By Renata Leite, FootballPredictions.NET, 12:34 18/11/2020
Real Madrid is unquestionably the world’s most successful and wealthiest football club, with a valuation of almost €3.5 billion and an honours list which would take some time to read.
In 2000 at FIFA’s annual World Gala, Real Madrid was formally named FIFA’s Club of the Century - amassing just under half of the vote.
The closest competitor was recent treble winners Manchester United, who gained just 9.69% of the vote. But how did Real Madrid come to earn this prestigious accolade?
Real Madrid won FIFA’s Club of the Century as a result of their unparalleled success both domestically and in European competition.
During the 20th century, Los Blancos scooped 8 European Cups, 2 UEFA Cups, 2 Intercontinental Cups, 2 Latin Cups, 27 La Liga titles, 17 Copa del Reys, 5 Spanish Super Cups, 1 League Cup and 2 Pequeñas Copas del Mundo.
The prestigious award was collected by current president Florentino Perez, who would have a pivotal part to play in the continued success of the Spanish giants after ushering a new era of the ‘Galacticos’.
Alongside Perez at FIFA’s gala was club legend Alfredo Di Stefano, who scored over 200 goals for Real from 1953-1964, winning five European Cups and eight La Liga titles.
Di Stefano played a Crucial Role in Quintuple Success
Real Madrid bounced back after the Spanish Civil War to cement themselves as a force in European football, managing to complete the unbelievable feat of winning five consecutive European Cup trophies from 1955 to 1960.
This streak coincided with legendary striker Alfredo Di Stefano’s tenure in Madrid, with the Argentinian-born forward forging a lethal partnership with fellow football icon Ferenc Puskas.
Di Stefano scored in each of the five European Cup final triumphs and scooped two Ballon d’Or titles during this spell, as he cemented his name in Los Blancos folklore forever.
He and Puskas combined for seven goals in the 1960 showpiece against Eintracht Frankfurt, as the Spanish side demolished the Germans 7-3 in Glasgow.
La Liga success was also part of Di Stefano’s legendary status, helping Real to eight titles during his 11 years with the club. The Pichichi trophy, awarded to Spain’s top league goalscorer, was handed to the Spanish international five times.
Puskas, a Hungarian icon transferred from Honved in 1958, carried the torch of success in the league - winning five consecutive league titles after Di Stefano’s decline.
He also scooped four straight Pichichi trophies. Both players were named in the FIFA 100, celebrating the best 100 players of all time.
Real revival before the turn of the century seals accolade
After the demise of the side which had proved so dominant during the era of Puskas and Di Stefano, Real endured a barren run which saw their grip on domestic and international success loosen. However, the rise of Los Blanco’s homegrown talent saw a return to the top of the pile.
The arrival of Hugo Sanchez alongside the famous “La Quinta del Buitre” (Vulture’s Cohort) saw Real enjoy years of success during the 1980s.
“Vulture’s Cohort” was the nickname given to a group of homegrown players which included Emilio Butragueño, Manuel Sanchís, Martín Vázquez, Míchel, and Miguel Pardeza.
The now-famous side sealed five consecutive La Liga titles from 1985 to 1990, as well as a UEFA Cup triumph in 1986. Sanchez proved to be one of the most prolific goalscorers in history, scoring an incredible 38 goals in the 1989–90 season to win the European Golden Boot.
The side laid the foundations for eventual success in Europe’s premier competition - the now-rebranded UEFA Champions League.
The first real ‘Galacticos’ side beat Juventus in the 1998 final to bring the famous trophy to the Bernabeu for the first time since 1966.