REAL MADRID

Emilio Butragueno epitomised the values of a bygone age. Unassuming, industrious and a gentleman on and off the field of play, the Spanish striker always let his football speak for him during a glittering career, scoring freely and with a minimum of fuss for club and country.

A Merengue through and through, Butragueno honed his razor-sharp finishing skills in the youth sides at Real Madrid before graduating to the first team in 1984. Acquiring the nickname of El Buitre (The Vulture), he went on to spearhead a fabled quintet of home-grown players that also included Rafael Martin Vazquez, Michel, Miguel Pardeza and Manolo Sanchis.

 

Emilio formed a deadly partnership with Mexican Hugo Sanchez and amassed 123 La Liga goals in 341 games for Los Blanco's.
In the early eighties Real had lost their way, but Butragueño contributed to the side's transformation in the second half of the decade, and was an instrumental member of the capital club's five national leagues, two domestic cups and two (consecutive) UEFA Cups.

Tactically perfect, Fernando Redondo glided around the Real midfield for six years from 1994, winning two Champions league and two La Liga's in his time at the club.

'El Principe' was the ultimate professional, the epitome of passion and finesse and seemed to define the role of holding midfielder.
Such a hero to the fans, he recieved a standing ovation at the Santiago Bernabeu when he returned some years later with AC Milan.

Los blancos are the most successful team in Spanish football and was voted by FIFA as the most successful club of the 20th century, having won a record 31 La Liga titles, 17 Spanish "Copa del Rey" Cups, 8 Spanish Super Cups, a record 9 Champions Leagues, 2 UEFA Cups, 1 UEFA Supercup, and 3 Intercontinental Cups.

Unlike most European football clubs, Real Madrid's members (socios) have owned and operated the club since its inception, and is the world's richest football club in terms of revenue. Massive income comes from the sell out crowds at El Bernabéu, renamed in honour of their former chairman Santiago Bernabéu Yeste. One of the world's most prestigious football venues, it is the third biggest in Europe and has hosted the European Cup final on five occasions and a World Cup final in 1982.

The team have become known as the 'Galacticos' of late with the elected presidents penchant for promising the fans the best players in the world in return for their votes.
They have broken the world record tranfer fee on the last four occasions, with the £80m for Cristiano Ronaldo being the most ever spent on a player.

Alfredo Di Stefano is a genuine Real Madrid legend, despite almost signing for Barcelona, and was instrumental in their domination of the European Cup during the 1950s, a period in which the club won the trophy in five consecutive seasons from 1956.
The 'Blond Arrow' could play any where on the pitch and is Real's 2nd highest goalscorer after Raul.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Di Stéfano was voted fourth, behind Pelé, Diego Maradona, and Johan Cruyff, in a vote organized by the French weekly magazine France Football consulting their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century.

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