Will Galacticos' Second Coming Bring Back Real Madrid's Glory Days?

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IJune 9, 2009

When the words "Real Madrid" are mentioned, immediate connotations fill every football fan's head.

For Barcelona fans, or indeed those of any of Real's Madrid-dwelling counterparts, they would mostly be negative.

They might range from purely footballing opinions to the rather more macabre associations with Spain's former dictator General Franco.

But for almost everyone else around Europe—perhaps even around the world—Real Madrid are seen as the Kings of Europe.

If you asked most people to name the best side in Europe right now, very few, if any, would say Madrid. Barcelona or Manchester United would probably get the bulk of the votes.

However, if you were to ask who they thought the overall Kings of Europe were, Real Madrid would always be up there. The nine European Cups sitting in their trophy cabinet makes them the default answer.

But why is this? Looking at the record of their European Cup triumphs, it is painfully obvious that Madrid have only been a consistently dominant force in Europe twice.

Yes, just twice.

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Between 1955 and 1960, they were indisputably the best side in Europe. A team containing the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano, 'Paco' Gento, and later Ferenc Puskas saw to that, helping them to five consecutive European Cups.

This period of dominance, it could be argued, lasted until 1966, when they won the European Cup again.

Between 1960-66, they largely battled for European supremacy with Eusebio's Benfica, finishing as runners-up in '62 and '64.

Despite another final appearance in 1981, Madrid would have to wait until the late '90s for another period of dominance.

They would win the trophy again in 1998, 2000, and 2002, the latter coming while the club was under the presidency of one Florentino Perez.

Perez ushered in an era reminiscent of those Madrid glory days of the 1950s, creating a dream team:

The Galacticos.

While the era wasn't as trophy-laden as the team-sheet of David Beckham, Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, and Raul suggests that it should've been, it was still exciting times for the Madrid faithful.

And now, it seems that those exciting times are returning with Florentino Perez's second coming.

Kaka's world record transfer is testament to Perez's ambition and intent, and draws obvious comparisons to Zidane's world-record transfer in the first Galactico era.

Other touted transfer targets provide more comparisons. David Villa is regarded as one of the best strikers in world football, as Ronaldo was. Cristiano Ronaldo is a merchandise-selling machine, and a fairly useful player as well, much like David Beckham.

He is also a Portuguese captain and icon, much like Figo was.

So Perez must've seen enough in the Galactico's first stint to think a second era was worthwhile and, after a few years out of the European spotlight, it could well make Madrid a force to be reckoned with once again.

It will certainly make the Real Madrid vs. Barcelona matches compelling viewing! Imagine Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, and Samuel Eto'o up against Kaka, David Villa, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Will this latest Madrid dream team see a return to the glory days? I think so.

Whatever happens, we're in for a great show.

Sit down and make yourself comfortable, because you're about to witness Galacticos 2: The Return of the Kings.

Quiz Question No. 8:

Real Madrid signed Luis Figo from Barcelona for a world record transfer fee in 2000, a record later broken by fellow Galactico Zidane, but who held the record before Figo's transfer?

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