History: 1921-1930

In this third decade, Real Madrid has become an international benchmark, thanks to the tours made by several European countries. In addition, the team made a successful American tour. In the brief period of one year, the Real Madrid stadium changed twice. The last year comes to Madrid the legendary Ricardo Zamora.

Santiago Bernabéu joins Atletico for a year

Prior to the start of the 1920/21 season Santiago Bernabéu left the Real Madrid team, for the first time since his arrival in 1912, although fans saw him play in several friendlies with the “eternal rival” shirt. In 1921, and after donning the Atletico Madrid shirt for a match against Español, the Spanish FA denied Santiago Bernabéu the authorisation to play in the semifinals of the Spanish Cup, because had not passed one year since his departure from Real.

The first team to wear black armbands

Nowadays it's very common to see teams wearing black armbands as a sign of mourning. Madrid was the first team ever to wear the armband for such use, and it was seen for the first time, in a match against Atletico Madrid on March 5, 1922, in honour of the deaths of "Madridista" player Sotero Aranguren and Bilbao player, Rafael Moreno “Pichichi”.

Ruete keeps off Bernabéu of the national team

After being called up several times by the national team, Santiago Bernabéu could have made his debut with Spain against Portugal in Lisbon on December 17, 1922. He was all dressed to play when national coach, Julián Ruete, gave Pagaza the nod instead. “I was surprised that they called me up, but even more that they allowed me to dress, but coach didn't want to play with me”, stated Bernabéu.

One year at the Ciudad Lineal Velodrome

Real Madrid were forced to leave O'Donnell field in 1923 because the owner wanted to develop the land. Therefore, the team moved to the Velodrome at Ciudad Lineal which was the first grass playing field they had ever used. The grounds belonged to Arturo Soria's heirs, who then rented it to Real Madrid. It measured 108 metres long by 68 metres wide, and had enough room for 8,000 spectators.

Chamartín, a crazy undertaking

Less than a year later, on May 17, 1924, occurs the opening of Chamartín field, with capacity for 15,000 spectators, built by José María Castell. Real Madrid paid tribute him in his dual capacity as former Real Madrid player and architect. It was inaugurated on May 17, 1924 with a match between Real Madrid and Newcastle United. The hosts defeated the English side 3-2 in front of 15,000 onlookers. The new Madridista field was full-capacity for that match. In 1947, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium was built on top of parts of this land.

Chamartín Field

The first English tour

Businessman Enrique Alcaraz was responsible for getting Real Madrid to play in England, the birthplace of football, for the first time. Despite the fact that every match against the English teams ended in defeat, the British press unanimously praised Real Madrid's talent and playing style.

Pedro Parages banishes black shorts because they are jinxed

Real Madrid had always dressed in white, until the 1925/26 season, when the shorts of the official kit were changed to black. A string of bad results led the Club President, Pedro Parages, to leave the black shorts idea because he thought they were jinxed.

Coach Santiago Bernabéu

In 1926, the head coaching job was given to Santiago Bernabéu when President Luis Urquijo decided to replace Juan de Cárcer. Then, in 1928, he was in charge of the team for three months after coach José Ángel Berraondo. During the 1932/33 season, Bernabéu became interim coach for one month between the departure of Lippo Hertzka and the arrival of Robert E. Firth.

American tour stirs excitement

Real Madrid's first American tour was a big hit in Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Cuba, Mexico and the United States. During three and a half months the team was on the two continents when they won 16 of the matches they played. José García Echaniz was responsible for the Madridista expedition and Santiago Bernabéu was the Club representative.

League Championship: “La Liga”

On February 10, 1929 there is a milestone in Spanish football, with the dispute on the first day of the new League Championship. It is established the First Spanish Division with ten teams: the six champions of Spain, among whom was the Real Madrid, the three runners, and the winner of a qualifying tournament among a dozen teams; Racing Santander won the tournament. It was made a championship that gave a definite boost to Spanish football. The Real Madrid debut is settled with victory over Europe 5-0. The Real Madrid is the first leader of the league. Good start in a competition that will bring fans great satisfaction.

The first Madrid-Atletico derby

Madrid and Atletico met for the first time on February 21, 1929, in matchday 3 of the League Championship at the former Chamartín field. It was the first official derby of the new tournament, and Madrid won 2-1 thanks to a double by Triana, while Marín scored the lone strike for the Rojiblancos.

First League runner-up

Real Madrid led the first Spanish football League for the first ten match days, and it looked like they would easily win the League title. But the Madridistas were surpassed by Arenas de Guecho and Barcelona. Madrid retook the lead in the second part of the tournament by defeating Arenas, in what was their best game of the season. But the loss against Athletic Bilbao at San Mamés in the last match of the season kept Madrid from winning the title. They had to settle for runner-up, just one point behind Barcelona.

Zamora signing has national impact

The negotiations between Pablo Hernández Coronado and Damián Canellas, technical secretaries of Real Madrid and Español respectively, produced the transfer of the legendary keeper to the White Club. The Zamora signing caused a national stir, because Madrid paid to the Catalan Club, the astronomical figure of 150,000 pesetas (900€). “The Divine,” as Zamora was also known, made his Real Madrid debut on October      5, 1930 against Atletico Madrid in matchday 4 of the Regional Championship.

Ricardo Zamora
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