It is common belief that the Real Madrid team between 1956-1960 is most likely the best club side ever to grace the earth. But what about Real Madrid before that? And why not after? And were they really that dominant during?
Whilst they might have won five consecutive European Cups between 1956-1960 they only won the Spanish League twice during this time. Their last Copa del Rey win prior to 1962 was in 1947.
It is remarkable to think in 1953/54 at the proper beginning of their success story that Real Madrid won only their third La Liga title. Today they have 33 (and counting).
In 1960/61 the year after they annihilated Eintracht Frankfurt with attacking galacticos style football for a fifth European trophy they won the La Liga title losing only two games. Barcelona, the team that had beaten them to the domestic title the previous two years knocked them out of the European Cup over two legs. I doubt any other side that year would have been equipped enough able to stop them making it six in a row?
A season later, Real Madrid would go on to defend their La Liga title thanks to a start of the season that seen them win their first eight games including a 2-0 win over Barca.
Madrid, with the profilic Ferenc Puskas and an ageing genius in Alfredo di Stefano were still a match in Europe too. They won 9-0 against Odense before taking on and beating Juventus (all be it needing three matches) in the Quarter Finals.
Back in Spain the club would slightly stumble to a league title during a packed campaign of matches but in a year that los blancos shown resilience and determination under the great Miguel Munoz they again proved that their success story wasn’t as short lived as the 1960 barrier they had us all thinking. In fact between 1960/61 the Madrid dynasty just grew and grew with five back to back championships and three more to end the decade in a remarkable era that would see them win all but two Spanish championships.
Real Madrid during the 1960’s were certainly a force.
That force echoed in their 1966 European Cup win but arguably a better team would be beaten in the 1962 European Cup final as both Madrid and Benfica played out the most thrilling final with Real storming into a 2-0 lead thanks to a Puskas brace. Benfica twice scored to equalise before the Hungarian Puskas grabbed his hat-trick before half time.
The second half though was a different story as Coluna made it all square again before the great Eusebio first from the penalty spot and then from a free kick turned the tie on its head to win it for the Portuguese. Benfica defended their trophy but not without a scare from the great Real Madrid team in one of the great finals.
The treble chance had gone but the Kings Cup was still on the cards. Real Madrid had their star striker Ferenc Puskas again to thank for a final brace against Sevilla with the winner coming in the final minute of the game.
A team including the experienced Jose Santamaria and Marquitos in defence, with the likes of Luis del Sol action packed and captain Gento with the trickery of a wizard. Justo Tejada who they poached from Barcelona. Pachin who would go on to win seven league titles. Isidro who would win four with goalkeeper Jose Araquistan often a passenger that very great year.
If you believed Real Madrid were only good between 1956 and 1960 you were wrong. Because in 1962 they were every bit as good in midst of title successes that would guarantee their dominance on the Spanish game even further inflicting pain on the great Barcelona, Bilbao and Atletico nemesis.
Real Madrid won the title and the Copa del Rey and came close to winning the European Cup in 1962 in what was arguably their strongest season of the golden era, one far too easily forgotten, but not by us.