A brief history
It was Real Madrid's legendary President Santiago Bernabeu who came up with the idea of a game between the Champions of South America and the champions of Europe to determine the best club side in the world. And it would be his club, winners of the first five editions of the European Cup, who came away with that first intercontinental trophy. However, los Blancos would then have to wait 38 long years before lifting the crown again, in 1998, a feat they repeated in 2003, their centenary year.
In the 103 years since the birth of Real Madrid just after the turn of the last century, the club have amassed an enviable trophy collection and risen to the summit of world football. Bernabéu's election as President marked the beginning of a glorious era for the club when, on top of winning numerous titles, work began on their celebrated stadium. Players like Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento helped bring the club those five consecutive European Cups in the late 50s as Real Madrid swept all before them both in Spain and in Europe.
However, after their sixth European triumph in 1966, their fans would need to wait another 32 years before they would be once again crowned continental kings. Nevertheless, fans at the Bernabéu during the barren years could still enjoy top-class football from the highly talented players wearing the famous white shirt.
Amongst those most fondly remembered by the fans were " La Quinta del Buitre" consisting of Butragueño, Míchel, Pardeza, Martín Vázquez and Sanchís, all of whom came up through the youth ranks to enjoy great success with the first team. The youth system may have provided legendary players aplenty, but the club continued to dip into the transfer market to acquire the best players of each era including Hugo Sánchez, Luis Molowny, Bernd Schuster, Jorge Valdano, and Iván Zamorano, to name just a few.
In terms of European success, Real Madrid enjoyed their second golden era in the late 90s. They won the Champions League in 1998 and 2000 and then, as they began to forge the team known as "Los Galácticos" with Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and later Ronaldo and David Beckham joining Roberto Carlos, Raúl, Fernando Hierro and Iker Casillas, they claimed the continent's top prize for a ninth time in 2002. There were Toyota Cup triumphs in 1998 and 2002, delighting Real Madrid's supporters and seeing the club's popularity soar.
At least twice a year the fixture list throws up a "clásico" against their oldest and fiercest rivals FC Barcelona, with fans of both Blancos and Azulgranas living these heart-stopping games to the limit. Closer to home, Madrid also enjoy a heated rivalry with city neighbours Atlético de Madrid, the only other Spanish team to have won the Intercontinental trophy.