Founded on 6 March 1902 as 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 €3.24 billion ($3.65 billion) in 2015, 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, 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 24 trophies; a record 12 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, extending their lead atop the UEFA club rankings.
Real Madrid's origins go back to when football was introduced to Madrid by the academics and students of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, which included several Cambridge and Oxford University graduates. They founded Sky Football in 1897, commonly known as La Sociedad as it was the only one based in Madrid, playing on Sunday mornings at Moncloa.
In 1900, conflict between members caused some of them to leave and create a new club, Nueva Sociedad de Football (New Society of Football), to distinguish themselves from Sky Football. Among the dissenters were Julián Palacios, recognized as the first Real Madrid president, Juan Padrós and Carlos Padrós, the latter two being brothers and future presidents of Real Madrid.
In 1901 this new club was renamed as Madrid Football Club. Later, following a restructuring in 1902, Sky was renamed as "New Foot-Ball Club". On 6 March 1902, after a new Board presided by Juan Padrós had been elected, Madrid Football Club was officially founded.
Three years after its foundation, in 1905, Madrid FC won its first title after defeating Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Cup final. The club became one of the founding sides of the Royal Spanish Football Federation on 4 January 1909, when club president Adolfo Meléndez signed the foundation agreement of the Spanish FA.
After moving between grounds the team moved to the Campo de O'Donnell in 1912. In 1920, the club's name was changed to Real Madrid after King Alfonso XIII granted the title of Real (Royal) to the club. In 1929, the first Spanish football league was founded.
Real Madrid led the first league season until the last match, a loss to Athletic Bilbao, meant they finished runners-up to Barcelona. Real Madrid won its first League title in the 1931–32 season. Real won the League again the following year, becoming the first team to have won the championship twice.
On 14 April 1931, the arrival of the Second Spanish Republic caused the club to lose the title Real and went back to being named Madrid Football Club. Football continued during the Second World War, and on 13 June 1943 Madrid beat Barcelona 11–1 in the second leg of a semi-final of the Copa del Generalísimo, the Copa del Rey having been renamed in honour of General Franco.
It has been suggested Barcelona players were intimidated by police, including by the director of state security who "allegedly told the team that some of them were only playing because of the regime's generosity in permitting them to remain in the country."
The Barcelona chairman, Enric Piñeyro, was assaulted by Madrid fans. However, none of these allegations have been proven and FIFA and UEFA still consider the result as legitimate. According to Spanish journalist and writer, Juan Carlos Pasamontes, Barcelona player Josep Valle denied that the Spanish security forces came before the match.
Instead, at the end of the first half, Barcelona coach Juan José Nogués and all of his players were angry with the hard-style of play Real Madrid was using and with the aggressiveness of the home crowd. When they refused to take the field, the Superior Chief of Police of Madrid appeared, identified himself, and ordered the team to take the field.
Alfredo Di Stéfano led the club to win five European Cups consecutively. Santiago Bernabéu Yeste became president of Real Madrid in 1945. Under his presidency, the club, its stadium Santiago Bernabéu and its training facilities Ciudad Deportiva were rebuilt after theSpanish Civil War damages.
Additionally, during the 1950s former Real Madrid Amateurs player Miguel Malbo founded Real Madrid's youth academy, or "cantera," known today as La Fábrica. Beginning in 1953, he embarked upon a strategy of signing world-class players from abroad, the most prominent being Alfredo Di Stéfano.
Amancio Amaro, captain of theYé-yé team of the 1960sIn 1955, acting upon the idea proposed by Gabriel Hanot, a French sports journalist and editor of L'Équipe, Bernabéu, Bedrignan and Gusztáv Sebes created a tournament for the champions teams around Europe, under invitation, that would eventually become what today is known as the UEFA Champions League.
It was under Bernabéu's guidance that Real Madrid established itself as a major force in both Spanish and European football.
The club won the European Cup five times in a row between 1956 and 1960, which included the 7–3 Hampden Park final against Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960.
After these five consecutive successes, Real was permanently awarded the original cup and earning the right to wear the UEFA badge of honour. The club won the European Cup for a sixth time in 1966 defeating Partizan Belgrade 2–1 in the final with a team composed entirely of same nationality players, a first in the competition.
This team became known as the Yé-yé. The name "Yé-yé" came from the "Yeah, yeah, yeah" chorus in The Beatles' song "She Loves You" after four members of the team posed for Marca and impersonated the Beatles.
The Yé-yé generation was also European Cup runner-up in 1962 and1964. In the 1970s, Real Madrid won five league championships and three Spanish Cups.
The club played its first UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in 1971 and lost to English side Chelsea 2–1. On 2 July 1978, club president Santiago Bernabéu died while the World Cup was being played in Argentina. FIFA decreed three days of mourning to honour him during the tournament.
The following year, the club organized the first edition of the Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu in memory of its former president.