Following the club’s 11th European Cup win, an 1985 article from the archive of History Today explains why the shadow of fascism hangs over Real’s stellar history. During the Franco years, the ostracised regime used football to initiate a gradual road towards acceptance of the the entry of Spain into NATO in 1982 and the EEC in 1985. The Catalans and the Basques, however, used football as a means of popular anti-fascist protest | DUNCAN SHAW (photos and captions added by TS)
On June 21st, 1964, an ecstatic crowd of 120,000, awash in a sea of red and yellow, cheered and applauded Generalissimo Francisco Franco as he stood up to leave the Madrid summer evening gathering. This was no mass rally of political affirmation that the dictator was leaving, but a football match. Spain had just beaten the Soviet Union in the Final of the European Nations’ Cup; so much more than just a football victory: a triumph for international co-operation over Cold War hostility, but, conversely, perhaps also a triumph over the old Red enemies of the Civil War.