Why do soccer teams have “real” in their name?





The Origin Story of "Real" in Soccer Team Names

When you first hear the names of popular football clubs like Real Madrid or Real Salt Lake, you might wonder why the word "real" is included. The answer lies in the rich history of football and the cultural significance of this term. The word "real" is Spanish for "royal," and its use in the names of football teams is a nod to the royal patronage that these clubs once enjoyed.

In the early days, football clubs often sought the support and endorsement of the nobility. Being granted the use of "real" in their name was a significant honor. It signified the royal approval and support for the club, adding prestige and legitimacy to its operations. This tradition started in Spain, and it has continued to be a part of football culture around the world.

The Role of King Alfonso XIII in This Tradition

The tradition of using "real" in football club names started with King Alfonso XIII of Spain. He was a great supporter of football and played a key role in its development in the country. As part of his support for the sport, he granted certain football clubs the right to use "real" in their names.

Real Madrid was the first team to receive this honor in 1920. The King's endorsement not only elevated the status of the club but also helped popularize football in Spain. Following this, other clubs also sought and were granted the same privilege, establishing a tradition that continues to this day.

How "Real" Spread to Other Countries

While the tradition of using "real" in football club names started in Spain, it didn't stay confined to its borders. As football grew in popularity worldwide, other countries adopted this tradition. This was often a way of honoring the Spanish influence on their football heritage or simply a nod to the prestige associated with the term.

In the United States, for instance, Real Salt Lake received its name as a tribute to Real Madrid. The club's founders admired the Spanish team and wanted to honor their style of play and success. The use of "real" in their name is a testament to this admiration and respect.

Controversies Surrounding the Use of "Real"

The use of "real" in football club names has not been without controversy. Some critics argue that it is a form of cultural appropriation, especially when used by clubs outside of Spain. They claim that it devalues the historical and cultural significance of the term.

Despite such controversies, the use of "real" in football club names continues. For many clubs, it is a treasured part of their history and identity. It represents the royal endorsement they once received and serves as a reminder of their rich heritage.

Impact of "Real" on Team Identity

Having "real" in a club's name can have a profound impact on its identity. It's not just a word; it's a status symbol. It signifies a seal of royal approval and sets the team apart from others. For the players, it's a source of pride and motivation. It reminds them of the club's royal heritage and the high standards they are expected to uphold.

For the fans, it's a source of pride and loyalty. The word "real" is often incorporated into club chants and slogans, further strengthening the bond between the team and its supporters. It serves as a constant reminder of the club's illustrious past and its commitment to excellence.

The Legacy of "Real" in Soccer

Over the years, "real" has become synonymous with football royalty. It's a word that carries a rich history and tradition. It's a symbol of royal patronage, prestige, and high standards. Despite the controversies surrounding its use, it continues to be a cherished part of football culture.

From Real Madrid in Spain to Real Salt Lake in the United States, the legacy of "real" in football is evident. It's a testament to the sport's royal roots and its global reach. It's a tradition that has stood the test of time, and one that will likely continue for years to come.

About author

Damon Westergaard

Damon Westergaard

Hi, I'm Damon Westergaard, a sports enthusiast with a passion for soccer. I've been actively involved in various sports for most of my life, but soccer holds a special place in my heart. As an expert in the field, I've dedicated my career to analyzing and writing about the beautiful game. My work has been featured in numerous publications, both online and in print. I am constantly researching, learning, and sharing my knowledge with fellow soccer enthusiasts.

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