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Stadium, players, history

Real Madrid in facts and figures

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Stadium, players, history - Real Madrid is not a run-of-the-mill football club. Real, semi-final opponents for Bayern in the Champions League, enjoy almost mythical status. Their 112-year history is packed with titles and triumphs, and could feature a brilliant new chapter this season. “The Décima means everything in Madrid,” explained Real's Germany international Sami Khedira in summing up the expectations in the Spanish capital. Décima, the tenth triumph in Europe's elite club competition, is almost within reach. takes a closer look at Real Madrid:

History: The club was founded on 6 March 1902 under the name 'Madrid Foot Ball Club'. They played in white from the start. The 'Real' title was awarded to the club in 1920 by King Alfons XIII. Real landed their first national title in 1905 three years after the formation of the club when they won the Copa del Rey. The first Spanish league title came in 1932 four years after the competition was founded - Bayern won their first league title in the same year.

Further milestones in Real's history:

  • the election of president Santiago Bernabeú (1943), who had his hand on the reins at Real up to 1978 and organised the building of the stadium (1947) that bears his name today;
  • the signing of Alfredo Di Stéfano (1953) and Ferenc Puskás (1958) who helped to make the White Ballet the most successful team in Europe up to the mid-1960s;
  • winning the top European competition after a break of 32 years in 1998 (under coach Jupp Heynckes);
  • the phase of the Galacticos after the millennium that saw the signing of new superstars year after year, including Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, and David Beckham.

The successes in the Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup in 2002 are the last great triumphs on the international stage for Real Madrid.

Honours: The 32 league titles won by Real Madrid puts the Spanish giants way ahead of arch-rivals Barcelona (22). Real have won the Spanish domestic cup competition, the Copa del Rey, 18 times with Barcelona (26) and Athletic Bilbao (23) winning the trophy more often.

Real Madrid are the most successful club in the world on the international stage. Three triumphs in the Intercontinental Cup (1960, 1998, 2002), nine European champions cups - six time winners of the European Cup (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966), three-time winners of the Champions League (1998, 2000, 2002) – and two UEFA Cups (1985, 1986) adorn the club museum that contains over 12,000 trophies.

Stadium: The Estadio Santiago Bernabeú Is one of the holiest shrines of football. The stadium has a capacity of 81,000 and the densely populated stands are turned into a veritable cauldron on Champions League nights. The Bernabéu was opened in 1947 with an initial capacity of 75,000, rising to 125,000 a couple of years later (1953). The stadium has born the name of its founding father since 1955. The Bernabeú is listed amongst the UEFA elite stadia. It was the venue for the Champions League final between Bayern and Inter Milan (0-2) on 22 May 2010. The stadium is due to be rebuilt by 2018.The capacity will rise to 90,000 and the €400 million investment will include an illuminated facade and a retractable roof.

Team: 2000 to 2006 was the period of the Galacticos under president Florentino Pérez and the property developer is again the main man at Real since 2009. He has stuck to his guns: his signings include Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso and Kaká, who is no longer in the squad. Real splashed out €100 million last summer to bring Gareth Bale to Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur. Rising stars Isco and Asier Illarramendi have also joined Real Madrid. Established top players in the squad include goalkeeper Iker Casillas (at the club since 1989) and Sergio Ramos.

Sami Khedira has been an established first choice at Real since 2010. After a torn cruciate the Germany international is on the verge of returning to full training but the games against Bayern are likely to come too early for him. Young striker Jesé Rodríguez is still struggling with a cruciate injury.

Ronaldo is also sidelined at the moment. The World Footballer of the Year has missed the last two competitive matches due to knee and thigh problems (including the 2-0 reverse in the Champions League in Dortmund) and there is still a question mark over his appearance against Bayern in the semi-final. His absence would definitely represent a loss for the Real as Ronaldo is the top scorer in La Liga (28 goals) and the Champions League (14). He only needs one goal to break Lionel Messi's record for a Champions League campaign. Alonso, Illarramendi and Ramos are all on a yellow card ahead of the semi-final meeting with FCB.

Coaches: Carlo Ancelotti has been at the helm at Real Madrid since last summer, taking over from José Mourinho who returned to Chelsea. The 54-year-old Italian is one of the most successful coaches in the world. He led AC Milan to victory in 2003 and 2007 in the competition most treasured at Real Madrid: the Champions League. Ancelotti was also very successful as a player at AS Roma and AC Milan, winning the European Cup in 1989 and 1990. Before joining Real he was the coach at Paris St. Germain (2012/13), Chelsea (2009-11) and AC Milan (2001-09).

Tactics: Real Madrid have made a name for themselves this season with their attacking football. Led by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Real are currently by far the best attacking side in the Champions League (32 goals). Ancelotti plays a 4-3-3 formation. Ramos and Pepe are the central defenders with the full-back roles taken by Fabio Coentrao and Daniel Carvajal or Marcelo. Xabi Alonso is at the heart of midfield supported by Luka Modric, Isco, Angel di Maria or Illarramendi. Benzema is the central striker flanked by Bale and Ronaldo. There is a constant change in goalkeepers. Diego López is the number one in the league and the experienced Casillas is between the sticks in the Champions League.

Current situation: The focus at Real Madrid is on the Décima. The club actually has the chance, for the first time in its history, to win the treble of league title, domestic cup and Champions League. Real are third in La Liga three points behind leaders Atletico; Real face Barça in the Copa del Rey final next Wednesday; and Ancelotti's team is determined to reach the Champions League final. Real have gone out at the semi-final stage in the last three seasons, include an exit in 2012 at the hands of Bayern.

Real Madrid reached the knockout stages of this season's Champions League as clear group winners ahead of Galatasaray, Juventus and Copenhagen. Since then they have only played German teams: They beat Schalke 9-2 on aggregate in the Round of 16, Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in the quarter-finals and now they face Bayern in the last four. The 2-0 reverse in the second leg of the quarter-finals at Borussia Dortmund is their only defeat to date.

Record against Bayern: 'La bestia negra', the Black Beast, is what Real Madrid fans call Bayern. Real have suffered a number of painful defeats against the German giants as in the last meeting in the semi-finals in 2012: Following a 2-1 defeat in Munich, Real won 2-1 in the return leg with FCB winning the tie 3-1 on penalties. A 4-2 loss in February 2000 (group stage) is Real's biggest home defeat in the top European competition to date. Real Madrid have a negative record against Bayern in the Champions League with 5 wins, 1 draw and 8 defeats. The same applies to the overall record on the European stage: it reads 7 wins, 2 draws, 11 defeats.