Real Madrid are without doubt one of the biggest football clubs in the world. Their wealth off the pitch is matched only by their success on it. No-one has won more European Cups or accumulated such an array of talent in their playing staff over the years.
Their team of Galacticos, which has across the years included the likes of David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, is often held up as an example of the size of the club but the real superstars in Madrid's history were the side of the Fifties. Inspired by Alfredo Di Stefano, perhaps the club's greatest player, Real won five straight European Cups between 1956 and 1960, a record which is unlikely to be equalled never mind surpassed.
Such dominance of the European stage could never last and after Real won their sixth European Cup in 1966 they had to endure a 32-year wait for their seventh. It arrived thanks to a new generation of Madrid players including home-grown stars like Raul and Fernando Hierro and foreign imports like Fernando Redondo, Roberto Carlos and Predrag Mijatovic, who scored the winner in the 1998 final against Juventus.
The election of Florentino Perez as president of the club in 2000 was the start of the age of the Galacticos. Perez made good on his election promise to buy Luis Figo from arch-rivals Barcelona and with cash from the sale of Madrid's training ground, invested in some top quality team-mates for him. Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckham all joined him but the star-studded side was not as successful on the field as it was on paper.
An eighth European Cup arrived in 2002 along with the La Liga title the next year but three barren years followed. Things appeared to be back on track for Madrid in recent years with successive titles in 2007 and 2008 helping them wrestle the title of best team in Spain from Barcelona until Barca's unique Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey triumph in 2009.
The re-election of Florentino Perez, however, has again ushered in a new era of Galacticos, and fresh optimism at the Bernabeu.
Kaka was signed from AC Milan for a world record £56 million, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo for a new world record of £80 million and once more the team ousted Barcelona from the summit of the Spanish league, winning their 32nd La Liga title in 2012.