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The total presence of the Spanish national team abroad indicated their national image. Spain’s victories were at the same time victories of Franco and glory from the football victories strengthened the political regime of Spain. Success in football in national level disorientated the population from the problems of society. Football as mass sport was able to make known the military regime’s ideology and beliefs. Franco as leader of the military regime wanted a powerful national team included players who would be able to make pride the Spanish people and their leader. General Franco promoted fascist values in the national team. Mass media which were under the control of Franco’s regime adopted a patriotic discourse, in order to promote the Spanish national team. The Spanish international players changed their red shirts with blue and they were asked to line up to salute the fascist way and sing fascist songs. National team failed to gain the title of regime’s ambassador and failed during the Franco’s era to qualify in the World Cups of 1954, 1958, 1970, and 1974 and did not manage a good run in the 1962 and 1966 Cups. The Spanish international players failed to follow Real Madrid’s successes and as a result Real Madrid had taken the role of national team and at extension

Real Madrid in 1957

the role of representative of Franco’s regime in international level. The successes of Real Madrid increased the prestige of Franco and his regime. (Identity, nation-state and football in Spain. The evolution of nationalist feelings in Spanish football, Goig R.L., p.59-60, Soccer & Society, Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2008, 56–63)

Real Madrid Santiago Bernabéu 2

Santiago Bernabéu

Real Madrid had during Franco’s period the role of the ambassador and the team of the regime. But however some people supported that Real Madrid was victim of Franco. Real Madrid considered as the regime’s team by the view of the close relationship between Real’s president Santiago Bernabéu and Franco’s regime. Bernabéu was president from 1943 until his death in 1978 and during these years was supporter of Franco. At the same time without proved that is true, it is likely that most of the club’s fans were supporters of Franco. Because of the supporting of Franco and most of his ministers towards Real Madrid, Santiago Bernabéu was feeling proud. When the club gained five possessed trophies in European Champions Cup from the season 1955-56 until 1959-60, Real’s president was feeling proud for the role of the regime’s ambassador as well. (Identity, nation-state and football in Spain. The evolution of nationalist feelings in Spanish football, Goig R.L., p.59-60, Soccer & Society, Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2008, 56–63)

Franco’s vision was the creation of single Spanish identity, one and unique national voice in abroad. Franco was opposite in the projection of the Spanish diversity such as Catalans, Basques, Andalusians etc. The Spanish military regime wanted the rise of nationalism and not the regional nationalism. Projection of the regional nationalism abroad was against the Spanish national image. The projection of united Spanish nation was the ideal scenario for the Franco’s regime. Real Madrid’s president Santiago Bernabéu was supporter of the Franco’s philosophy, and he believed that his team was the representative not only of Madrid but of the whole Spain in European Champions Cup. The five possessed European titles for Franco were proof that the Spanish nation had the superiority in European football between the seasons 1955-56 and 1959-60. The arrival of the great Argentine

imagesplayer Alfredo di Stefano in 1953 contributed in this golden period for Real Madrid. Di Stefano was at the time playing on loan for Colombian Millonarios de Bogotá but officially registered with Argentine club River Plate. Then FC Barcelona had signed Di Stefano from River Plate but the Spanish Football Association according to Barcelona, stopped the transfer claiming he was Millonarios player. Then Real Madrid involved and negotiated his transfer with Millonarios. After this confusion the Spanish Football Association made an unusual decision. Di Stefano was instructed to play alternative seasons for Real Madrid and Barcelona. Then Barcelona was very angry with this, declined this offer and withdrew from the deal. This important transfer was another proof of the intervention of Franco’s regime in Spanish football and especially was another proof of the close relationship with Real Madrid. Club’s successes made according to Franco proud the Spanish people but also the regime itself. As the best ambassador of Spain during this period, military regime of Franco used Real Madrid for the promotion of regime’s propaganda abroad. Often Franco followed Real Madrid in its matches with other regime’s dignitaries. Franco and the state’s political system benefited from the club’s prestige and glory during these years. (Football Nationality and the State, Duke V., Crolley L., p.34-39)