Real Madrid is a football team located in the city of Madrid in Spain and is without a doubt one of the most famous clubs in world football. It was founded in 1902 as Madrid Football Club before King Alfonso XIII bestowed the term “Real” meaning Royal on the club and gave it the crown on the club logo.
So, the question is, what makes Real Madrid so famous? There are clubs which are older than the capital club and yet why is Los Blancos one of the greatest clubs in the world?
Here are 5 reasons why Real Madrid are one of the most famous clubs in football.
#1 The glamour and lure of Real Madrid
There are a number of top clubs in the world – Manchester United in England, Bayern Munich in Germany and Barcelona in Spain, itself. However, none of them holds the allure that Real Madrid does. It is the dream of most players in the world to don the Los Blancos jersey and step on the pitch at Santiago Bernabeu, one of the world’s most iconic stadiums.
Be it the huge capacity crowd of over 80,000 cheering in every game, or the special unveiling that top players receive at the stadium on signing for the club, unlike at any other club, there is a certain aura associated with playing for the capital club.
Any player who joins the club is automatically elevated to the level of a superstar and this cannot be said about any other club in the world. Further, Madrid being the football capital of Europe adds more glamour to the club and just like how the club has royal in its name and the crown in its emblem, both the players and managers become royalty in the footballing world.
#2 Consistently at the top
One of the biggest reasons why Real Madrid maintain their popularity is because of their ability to consistently stay at the top over the decades. This is an achievement unmatched by any other top club, including their arch-rivals Barcelona.
Los Merengues have won the La Liga a record 32 times and have won the title 5 times in a row twice, once between 1961-65 and the other time between 1986-1990. Their 32 titles are spread across every decade and the capital club has always competed for the title, unlike Barcelona who truly started dominating the landscape since the 1990s.
In the European Cup (known as the Champions League since 1992), the capital club won the inaugural tournament in 1956 and the most recent one in 2016 along with nine more in between. The teams trailing Real Madrid are Italian club AC Milan who have won the coveted trophy 7 times, while Barcelona, German giants Bayern Munich and English side, Liverpool, have won it 5 times.
Los Blancos have won either the Champions League or Europa League in every decade since their inception except the 1970s, which shows how they keep on building top teams. This stems from the fact that Madrid are one of the richest clubs in the world and are heavily backed in terms of finances.
As a result, not making it to the Champions League semi-finals is considered as a failed season and more often than not, the manager gets sacked. In order to stay this competitive, Madrid constantly embarks on signing the best players and it is further helped by the fact that Real Madrid and Barcelona receive most of the broadcasting money in Spain unlike in England, where the revenue is more evenly distributed.
Due to a combination of the above reasons, Madrid have managed to stay at the top consistently and in doing so, they ensure that they remain a great and famous club both historically and as well as in the present.
#3 Home to the best players in the world
A club as successful as Madrid is bound to attract top players and with its incredible revenue stream can afford to have multiple top players at the same time. Further, the club can even snap up top players from big clubs across different countries too due to their immense pulling power.
Madrid’s home stadium, Santiago Bernabeu, has seen some of the greatest players in the world play in it. Some of the biggest names include Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas – after whom the Puskas award for the best goal of the year is named, Hugo Sanchez, Raul, Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Gareth Bale and the list goes on.
If there are any doubts over how the club can manage to sign such players, then one needs to only look at the astronomical jersey sales. When Cristiano Ronaldo joined Los Blancos in 2009 for a then record-fee of £80 million, it took just under a year for Madrid to sell around 1.2 million shirts that generated about £100 million.
Although the entire income does not directly go in recouping the money spent as part of it goes to Adidas and Ronaldo as well, the club does earn a sizeable number.
Similar record sales were seen during the time of David Beckham, Zidane, Roberto Carlos and the Brazilian Ronaldo, and this explains how popular the club is. Another example is the recent buy of James Rodriguez in 2014, on the back of a terrific World Cup with Colombia, and the club was reported to have earned close to £20 million be selling shirt replicas in 48 hours after he was signed.
Thus, having the best players in the world definitely helped and keeps helping Madrid garner more revenue as well as an audience.
#4 The age-old rivalry with FC Barcelona
It is always said that having a great rival to compete with ensures better performances. In the case of Real Madrid and their arch-rival FC Barcelona, it is very true. These two are the most successful teams in Spain and have constantly competed against each other for trophies.
As a result, more often than not, these teams are the ones fighting for the league title every season and their rivalry runs deeper than football, with the Catalan culture of Barcelona being vastly different from Madrid’s culture. Further, Barcelona’s core ideology is of getting players through the system (although this has reduced in recent years) while Real Madrid are known for signing Galacticos or superstars, although their academy keeps producing top players as well.
So, when these two teams clash in what is termed as the El Clasico, the entire footballing world comes to a stand-still. This rivalry has further intensified in this decade as it gets billed as a clash between the two best players of this generation in Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have benefitted on and off the pitch due to their rivalry and this is one more reason why Madrid is one of the most famous clubs in the world.
#5 One of the richest clubs in the world
When a team is as successful as Real Madrid, it automatically leads to interest from the business world and naturally, the club is one of the richest in world football, through their sponsorship deals, matchday revenues and earnings from winning trophies.
As per the Deloitte Football Money League, which ranks teams in order of their revenues accrued from footballing operations, Real Madrid are one of the 4 teams along with Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Chelsea to appear in the top 10 in every edition since the rankings began in the 1997-98 league season.
Further, Los Blancos have topped the rankings a record 11 times and have done so continuously between 2004-05 and 2014-15 league seasons. Such strong income indicates how invested the non-footballing world is in the football club, which automatically increases the reach and thereby securing a broader fanbase as well.