Legends: Santiago Bernabéu


Santiago Bernabéu
Playing career

Bernabeu was born in 1895 in a village of Albacete.He was the seventh son of José Bernabéu, lawyer and administrator in Valencia, and Antonia de Yeste, of cuban origin. With only five years he moved to Madrid with his parents and brothers.

After reaching the capital of Spain, Bernabéu entered the Alfonso XII Royal School of the Augustinians in “San Lorenzo de El Escorial”, where he had his first contact with football. In addition, his older brothers Antonio and Marcelo were also players. Later he studied high school at the Cardenal Cisneros Institute and studied law at the Central University. Although he graduated as a lawyer, never pursued that career.

At school Bernabéu began playing center forward on the soccer team, a position he assumed in his first team, Gimnástica de Madrid. During his time as a bachelor gets to enter Madrid FC- the current Real Madrid CF, where his brother, Antonio Bernabeu, was one of the founding partners. Although the coaches wanted to play as a goalkeeper, his brother Marcelo managed to convince them to play the striker position. The player was part of the youth team for three seasons, until in 1913 he debuted in the ranks of first team

Bernabeu was Real Madrid striker from 1913 to 1927 and during its period of activity scored 69 goals in 78 games, being a hard and effective player.Was also part of the Madrid squad that won the Copa del Rey 1917. Santiago never played an international soccer match in the Spanish team, although it got to be summoned for a match against Portugal on December 17, 1922, without ever debut.

Santiago Bernabéu (Player)
Member of the Board

Santiago Bernabéu retired from football in 1927 and wanted to continue leading the football team. At that time took a position as delegate and assistant coach, and a year later was appointed manager during the period of President Luis Urquijo.

In 1929 he assumed the secretariat of the Board of Directors of Real Madrid, a job he held until 1935. In those years saw the birth of the Spanish Football League with the professionalization of the institutions as the main objective. Its work was instrumental in the signing of players such as Ricardo Zamora. In 1934 Castilian Football Federation awarded him the medal for footballing merit.

With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War took refuge, for two years, in the embassy of France. Later he went into exile in that country and in the last months of the conflict he enlisted in the ranks of the national side.

Real Madrid Presidency

After the war, he returned to the Real Madrid leadership positions, which in those years going through a difficult situation losing most of their best players and without stadium or office. In those years, married in 1940 to Maria Valencia and took a position as a Finance Ministry official.

On September 15, 1943, the Board appointed Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabéu, who has set as its objective the construction of a new stadium, heal the battered economy of the club and professionalize the institution. In June of 1944 formalized the purchase of some adjoining land to the former Chamartín to build the facility, and finally the new Chamartin Stadium was inaugurated on December 14, 1947 with victory over Belenenses 3-1 with 70,000 spectators in the stands. The Board of the club changed the name of the camp on January 4, 1955 by the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, despite the initial reluctance of the president.
Later he opened the sports city, an independent training center of the football stadium which was the usual venue for the preparatory exercises.

In a first stage without success in sports, Bernabéu tried to consolidate the reform on the Real Madrid sporting institutions. After, the club won major titles becoming one of the powers of international football (16 Spanish Leagues, 6 Spanish Cups, 6 European Cups and 1 Intercontinental Cup)

He passed his last months of life relatively smoothly and the president received important awards, including gold and diamond medal of the Royal Spanish Football Federation and the gold medal for sporting merit, awarded by the King Juan Carlos I. He died on June 2, 1978.

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