Real Madrid first came to prominence in the 1950s under the leadership of Santiago Bernabéu Yeste, after whom the club’s stadium is named. Under his presidency, which began in 1945, Bernabéu rebuilt the stadium and training facilities after they were damaged during the Spanish Civil War and in the early 1950s began signing some of the best foreign players of the time.
Bernabéu was also responsible for organising an exhibition tournament of invited European teams, the genesis of what is now the UEFA Champions League and during this time Real Madrid first became a dominant force in domestic and European football, winning the European Cup five years straight between 1956 and 1960. This feat resulted in the club being awarded the original trophy for good.
Madrid also won the La Liga title four times in the 1950s, eight times in the 1960s, six times in the 1970s, and five times in the 1980s. By the 1990s though their dominance had ended with just two La Liga wins throughout the decade, while FC Barcelona became a major force in Spanish football.
Since the turn of the century Real Madrid has won the league title five times, a period that coincided with FC Barcelona continuing to be a strong force in Spanish football that has often overshadowed them.