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Santiago Bernabéu: The man behind Real Madrid success.




Santiago Bernabéu De Yeste was born on 8th June, 1895 in Almansa (Spain). The Los Blancos legend joined Real Madrid’s side U19 at the age of 16 in 1911, He later then joined the city rivals Atlético de Madrid where he spent the 1920/1921 season at and returned to Real Madrid to continue his legacy. Bernabéu was a legendary footballer, coach, and president who had a significant impact on the history of Real Madrid. He is often credited with transforming the club into a global powerhouse and establishing its reputation as one of the most successful football teams in history.


Bernabéu’s legacy at Real Madrid began during his playing career in the 1920s and 1930s. He was a talented forward who scored an impressive number of 70-goals in 80 official matches for The Whites Angels. During his trial for Madrid the club wanted him to play as a goalkeeper, but his brother Marcelo said, “You either play as a Centre forward or you don’t play”. He helped the team win two Copa del Rey titles and was a regular scorer for the club.


After retiring from playing, Bernabéu turned his attention to coaching and became the manager of Real Madrid in 1927. He led the team to their first national championship in 1932 and won four more titles in the following years. He became the president of the club in 1943—1978.


As president, he oversaw a period of unprecedented success for Real Madrid. He was a visionary leader who had a clear vision for the club’s future and was not afraid to take bold risks to achieve it. One of the most significant changes he made was investing heavily in the club’s infrastructure, including the construction of the Nuevo Chamartin Stadium popularly now known as the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which remains one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world. The stadium gained the name Santiago Bernabéu in January 1955 after the completion of the first renovation works on the stadium.


Bernabéu’s ambition for the club was also reflected in his approach to player recruitment. He was known for his willingness to spend large sums of money to attract the best talent from around the world. This approach paid off handsomely, with Real Madrid winning five consecutive European Cups from 1956 to 1960, a feat that no other club has ever achieved.

However, Bernabéu’s influence on Real Madrid extended far beyond just his financial acumen. He was also a champion of the club’s values and traditions and made sure that these were enshrined in the team’s playing style. Under his leadership, Real Madrid became synonymous with a fast, attacking brand of football.


One of the most striking examples of this was the legendary team that Bernabéu assembled in the 1950s. This team, which included players such as Ferenc Puskás, Alfredo Di Stefano, and Francisco Gento, is widely regarded as one of the greatest sides in football history. They played a mesmerizing brand of football that was marked by intricate passing moves and lightning-fast counterattacks and won numerous domestic and European titles.


Bernabéu’s influence on Real Madrid was not limited to the football pitch, however. He also played a crucial role in the development of the club’s brand and helped to establish its global reputation. He was a shrewd marketer who recognized the commercial potential of the club and worked tirelessly to promote it both at home and abroad. Through his efforts, Real Madrid became one of the most recognizable football brands in the world and attracted supporters from all corners of the globe.


Bernabéu’s impact on Real Madrid was so significant that the club eventually named their stadium after him. The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is not just a physical representation of the president’s vision; it is also a spiritual home for millions of Real Madrid supporters around the world. Every time the team takes to the field, they are playing in front of a stadium that is infused with the legacy of one of the club’s greatest leaders.

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