With its brilliant white color, the jersey of Real Madrid is one of the most recognizable in soccer. The immaculate kit practically shines when it’s on the field, and the minimalist design also makes it prime real estate for a sponsor. Throughout the last forty years there have been 11 different sponsors to grace the front of the most successful soccer team in Europe and WorldSoccerShop.com takes a look at them
Fans of Los Blancos are probably already familiar with the Fly Emirates logo that currently adorns the front of the shirt. Emirates has been a staple of leagues in England, France, Germany, and Italy for years but this marked its first entrance into Spain. The airline began its sponsorship in 2013 on a five-year deal that saw the club paid an impressive $39 million annually, with expectations to renew the deal beyond the 2018 season. Given the team’s success with Emirates (a Copa del Rey title and two UEFA Champions League trophies) it might not be a bad idea.
The deal was a 30% increase over what the club received from its previous sponsor, Bwin. That company paid $20 million a year to the team between 2007 and 2013.
Before the Bwin era Madrid was sponsored by various divisions of the German company Siemens. This began in 2002 with Siemens Mobile until 2005, when the shirt sponsor became Siemens for a year. It then switched to BenQ-Siemens in 2006, but this partnership ended when the company went bankrupt.
Prior to this Madrid spent 2001 participating in a bit of self-promotion with RealMadrid.com at its kit sponsor to promote the club’s new website. Sponsoring itself would turn out to be good luck for the team as Real Madrid won its ninth Champions League title the same year.
Before that was Real Madrid’s longest sponsor to date, Teka. Teka was the sponsor from 1992-2001 and the German manufacturer continues to support the club’s basketball team today. The Teka years mark some of the most successful in Madrid’s history with two UEFA Champions League titles, a Copa del Rey, three league titles, and an Intercontinental Cup.
At the beginning of the ’90s the team was sponsored by the Spanish auto distributor Otaysa during the 1991/92 season.
Real Madrid began offering advertising space on the front of its shirt in 1982, and the first sponsor for the front of the famous white kit was Zanussi, an Italian home appliance company. This partnership continued until 1985 when the team changed its sponsor to Parmalat, an Italian food corporation that sponsored Los Merengues until 1989. Madrid then switched to Reny Picot, another dairy company, this time headquartered in Madrid.
That rounds out the illustrious history of the companies that have had the privilege of gracing the front of this iconic jersey. 11 sponsors and 11 Champions League victories. Coincidence?
Real Madrid is one of the most successful clubs in the history of soccer. The team has won a record 11 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles in addition to a record 32 La Liga titles. This tradition of excellence has continued for 115 years, dating back to Madrid’s beginnings at the start of the 20th century.
Founded on March 6, 1902 by a group of students from the Institución Libre de Enseñanza (or Free Education Institution), it wasn’t long before it got its first taste of success as Madrid FC, winning the 1905 Copa del Rey.
The team name was changed to Real Madrid CF in 1920 when King Alfonso XIII granted the title of ‘Real’ to the club, literally meaning ‘Royal.’
When La Liga was established in 1929 Real Madrid was one of the founding members, and to this day they are one of only three teams that have never been relegated from the top flight.
Such a rich history doesn’t come without making a few enemies, and Madrid’s rivalries are some of the best in all of sports. Chief among these is its longstanding rivalry with FC Barcelona, also known as El Clásico. The other rivalry comes in the form of the Madrid Derby against the team’s cross-town rival, Atlético Madrid.
The club plays in the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which was completed in 1947, and has called itself home to some of the greatest players the world has ever seen. This has included its 1950s team that featured legends like Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás. The latter has the FIFA Puskás Award named after him, which is given to the player who scores the ‘most beautiful goal of the year.’
Di Stéfano and Puskás were instrumental in helping Real Madrid to 5 consecutive European Cup titles between 1956 and 1960. Throughout the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s Real Madrid dominated La Liga and it wasn’t until the ’90s that they began to be seriously challenged.
After winning another European Cup in 1965, it was 32 long years before Madrid would be crowned champions of Europe again. The 1998 team included stars such as Raúl, Roberto Carlos, and Clarence Seedorf and brought Madrid its seventh Champions League title. This was the beginnings of a new era of star-studded Madrid teams that became known as Galácticos.
Florentino Pérez became the president of Real Madrid in 2000, and immediately began work on signing a new superstar each year. During this time the club added Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Ronaldo (from Brazil), Luis Figo, and many others. It was then that Madrid won its 9th UEFA Champions League title during the 2001/02 season, in addition to two more La Liga titles in 2000/01 and 2002/03.
After resigning from the presidency in 2006, Pérez returned in 2009 and once again pursued his Galácticos policy, breaking transfer records with the signing of Kaká followed by the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo quickly establish himself as one of the best players in the history of the club (and the world) and is the team’s all-time leading scorer. Following these big-money signings Jose Mourinho was appointed manager in 2010 and lead the team to a record 32nd La Liga title during the 2011/12 season.
Mourinho left the club in 2013 and was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti. The same year the club set transfer records once again with its signing of Gareth Bale. The following year Real beat its rivals Atlético Madrid to bring home its tenth UEFA Champions League title in 2014, also known as La Décima. Ancelotti was replaced by Rafael Benitez in 2015, who was also quickly replaced, this time by former Madrid star Zidane in 2016.
In his first year managing the club Zidane helped Madrid to yet another UEFA Champions League trophy, their eleventh. Today, Real Madrid continues to be one of the most dominant clubs in the world, as well as one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports.
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is regarded as one of the most illustrious and hallowed grounds in the world, having played host to a number of legendary games during its 70-year history. The stadium has hosted the Champions League final on four different occasions, most recently in 2010. It was also the home of the 1964 European Nations Cup final (where Spain won its first Euro title) and the 1982 FIFA World Cup Final between Italy and West Germany.
It was originally known as New Chamartín Stadium, after Madrid’s former home, Estadio Chamartín, which was built in 1924 and had a capacity of 22,500. Work on what was to become the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium began in 1944 was completed in 1947. The first game was played on December 14, 1947, against Portuguese club Os Belenenses and Madrid won the match 3-1. The first player to score in the new stadium was Sabino Barinaga.
In January of 1955 it was decided to change the name to Santiago Bernabéu in honor of club president, Santiago Bernabéu Yeste. Bernabéu served as president for 35 years until his death, and it’s impossible to overstate his importance to Real Madrid. This was also the year that the stadium underwent its first renovation, and was expanded to a capacity of 125,000 for the inaugural European Cup. At the time, the Bernabéu was the largest stadium of any of the teams competing in the tournament, and it remains one of the most revered stadiums in Europe today.
The next updates to the stadium came in 1982 when Spain hosted the FIFA World Cup. Renovations included installing a roof, as well as reducing the capacity from 120,000 to 98,000. Nearly 25,000 of those seats were covered by the new roof.
The stadium was renovated once again in the early ’90s with construction beginning in 1992 and ending in 1994. These improvements were focused on increasing stadium safety and improving the overall spectator experience. More than 20,000 improved seats were added to the grounds featuring 87 degree angles so each fan could have a perfect view of the pitch. The Bernabéu switched to an all-seated plan in 1998.
The 2000s saw the stadium undergo many modernizations to further improve the quality and comfort of the facilities. The current official capacity of the Santiago Bernabéu is 81,044. It is ranked as a Category 4 stadium by UEFA, the highest ranking a stadium can achieve.
Top Five Matches Played at the Bernabéu
1957 European Cup Final: Real Madrid 2 – Fiorentina 0
1964 European Nations Cup Final: Spain 2 – Soviet Union 1
1969 European Cup Final: AC Milan 4 – Ajax 1
1982 World Cup Final: Italy 3 – West Germany 1
2010 UEFA Champions League Final: Bayern Munich 0 – Inter Milan 2
No football shirt is imprinted on the history of the game as indelibly as the immaculate white of Real Madrid.
Los Blancos – the whites – have always worn the same, brilliant, glistening white since the club’s inception in 1902. Madrid took inspiration for their attire from Corinthians FC of London, England, who were supposedly revered for their sportsmanship.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric can be seen today kitted out fully in white, but the club did experiment with an off-white top and black shorts during the mid-1920s. However, an unsuccessful campaign was blamed on the change, so the classic design was brought back after just one year.
In the 1950s, when the European cup was first devised and introduced, Real Madrid became the most glamourous and popular team in the world, winning the first five editions of the continental competition, with such legends of the game as Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas and Raymond Kopa making Madrid almost unstoppable.
The success the side from the Spanish capital enjoyed in this period inspired England’s Leeds United, who wore blue at the time, to change the color of their kit to match the pure white of Madrid in 1961. The decision to switch to white was the idea of manager Don Revie, who remains one of the most respected bosses in the history of English football. He thought that the Yorkshire cub would be able to emulate the famous conquerors of Europe if they were dressed the same.
Like any other club to have been founded in the early 20th century or before, the Madrid shirt underwent several technological changes as the heavy, cotton jerseys with lace-up collars evolved into lightweight, round-necked, breathable tops.
The Real Madrid shirt did blaze one particular trail, however, that was soon followed by all other teams, and helped to improve the viewing experience of fans while also aiding the way the game is officiated. When they played cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid on 23 November 1947 at the Metropolitano Stadium, Los Blancos became the first team ever to wear numbers on the back of their shirts.
It’s hard to imagine watching a game of football today without the 22 players out on the pitch being readily identifiably by the number on their back, while the clubs themselves have been reaping the merchandising benefits that come along with selling replica shirts bearing the name and number of their most marketable stars.
Of course, that marketability of players is something that has become a calling card for Madrid and their Galacticos, a business model and the entire identity of the club has been built around it. Whether it’s Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham, or Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, Los Blancos have made it their aim to kit out the most recognizable stars of the world game in their famous white jersey.
Although, the 11-time champions of Europe haven’t always been the marketing powerhouse they are today. Indeed, Madrid was behind the curve when it came to acquiring a shirt sponsorship deal.
Many clubs around Europe had begun to sport the name and logo of a major brand across the center of their jerseys by the mid-1970s, but Madrid didn’t catch on to that trend until 1982, when Zanussi, an Italian home appliance manufacturer, became their first ever shirt sponsor.
They were a little late to the idea of having sportswear manufacturers produce their shirts for them too, with adidas taking on the task in 1980. Since then, Madrid jerseys have been made by Hummel and Kelme before returning to adidas in 1998.
Real Madrid’s has undergone few significant changes. The most glamourous club in the world built their enormous success while wearing pure white and have stuck with it ever since.
5 Real Madrid Legends
What do Luis Figo, Hugo Sanchez, Paul Breitner, David Beckham, Michael Owen, Roberto Carlos and Zinedine Zidane have in common? Correct, they were considered among the best soccer players in the world. But what else?
None of them make the list of the five greatest Real Madrid players of all time. And that tells you everything you need to know about the level of talent that’s come through the Spanish club.
The top five that follows consists of players who were on the short list for the best in the world during their particular era, or in some cases, all time.
Iker Casillas (1999-2015) - Real Madrid Jersey #1
Raul (1992-2010) - Real Madrid Jersey #7
Ferenc Puskas (1958-1967) - Real Madrid Jersey #10
Cristiano Ronaldo (2009-present) - Real Madrid Jersey #7
Alfredo Di Stefano (1953-1964) - Real Madrid Jersey #9