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 was estimated to be worth €3.47 billion ($4.1 billion) in 2018, and in the 2016–17 season it was the second highest-earning football club in the world, with an annual revenue of €674.6 million. The club is one of the most widely supported teams in the world. Real Madrid is one of three founding members of La Liga that have never been relegated from the top division since its inception in 1929, along with Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. The club holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably El Clásico with Barcelona and El Derbi with Atlético Madrid.
Real Madrid established itself as a major force in both Spanish and European football during the 1950s, winning five consecutive European Cups and reaching 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 Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskás, Francisco Gento and Raymond Kopa, is considered by some in the sport to be the greatest team of all time. In domestic football, the club has won 64 trophies; a record 33 La Liga titles, 19 Copa del Rey, 10 Supercopa de España, a Copa Eva Duarte, and a Copa de la Liga. In European and worldwide competitions, the club has won a record 25 trophies; a record 13 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Cups and four UEFA Super Cups. In international football, they have achieved a record six club world championships.
Real Madrid was recognised as the FIFA Club of the 20th Century on 11 December 2000, and received the FIFA Centennial Order of Merit on 20 May 2004. The club was also awarded Best European Club of the 20th Century by the IFFHS on 11 May 2010. In June 2017, the team succeeded in becoming the first club to win back to back Champions Leagues, then made it three in a row in May 2018, extending their lead atop the UEFA club rankings.
Raúl holds the record for most Real Madrid appearances, having played 741 first-team matches from 1994 to 2010. Iker Casillas comes second with 725 appearances, followed by Manuel Sanchis, Jr., having played 710 times. The record for a goalkeeper is held by Iker Casillas, with 725 appearances. With 166 caps (162 while at the club), he is also Real’s most capped international player while with 127 caps (47 while at the club).
Cristiano Ronaldo is Real Madrid’s all-time top goalscorer, with 450 goals. Five other players have also scored over 200 goals for Real: Alfredo Di Stéfano (1953–64), Santillana (1971–88), Ferenc Puskás (1958–66), Hugo Sánchez (1985–92) and the previous goalscoring record-holder Raúl (1994–2010). Cristiano Ronaldo also holds the record for the most league goals scored in one season (48 in 2014–15), alongside being Real’s top goalscorer of all time in La Liga history with 311 goals. Di Stéfano’s 49 goals in 58 matches was for decades the all-time highest tally in the European Cup, until it was surpassed by Raúl in 2005, which now is held by Cristiano Ronaldo with 105 goals. The fastest goal in the history of the club (12 seconds) was scored by the Brazilian Ronaldo on 3 December 2003 during a league match against Atlético Madrid.
Officially, the highest home attendance figure for a Real Madrid match is 83,329, which was for a football cup competition, the Copa del Rey, in 2006. The current legal capacity of the Santiago Bernabéu is 81,044. The club’s average attendance in 2007–08 season was 76,234, the highest in European Leagues. Real has also set records in Spanish football, most notably the most domestic titles (33 as of 2016–17) and the most seasons won in a row (five, during 1960–65 and 1985–90). With 121 matches (from 17 February 1957 to 7 March 1965), the club holds the record for longest unbeaten run at home in La Liga.
Real Madrid and Germany’s Bayern Munich are two of the most successful clubs in the UEFA Champions League/European Cup competition, Real winning thirteen times and Bayern winning five times. Although they have never met in a final, Real Madrid versus Bayern is the match that has historically been played most often in the Champions League/European Cup with 26 matches (12 wins for Madrid, 11 wins for Bayern, with 3 draws), Real’s biggest loss at home in the Champions League came at the hands of Bayern on 29 February 2000, 2–4. Real Madrid supporters often refer to Bayern as the “Bestia negra” (“Black Beast”).
During the 2010s, the two teams met in the 2011–12 Champions League semi-finals, which ended 3–3 on aggregate (Bayern won 3–1 on penalties after extra time, but lost the final at their own stadium), and then at the same stage in the 2013–14 edition with Real Madrid winning 5–0 on aggregate on their way to winning the competition. They were also drawn together in the 2016–17 quarter-finals; Real Madrid won 6–3 on aggregate and subsequently lifted the trophy. The following year, they met in the semi-finals, with Real Madrid again progressing 4–3.
Arjen Robben, Xabi Alonso, Toni Kroos and James Rodríguez are among the players to appear for both clubs in the early 21st century.