26 February 2007
Report by Luis Miguel González
Photography: Real Madrid archive
Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid will turn 105 years old on 6 March. The Club was robust in its beginning and was soon at the helm of both Madrilenian and Spanish football. In its long life, the feats and successes of the Club have been unchallenged. It is the entity with the most accolades in Europe and it is acknowledged worldwide. Realmadrid.com have chosen numerous highlights of the history of the Club which seven years ago was named by FIFA as The Best Club of the 20th Century.
The first decade of the 20th Century was taken over by events related to Real Madrid, establishing the Club as the banner of the incipient Spanish football scene. The rough first pitches, the establishment of football federations, the first official title, their international debut... All this was promoted by Carlos Padrós, President of Madrid Football Club and a decisive figure in the strong rooting of the sport in Spain.
Sky, direct precedent
At the start of 1897, young students at the Institución Libre de Enseñanza formed a sports group they named Football Club Sky. It was the direct precedent of Madrid Football Club.
Julián Palacios led the Club
An important group of players captained by Julián Palacios left Sky. Palacios led the split and unofficially presided over the newly established Madrid Football Club and its 50 members.
The pitch of marble mason Estrada
The first pitch Madrid played in was a plot of land next to the workshop of marble mason Estrada in the levelled area of Velázquez street, next to the construction works of future streets Lista (now named Ortega y Gaset) and Núñez de Balboa.
Renting of a plot of land on the Bullring's avenue
The second pitch in Real Madrid's history was a plot of land on the avenue where the Bullring was. The plot was partly co-owned by H.M. Queen María Cristina and the Counts of Villapadierna. The Club paid 150 pesetas (90 Euro cents) each year as rent and the players changed into their playing kit in a tavern called La Taurina.
Madrid Football Club foundation
On 6 March 1902, after a new Board presided by Juan Padrós had been elected, Madrid Football Club was officially founded. On 18 April, the Club Regulations, comprised of 22 articles divided into three headlines, were presented to the authorities. On 22 April 1902, José Sánchez-Guerra, Civil Governor of the Province approved the document.
I Spanish Championship is established
To celebrate the proclamation of Alfonso XIII as King, Madrid Football Club created the first Spanish Championship. Alberto Aguilera, Mayor of the Town and Court of Madrid -as the capital was officially called back then- supported the organisation of this football tournament and donated a silver cup as the prize for the winning team. The tournament took place in Madrid and Vizcaya were the victors.
The first Madrid-Barcelona
On 13 May 1902, the semifinals of the I Spanish Championship saw the first Madrid-Barcelona clash in history. Barcelona won 3-1 thanks to the six foreigners they lined up.
Albéniz, the first Madrid player to be transferred from Barcelona
Alfonso Albéniz Jordana was the first player to leave Barcelona in order to join Madrid. On 23 May 1902, a newspaper of the time confirmed the transfer with the following lines: "We have learned that Mr. Albéniz, former notable and enthusiastic Barcelona player, has joined Real Madrid Foot Ball Club, as well as other good players whose names we regrettably don't remember, but will quote in forthcoming match reports."
First trophy: two ceramic plates
Madrid were invited to take part in the festivities at El Escorial in 1902. Part of the programme featured a match between Madrid and Moncloa. On 11 August 1902, next to the facade of the monastery, the clash ended with a 6-5 score favourable to Madrid. The victors were awarded two ceramic plates that represent the first trophy the Club won in its history.
Driving force behind the creation of FIFA
Carlos Padrós, President of Madrid 1904-08, was the creator of the Spanish Championship, the Madrid Championship in 1905 and one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association in 1904.
Five-time victors of the Madrid Championship
As the President of the Madrid Football Club Association, Carlos Padrós felt the necessity of creating a Madrid Championship that took place for the first time in the 1904/05 season. Madrid won the short-lived tournament (9 editions) five times.
First official title
On 18 April 1905, after eliminating Recreation San Sebastian from the Madrid Championship, Madrid faced Athletic Bilbao in the final and won thanks to a goal by Manuel Prast. This was the first official title in the history of the Club.
Madrid organised a friendly game against French side Gallia to commemorate the visit of French President M. Loubert to Madrid. The match took place on 23 October 1905 and ended with a 1-1 draw. It was the first international clash to take place in the Town and Court of Madrid.
Keep the Cup of Spain trophy
Winning the Cup of Spain three consecutive years -1905, 1906 and 1907- allowed Madrid to keep the original Cup. They won the tournament again brilliantly in 1908, achieving a four-year dominance over national football.
Creation of the Spanish FA
On 4 January 1909, after a meeting at the Club with delegates from other Spanish football clubs, the Spanish FA was born. Real Madrid President Adolfo Meléndez signed the foundation agreement after being named Secretary of the organisation by everyone present at the meeting. On 11 November 1909 the Spanish FA was legally registered at the Civil Government of Madrid.
Former Madrid player Berraondo founds Real Sociedad
José Ángel Berraondo played a crucial role in Madrid's success in the four Cups of Spain they won between 1905 and 1908. He was both a player and Vice-president with Arturo Meléndez at the Club, as well as Provisional President. In 1909, he returned to his home town, San Sebastián, for professional reasons and founded Real Sociedad with some colleagues.
1,000 pesetas monthly rent for the pitch
In 1910, Madrid abandoned the primitive pitch at the Bullring's avenue to move to the O'Donnell pitch, located between the streets Narváez, O'Donnell, Duque de Sesto and Fernán González. Madrid paid a month's rent of 1,000 pesetas (six Euro). The pitch was 115 metres long and 85 metres wide. Two years later, in 1912, the Club built a fence around it.