Real Madrid Seeking to establish new Champions League dynasty

Real Madrid face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday with Carlo Ancelotti’s side seeking to add another chapter to the club’s already astonishing love affair with European soccer’s elite trophy.

Bidding for a record-extending 15th European Cup and sixth in 10 years, they want to emulate Real’s dominance at the dawn of the competition when, during the Alfredo Di Stefano years, they won the first five editions from 1956 and another in 1966.

But after the group of Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Paco Gento and Raymond Kopa established Real as ‘The Kings of Europe’, it took the club 32 painful years to reclaim their throne in 1998.

Rivals often joked about Real’s European Cups all being won in black and white, but the generation of Raul, Fernando Hierro and Roberto Carlos helped Real flourish again in full colour broadcasts when they won three Champion Leagues in five seasons.

But there were then another 12 fallow years, making Real’s quest for ‘The 10th’ an obsession for president Florentino Perez, who failed spectacularly to achieve it via his multimillion dollar ‘Galacticos’ approach.

Real, however, learned from their mistakes and instead of overpaying for big names past their prime, turned their attention to upcoming players on the rise, trying to develop some ‘Galacticos’ of their own.

They signed Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich, Sevilla’s Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema of Lyon, Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo – all under 24 and set to reach their peak during the following decade in Spain.

The club also started paying close attention to Brazil, looking for the next gem from the five-time world champions’ development system. Marcelo and Casemiro signed for a bargain six million euros ($6.50 million) and became club legends.

That youthful but talented squad, under the calm guidance of Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane, bonded as a group and connected on the pitch like a well-oiled machine to finally establish the second great dynasty Real had spent half a century looking for

After winning a cathartic 10th European Cup led by Ancelotti in 2014, Real then won three in a row under Zidane.