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Real Madrid: Looking back at the ‘Yé-Yé’ Era and More

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Feature
385   //    Timeless

Real Madrid celebrate their 13th Champions League title after winning against Liverpool in the Final
Real Madrid celebrate their 13th Champions League title after winning against Liverpool in the Final

Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League title for a record 13th time this year, but could they have reached this number without the head start they got by the team led by Alfredo Di Stefano who won it 5 times in a row?

For casual viewers, Real Madrid’s history is defined by mainly 4 men: Santiago Bernabeu, Alfredo Di Stefano, Florentino Perez and arguably Cristiano Ronaldo. These are the men who have actually turned Real Madrid into the European Giants we know them as today. But apart from these four, there are many other not so known 'Madridistas' who played major roles in the history of Los Blancos.

In the 1950s, Real Madrid had attained a status which in today’s age can only be called mythical. Led by the late Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskas, the Whites won 5 European Cups in a row and 4 League honours. They not only conquered Europe but also the world by winning the first edition of the Intercontinental Cup in 1960 to put the icing on the cake. They were called the ‘King of Kings’ across the world and thrilled everyone with their stunning style of play.

To match the feats achieved by the club between 1950 and 1960 certainly sounds impossible but the Real Madrid team managed by Miguel Munoz in the years that followed lived up to the royal status that Real Madrid had achieved. Miguel Munoz was a part of the team that won the 5 European Cups in a row but had retired at just 36

After managing reserve sides, the job of leading Los Blancos to other major accolades fell into his hands. He gathered youngsters from across Spain and assembled an entirely Spanish side, in contrast to his playing days when the 9 out of the 11 players had come from overseas. Although not all players were from the Madrid graduate academy, they all had Spanish nationalities.

The team managed by Munoz won the league and cup double in their first season but nearly missed out on the European Cup finishing runners-up in the tournament. Little did they know that this was the start of something never even imagined of before.

Although the club said ‘Adieu’ to their talisman Alfredo Di Stefano, after his 11 years of contribution to the club in the summer of 1964, Santiago Bernabeu had realized that the team needed new faces. Therefore, he splashed some cash to buy 22-year-old winger Amancio Amaro, who came to be known as ‘the wizard’ at the Bernabeu. He became a regular starter for Miguel Munoz’s side and made the right wing his own. Gorro, Pirri, Sanchís and De Felipe all also joined the team which later become the ‘Yé-Yé’ team.

After winning the European Cup in 1966, four of the team’s players were seen impersonating the Beatles. They were therefore called as the ‘Yé-Yé’ team which when translated to English meant ‘Yeah, Yeah’. This came from the chorus of the Beatles song ‘She Loves You’. This was when the ‘hippie’ era in Spanish football really started.

This ‘Yé-Yé’ team continued the success started by Di Stefano and Puskas. Talking about the players, Francisco Gento was the only player to continue from the previous era. Pachín, Pedro de Felipe, Zoco, Amancio Amaro and Manuel Sanchís all played major roles in leading this team to the number of crowns they brought to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

At this time, the Galacticos were the best team in Spain winning the League title 9 times which included winning it five times in a row. The team also won the European Cup final in 1966 after losing two finals in the previous years. This side was the first ever entirely Spanish side to win the trophy.

Although it is unquestionable that the 1966 year was very good for the ‘Yé-Yé’ team, to the surprise of all, this was when their reign across Europe started to decline. Munoz’s Madrid were expected to continue to express their supremacy but that never happened.

They had to wait for 32 years for the next European Cup which they won in 1998. They did win 23 domestic trophies including 16 LaLiga wins but in terms of European Cups, they had a serious drought.

As a parting thought, the current Madrid team have won 4 UEFA Champions League titles in the past 5 years, which includes an ongoing three-year streak. Do you think that the Real Madrid side led by Sergio Ramos can reinstate their supremacy across Europe if they win this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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