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Real Madrid Club de Fútbol commonly known as Real Madrid, is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain.
Unlike most European football clubs, Real Madrid's members (socios) have owned and operated the club since its inception. The club is the richest football club in terms of annual revenue, generating €438.6 million in 2011 and the second most valuable, worth €1.4 billion.Real Madrid holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably El Clásico with FC Barcelona. The team has played its home matches in the 85,454-capacity Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in downtown Madrid since 1947.
It is one of three clubs to have never been relegated from the top flight of Spanish football, along with Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. Domestically, Real Madrid has won a record 32 La Liga titles, 18 Copas del Rey, 8 Supercopas de España, 1 Copa Eva Duarte and 1 Copa de la Liga. Internationally it has won a record nine European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles and a joint record three Intercontinental Cups, as well as two UEFA Cups, and one UEFA Super Cup.
In July 2000, Florentino Pérez was elected club president.He vowed in his campaign to erase the club's 270 million euro debt and modernize the club's facilities. However, the primary electoral promise that propelled Pérez to victory was the signing of Luís Figo.The following year, the club got its training ground rezoned and used the money to begin assembling the famous Galáctico side including players such as Zinédine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luís Figo, Roberto Carlos, Raúl and David Beckham. It is debatable whether the gamble paid off, as despite a UEFA Champions League and an Intercontinental Cup (football) win in 2002, followed by the League in 2003, the club failed to win a major trophy for the next three seasons.In the summer of 2003, just after capturing another La Liga title, Florentino Pérez and the board of directors refused to renew the contract of coach Vicente del Bosque and after an internal dispute forced captain Fernando Hierro to leave the club. They also ignored Claude Makélélé's request of a new contract with a better salary, in return, Makélélé asked for a transfer request, and was transferred to Chelsea.
The few days after the capturing of the league title were surrounded with controversy. The first controversial decision came when Perez sacked winning coach Vicente del Bosque, after Real's sporting director claimed that del Bosque was not the right man for the job; they wanted someone young to shake up the team.The bad atmosphere continued when the Real legend and captain Fernando Hierro left the club after a disagreement with the management, as did Steve McManaman.However, the club toured Asia in pre-season and introduced newly signed David Beckham. Perez and his directors refused to renew Claude Makélélé's contract with a better salary, upsetting Makelele who asked for a transfer, eventually moving to Chelsea F.C..In the final days of the transfer window, Fernando Morientes left the club on loan to Monaco.Real Madrid, with newly appointed coach Carlos Queiroz, started their domestic league slowly after a hard win over Real Betis.
On 1 June 2009, Florentino Pérez regained Real Madrid's presidency.Pérez continued with the Galácticos policy pursued in his first term, buying Kaká from Milan, and then purchasing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for a record breaking £80 million.
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