Real Madrid will have a presence in the top three tiers of Spanish Football for the 2012-13 season. This however is not the first time that the Spanish giants have done this, as there was a four year period in the mid 1990's when the C team played in Segunda B, whilst its bigger and older siblings did its business in the top two divisions.
|Mini-mini-me - Ciudad Deportiva Valdebebas|
Real Madrid C can be traced back to Real Madrid CF Afficionados, an amateur team founded in 1952 by fans of Los Merengues, and It has to be said that they were quite some set of amateurs. Made up of Real Madrid's most promising youngsters and non-contract players, the club won the Campeonato de España de Aficionados on eight occasions, including six in a row during the 1960's. The last of those championships in 1969-70, earned the club a place in the following seasons Copa del Generalissimo, where they beat Asturians CD Ensidesa before losing out to CF Gandia. That 1970-71 season also saw the club join the Regional Preferente and over the next decade they recorded a series of steady, if unspectacular finishes. Games were played at the Cuidad Deportiva, Real Madrid’s training complex, a mile or so north of the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, on the Castellana. The sports city had been opened by the erstwhile president in 1963 and also featured basketball, athletics, tennis and swimming facilities. Real Madrid CF Afficionados finally made the breakthrough in 1980-81, when a second placed finish earned them promotion to the Tercera.
Over the next twelve years, the club won the Tercera title on three occasions, but failure in the play-offs or the B Team's presence in Segunda B put an end to any hopes of promotion. That did not stop the club entering the Copa del Rey and in 1987-88 they progressed to the last 16, beating Racing Santander & Las Palmas before succumbing to Atlético Madrid. In 1990 the Spanish Federation modified its regulations, dictating that all affiliated teams of a professional club, must be assimilated into the professional club. This led to the dissolving of Real Madrid CF Afficionados and in its place rose Real Madrid C. Under its new moniker, the club continued to impress in the Tercera, finally winning promotion to Segunda B in 1993, after pipping Zamora CF in the play-off group. Life in the third tier was quite comfortable, with a highest finish of 7th in 1993-94. Unfortunately for Real Madrid C, it was their older brothers that led to their demise. After finishing 13th in 1996-97, the club was demoted to the Tercera following Real Madrid B's relegation from La Segunda. Life back in the Tercera has been comfortable, with two further league titles, but the B Team's presence in Segunda B has put a stop to many thoughts of promotion. That was until July 2012, when following Castilla's promotion to the second division and a number of club's demotions from Segunda B, Real Madrid coughed up 190.000€ to see it's C team play in the third tier.
Real Madrid C is composed of second year professionals and youth players form the juvenile teams. Home for the club and many of it's players is Real Madrid's Ciudad Deportiva at Valdebebas, 6 miles north east of the city centre, close to Madrid's main airport. Benefiting from the 480m euros the club made form the sale of the old Ciudad Deportiva, no expense was to be spared in developing the world's largest and most lavish training complex. Real Madrid C moved in towards the end of the 2003-04 season and shared their pitch with Castilla until the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano was opened in May 2006. The pitch they use is the most south westerly of a group of six that are at the centre of the complex, just next to Castilla's new stadium. The main feature is a single raised stand on the west side, that has six rows of blue seats and a short 30m cover at the centre. The only other seating is a short bank of three rows of seats on the east side, that run from half-way to the south east corner. With a capacity of 1,500, the ground will prove more than adequate for their games in Segunda B, and if they need a bigger arena, the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano is but a short pass away.
|The original Ciudad Deportiva pictured here in the mid 1970's|
|The C team's 1,500 seat arena|
|Looking south. Real Madrid's Ciudad Deportiva with the central C Team pitch|