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Why Is Real Madrid’s Appeal So Much Greater Than Other Clubs?

The Royal Whites Just Have More Luster

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

We're all undoubtedly familiar with the regal origins of our beloved and almost fabled club, Real Madrid Club de Fútbol

From its founding in 1902 as Madrid Football Club, to its bestowal of "Real" in 1920 by King Alfonso XIII, Real Madrid has been a unique organization, including it being owned and operated exclusively by its Socios since its inception.

But what is it that continues to imbue the elegance and class of this club not only in our hearts and minds, but in the minds of the world?

With perhaps the exception of the years under Jose Mourinho, the reputation this club has had for decades embodies the best of the best in this sport. Whether business management, the hardworking and dedicated canteranos, the mighty Galacticos, or the way in which we conduct ourselves as a club, the reputation of this club is almost as white as it's majestic white kits.

I think it comes down to a combination of things. In this case, the brand equity this club has is truly a sum of all its parts.

We exude class from top to bottom. We play hard but not dirty. Our interviews and social media presence are professional and respectful. We have confidence without being haughty or arrogant.

This is in stark contrast for me to the impression, vibe, or even gut feeling I have for most of the other big clubs in the top leagues.

Let's start with the easy ones closest to home.

La Liga

Barcelona - our eternal nemesis

I could spend an entire article rehashing our collective feelings toward this club. But in short, in spite of the obvious disdain as their top rival, even in the height of our begrudging respect during the Pep domination years, Barcelona will always carry with them the vibe and reputation of snobby, play-acting elitists. Their poorly managed club, and artifice in La Masia and Mas Que un Club only exacerbate their prima donna attitudes on the pitch.

Chronic diving, perpetual harassment of the officials on every play, or the ridiculousness that has been Xavi's ridiculous comments in a desperate attempt to remain relevant during retirement, sorry I mean playing for Qatar, and Pique's twitter account antics will forever perpetuate a sour feeling.

Atletico Madrid - our cross-town rivals

Another easy one for which much ink has been used to discuss. Underdog ruffians begot the Simeone era of Mafioso-led thuggery that overshadowed their now over stint world-leading defensive dominance.

Were they not rivals, you almost wanted to kind of root for their Cinderella story except for the simple fact they are absolute douchebags.

Now let's take a look at the EPL

Manchester United

Literally one of the most popular clubs in the world. And since the bygone earlier days of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad of Giggs, Scholes, Van Nistelrooy, Keane, et al, they've really made it easy to not like them. There is something about the club mentality - both from team and fans, that is off-putting.

It's kind of like the most popular guy in high school still thinking he's all that and a bag of chips 10 years later in spite of the fact that he's an arrogant, mostly mindless trust-fund baby who can only get people to hang out with him because he throws his money around.

Also, most recently, big Mou doesn't help any.

Manchester City

City used to be ok. I mean if you had to choose one club in Manchester, back in the day, you chose City just to spite United. But lately it's definitely a case of you don't want either.

For me, it's the massive cash outlay without clear direction or purpose. City aren't actively a-holes about their money like United is, but it seems like they are trying to use cash to create an identity but are failing miserably.

The result is a vacuous project with no soul. One that even the master puppeteer Pep Guardiola can't seem to change.

So you don't really begrudge them like you do you United. They just make you feel kind of sad inside for some reason, and as a result you'd really rather spend your time with just about anyone else.

Arsenal

I had to throw Arsenal in here because it's just too easy.

Arsenal are the lower-middle class a-holes that you just love to hate. The humorous thing to me is how closely the club vibe/mentality mirrors their fan base's - a true match made in heaven. They seem to stick with Wenger in some sort of co-dependent love/hate relationship. It doesn't actually work for them, they have brief flashes of realized potential, but they seem to hang on to it because they just love to bitch and complain more than they like winning.

All the while touting their perceived superiority over everyone else (based on what, I'm not sure) which makes them impossible to be around let alone foster legitimate footballing conversations.

Bundesliga

I was going to throw Bayern and Dortmund in here, and maybe even a little Schalke, but I personally can't get enough personality from the German clubs to have enough of an opinion one way or the other.

Maybe that's quintessentially a German thing.

Either way, they are basically hard-working, mostly decently-charactered footballers.

Ok, maybe Rummenigge is a bit of a wanker, but that's all I really get from the Bundesliga

Ligue 1 and Serie A

PSG

Were it not for the recent competitions with PSG, and their continued move toward buying all the top talent, I don't think I would have mentioned them at all.

In spite of the stereotypical pompousness that is all things French, Ligue 1 has historically been so obviously lopsided, especially recently, that it was impossible to be elitist, it's almost not worth a mention.

But I do mention PSG because they might actually be developing a personality under Emery, and with the addition of Neymar and the glimmer of an actual project, I think have the potential to be much bigger players on the world stage.

They're still the fat rich guy with the mansion at the end of the posh Beverly Hills cul-de-sac, but maybe he'll turn out to also be a clever novelist some day.

*Quick nod to Monaco who stole the league last year as the hard-working middle class team. No shade to throw their way. But if they let Mbappe go this season, which looks inevitable, will probably fade back into the woodwork.

Juventus

Ah the Old Lady. It's tough to pin a single personality on Juventus for me. The general vibe is not good - some bad-boy, typically pretty talented, but with a chip on their shoulder general image maybe.

They aren't anywhere near as thuggish as Atleti, but still have a little bit of that.

Perhaps they always come off like the insecure bully. They might be really good at some things, but aren't comfortable enough in their own skin to go about their business with any kind of grace.

They flex their raw muscle just enough to get their way most of the time, but aren't ever content with the win/league title because it never quite fills the void in the gut from daddy leaving when they were little.

Napoli/Roma

Admittedly I don't watch either team enough to really pick these two apart, but for me, aside from Napoli having the edge in bullishness, and Roma (mostly due to the decade plus of Totti) carrying a bit more class, they kind of both are about as innocuous and undefinable as it gets.

They're like the 50's white, male, middle class office worker with a white short-sleeved shirt, brown tie, brown pants, brown eyes, brown hair and mustache who is completely indiscernible from every other 50's male office worker. They show up and do a perfectly decent job, but never anything consistently noteworthy enough to stand out.

After probably way more opinion-piece space spent on describing the general vibe I get from other big teams, I will harken back to my original point - Real Madrid seem to embody all the best characteristics of personality, class, skill, business, club.

I mean seriously, if Real Madrid haters didn't have Ronaldo to inexplicably hate on for the last few years, what negative things could they have even come up with?

Two questions to finish -

  1. What else adds to the Real Madrid Luster?
  2. What other clubs did I miss/omit that give off big vibes?

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