Real Madrid F.C. Football Holiday

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The beautiful game doesn’t get much more captivating than when surrounded by 89,999 other Real Madrid fans in Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Madrid has long been synonymous with football and in 2000 Real Madrid was awarded the lofty title of ‘Club of the Century’ by FIFA. Match tickets are like gold dust, although a growing number of specialist operators now offer football breaks to Madrid. If you can’t get in on match day Santiago Bernabeu stadium is still well worth a visit; even if it’s just to gawp at the groaning trophy cabinet and pick up some souvenirs in the Real Madrid shop.

Real Madrid was founded in 1902 and barely a century later it has become one of the best known clubs in the world. Ever since the 1950s Real Madrid’s had a reputation for fancy footwork, thanks to the likes of Puskas and Di Stefano. By the end of the 1980s Real Madrid was once again in the international spotlight thanks to the outrageous talents of Hugo Sanchez and Michel.

However, it’s the 21st century players that have firmly established Real Madrid in the global consciousness. Names like Ronaldo, Figo and Zidane immediately conjure up images of football wizardry and help to explain why no other club comes close to matching Real Madrid’s record of nine European Cup wins. Real Madrid’s international calibre is unquestionable, but just to hammer the point home they managed to lure the England skipper, David Beckham, overseas for a cool £25 million in July 2003.

Much of Real Madrid’s historic success can be leveled squarely on the shoulders of the club’s tenth president; the mighty Santiago Bernabeu. With Bernabeu at the helm (from1943 1975) Real Madrid achieved the remarkable feat of winning six European Cups, an Intercontinental Cup, sixteen league titles and six Spanish cups.

On match days Madrid’s streets empty as hoards of Madridlenos head into local bars to watch the game indoors or to the stadium to watch the game live. The celebrated Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once quipped that “football isn't a matter of life and death; it's much more important than that” and nowhere does this ring more true than in Madrid.