Throughout history, football has played an integral part in moulding the cultural identity of a region. And there have been several teams whose histories are replete with the exploits of their legends both in the domestic competition as well as in Europe.
Not many teams have managed to maintain that level of consistency with the passage of time, though, and very few clubs remain that have not faced the drop into a lower division in the domestic competition in their extensive history.
We take a look at 10 European football clubs that have never been relegated:
1. Real Madrid
Unsurprisingly, as befitting the most valuable sports team in the world, Los Blancos have never been relegated from the Spanish top-flight since the club was founded in 1902 as Madrid Football Club. In their illustrious history, the club has amassed an astounding 32 La Liga titles, 19 Copa del Rey, 9 Supercopa de España, 1 Copa Eva Duarte and 1 Copa de la Liga.
In fact, in their entire history in the Spanish league, the lowest they have ever finished is in 11th in the 1947/48 season.
This was soon forgotten as the Madrid teams of the 1950s, considered to be among the greatest teams ever, dominated Europe, winning the first five editions of the European cup back-to-back. Back home as well, Real were dismantling the opposition, having won a mind-boggling 12 titles in the 16 years between 1953/54 and the 1968/69.
Even now, they remain the most decorated club in European competition, having won a record 11 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles and hold the joint record for 3 Intercontinental Cups. This is apart from success in less mainstream competitions that have yielded them two UEFA Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.
A lot of clubs with history have sadly faded out with the advent of contemporary football, but not Real Madrid. Since the turn of the century, Madrid have won the La Liga five times, the Copa Del Rey twice as well as the Champions league thrice, and have never finished outside of the top four in La Liga.
The club’s members (socios) have owned and operated it since its inception, and Real have adapted with the times, becoming a true modern superpower of the game.