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A second consecutive season trailing bitter rivals Barcelona was simply not good enough for a team with such a rich and trophy-laden history as Real Madrid. As Barce claimed the title by three points, Real were already looking to 2010/11. Neither Juande Ramos nor Manuel Pellegrini were able to emulate Berndt Schuster, the last manager to bring the La Liga title to the Bernabeu, and success is a pre-requisite of the hot seat. No sooner had the champagne bottle been emptied on Inter Milan’s UEFA Champions League win than the enigmatic Jose Mourinho was announced as Real’s new manager.
With the talents of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka at his disposal, the man who took Porto to consecutive UEFA Cups and UEFA Champions League victories before leading Chelsea to the English Premier League title and Inter Milan to the treble has exactly the type of calibre needed to bring success back to Real.
One of Germany’s World Cup stars Mesut Ozil joined from Werder Bremen whilst Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho was reunited with his former boss. Ozil’s international team-mate Sami Khedira also moved from Stuttgart to Spain and Argentinean forward Angel di Maria travelled over the Portuguese border from Benfica. Real also raided fellow Spanish clubs Getafe and Racing Santander to sign Pedri Leon and Sergio Canales respectively.
Success is almost mandatory for Los Galacticos and with big names and big money matching even bigger expectations from fans and owner alike, 2010/11 could show exactly how good Mourinho is.
A Brief History
One of the biggest and most successful clubs in the world, Real Madrid has a colourful history steeped in records and trophies. Proclaimed as the Best Club of the twentieth Century by Fifa in 2000, the club has won nine European championships, 31 La Liga titles and 17 Copa del Rey titles.
Over the years, the club has been known by different nicknames including los merengues or los blancos for the colors of the strips and the more recent los galácticos following the purchases of a host of superstars from around the globe. Real Madrid came into being in 1902 after two splitss of the original Football Sky team founded by a bunch of graduates in 1895. Originally the club was known as Sociedad Madrid FC and started to show its class in the early years itself.
The club won its first major trophy in 1905 by lifting the Copa del Rey for the first time. This was the first of the four consecutive cup wins for the club. The Copa del Rey was the only statewide competition held during that period. With the title "Real" accorded to the club by the King, the club changed its name to Real Madrid in 1920. The club was always among the top 10 in the league and won its first league title in 1931 and followed it up with another league win the next season. Madrid finished runners-up for the next three seasons before inconsistent performances for the next few seasons saw it finish as low as in 11th position to as high as in 2nd position. The arrival of Santiago Bernabeu Yeste as the club president heralded a new era for the club.
In his first few years as the president he built a new stadium for the club called the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium as well as a new training centre. He is also credited with reorganizing the club at all levels, bringing in technical staff and coaches for each level of the club. A host of high profile signings helped Madrid embark on a period of domination, which saw it win everything there was to be won. Bernabéu also played an important hand in the formation of a European competition, which was to be the predecessor to UEFA Champions League.
Madrid won four La Liga titles in 5 years from 1954 to 1958, with the sole exception being in 1956 when it finished third. On the European stage, Madrid managed to win the European Cup five times in a row between 1956 and 1960.
For the next two years, Madrid finished second behind rivals Barcelona. However the club absolutely dominated the Spanish football from 1961 to 1980 when it won a whooping 14 La Liga titles, including 8 wins in 9 years from 1961 to 1969, one European Cup and five Copa Del Ray titles. The mid-late years of the 1980s saw the rise of what is famously called as Quinta del Buitre. Five brilliant home grown players managed to break into the first team of the Real Madrid side. The first members to get a place in the team were Manolo Sanchís and Martín Vázquez, who were included in the starting line-up against Murcia on December 4, 1983. Two months later Emilio Butragueño got a look-in and El Buitre, as he was fondly known, made an instant impact by scoring two goals on his debut. Miguel Pardeza got his chance in the later part of the season while Míchel broke into the team at the start of the next season.
Pardeza was sold to Zaragoza in 1986 and the La Quinta del Buitre were reduced to just four members. The later part of the 1980s saw a complete domination of Real Madrid as the club won 5 La Liga titles in a row from 1986 to 1990, apart from two UEFA Cups and one Copa del Rey. In spite of the successes on the field, matters were different for the club off it with mounting debts and out-of-date training facilities. Florentino Pérez was elected as the new president of the club in July 2000 after he promised to wipe out the debts and modernize the club facilities. Perez also revealed that he had a private agreement with Barcelona's Luis Figo which will see the Portuguese player move to Madrid once Perez became president.
Eight days after Perez was elected as president, Figo was unveiled with the No 10 shirt of Real Madrid. Figo's arrival triggered the start of the new era at the club, known as the Galacticos era during which a number of high profile signings were made by the club.
During the 2000-01 campaign, Madrid signed Claude Makélélé, Albert Celades, Flávio Conceição, César Sánchez, Pedro Munitis, and Santiago Solari. With the host of new and quality signings, Madrid were tipped to win an unprecedented 5 titles but managed to win just the La Liga title. Madrid once again broke the world record transfer fee by the purchase of ZinedineZidane from Juventus and then went on to buy Ronaldo from Inter Milan. Perez's strategy of purchasing world class players seemed to have paid off as Madrid won La Liga title and Intercontinental Cup in 2001 and 2003 and the Champions League in 2002.
Heady over the recent successes, Madrid board decided not to renew Vicente Del Bosque's contract, a decision which haunted the club for 4 years. An internal dispute also saw the release of captain Fernando Hierro while Claude Makelele's request for a new contract was rejected and the midfielder was off-loaded to Chelsea.
Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz was appointed as the new coach along with the unveiling of David Beckham as the new Galáctico. Though the club started the new season strongly, a sudden dip in form during the final third of the season saw them finish fourth in the league. Queiroz was sacked from his position and José Antonio Camacho was appointed as the new coach.
The 2004-05 campaign could be regarded as one of the worst for the club in recent years as it struggled to find consistency in the league. Camacho was sacked after a poor start to the season and his replacement, Mariano García Remón too was unable to hold out for long. Vanderlei Luxemburgo took over the stewardship and the club finished in second position in the league.
Things did not improve for Madrid in the next season and Luxemburgo was sacked from his position just 11 months after his appointment. Real Madrid Castilla manager Juan Ramón López Caro was appointed as the new coach, but after a brief period of relief, the club once again slipped back into poor form. Under immense pressure from fans, Florentino Pérez resigned from his position and Ramón Calderón was elected as the new president.
Fabio Capello was appointed as the new coach and Madrid started the season on a slow note. For a major part of the season, Madrid played catch-up to Barcelona and looked set for year another disappointment. But a sudden rise in form, during which the club won 7 of its last 10 matches, meant that Madrid finally won its first La Liga title in over four years and retained the title, their 31st the next year albeit under Bernd Schuster.
Watch Real Madrid Live
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