Soccer players never get tired of playing the game.

That’s what this page is all about.

Where your FIRST TOUCH SOCCER book ends, the FREE KICK page begins.

It’s a chance for you to learn more about Real Madrid … and for me to talk about some of the great stories I couldn’t squeeze into the book.

Scroll down to get the latest news … and to learn more about Spanish soccer. And check out some of the cool collectibles I have in my home.

Enjoy this site, check back whenever you like, and contact me with any questions or comments.

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Breaking News

(Photo by Chris Deahr)

What’s up with Real Madrid

May 2, 2023: Brazilian striker Rodrygo scored both goals in Real Madrid’s 2–1 victory over Osasuna in the final of the Copa del Rey. It was the first time in nine years the club won Spain’s national soccer tournament.

April 29, 2023: Karim Benzema netted three goals in a victory over Almeria. It marked the second time in April that Benzema scored a hat trick.

February 08, 2023: Real Madrid won the World Club Cup for the fifth time in its history with a victory over Al-Hilal, a club from Saudi Arabia. Vinicius Junior, Federico Valverde, and Kari Benzema scored for “Los Blancos” in the final.

October 17, 2022: High-scoring Karim Benzema was named the winner of the 2022 Ballon d’Or (Gold Ball) as the world’s top soccer player.

October 17, 2022: Team captain Karim Benzema won the Ballon d’Or (Gold Ball) Award as the top player in the world during the 2021–22 season. Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 matches for Real Madrid and added a 45th goal as a member of France’s national squad.

May 28, 2022: Vinicius Junior scored the lone goal in a 1–0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final. The victory completed an amazing run to the title, during which Real Madrid defeated Paris Saint-Germain (the tournament favorite), Chelsea (last year’s champs), and powerful Manchester City. It marked the fifth Champions League trophy for “Los Blancos” in nine years and the 14th European championship in club history.

March 14, 2022: Karim Benzema scored twice in a 3–0 win against Mallorca to become history’s top French-born goal scorer. He passed Thierry Henry, who held the record for many years with 411.

March 09, 2022: Karim Benzema scored three goals in 17 minutes to lead his club to a comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain. At 34 he became the oldest player to score a hat trick in Champions League play.

November 3, 2021: Karim Benzema scored against Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk to make Real Madrid the first team in history to score 1,000 goals in Champions League play. The next-highest number of goals at the time was 655, by Bayern Munich.

October 24, 2021: Veteran defender David Alaba was the star of a tight “El Clasico” victory over FC Barcelona with the lone goal in the first 90 minutes. It was Alaba’s first goal for Madrid after joining the team in August. Both clubs scored in injury time to make the final score 2–1. 

September 22, 2021: Marco Asensio scored three goals in a victory over RCD Mallorca. It was the club’s second hat trick in 10 days; Karim Benzema netted three in a win over Celta de Vigo on September 12.

July 9, 2020: Real Madrid finished with 26 wins to capture their 34th regular-season title in La Liga. They were undefeated after play restarted following the three-month layoff because of coronavirus. Karim Benzima led the club with 27 goals.

January 12, 2020: Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid to win the Supercopa de Espana. The final was played in Saudi Arabia, which will host the finals again in 2021 and 2022. It marked the 11th time Real Madrid won the trophy.

August 17, 2019: The club opened its 2019–20 season with a 3–1 road win against Celta Vigo. Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, and Lucas Vazquez scored for Real Madrid.

May 19, 2019: Real Madrid completed the La Liga schedule with 12 losses to finish in third place. Karim Benzema was a bright spot in a disappointing season with 30 goals overall, including his 200th for Real Madrid.

May 26, 2018: Gareth Bale broke a 1–1 tie with a pair of second-half goals against Liverpool to give Real Madrid its third Champions League title in a row.

April 8, 2018: Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 650th career goal in a 1–1 draw with Atletico Madrid.

March 18, 2018: Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals in a 6–3 victory over Girona.

December 16, 2017: Cristiano Ronaldo scored the lone goal in a 1–0 victory over the Brazilian club Gremio in the final of the FIFA World Club Cup. Real Madrid became the first team to win the title two years in a row.

December 6, 2017: Cristiano Ronaldo led Real Madrid to a 3–2 win over Borussia Dortmund. He set a record by scoring a goal in all 6 matches during the Champions League Group Stage.

September 17, 2017: The club tied a record set by Santos of Brazil in 1963 by scoring a goal in its 73rd match in a row.

August 16, 2017: Real Madrid defeated Barcelona 2–0 to win the Spanish Super Cup. Marco Asenio and Karim Benzema netted the two goals for their club.

August 8, 2017: Real Madrid defeated Manchester United 2–1 to win the 2017 UEFA Super Cup.

June 3, 2017: Real Madrid defeated the Italian club Juventus in the Champions League final by a score of 4–1. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice. It was Real Madrid’s 12th Champions League/European Cup title, and the second in a row for the club. They are the first back-to-back winners since the Champions League format was introduced a quarter-century ago.

May 21, 2017: Real Madrid finished with 29 wins, 3 losses, and 6 draws (ties) to finish atop La Liga for the first time since 2012. Cristiano Ronaldo finished third in the league with 25 goals.

La Liga & Copa Del Rey

La Liga Stickers
(© Panini)

  • Real Madrid plays in La Liga, which is Spanish for The League. There are 20 clubs in La Liga. Each plays 38 games—one home and one away against the other 19 clubs. The teams with the poorest records are moved down (or “relegated”) from the Primera Division (First Division) to the Segunda Division (Second Division) of Spanish soccer. A playoff helps to decide the clubs that move up to replace them.

  • Each year, Spanish soccer clubs compete in a tournament for the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup). Fans call it “La Copa” for short. Barcelona won La Copa for the 28th time in 2016—more than any other club.

Collector’s Corner

Aldredo Di Stefano
(© Monty Gum)

Hugo Sanchez
(© The Upper Deck Company)

Iker Casilias Sticker
(© Rafo d.o.o.)

More treasures from the author’s collection!

  • Alfredo Di Stefano — Midfielder
    Alfredo Di Stefano scored more than 300 goals after coming to Real Madrid from his home country of Argentina. He could play any position on the field, but was best on the attack. Di Stefano helped the club win five European Cups.

  • Ferenc Puskas — Forward
    Ferenc Puskas did not arrive in Madrid until he was in his 30s. He found new life with the club and scored 242 goals in 262 games. Puskas led his team to five league championships and three European Cu

  • Carlos Santillana — Forward
    When a ball was in the air, chances were good that Carlos Santillana would get his head on it first. He used his leaping ability and powerful shot to score 290 goals for Real Madrid.

  • Emilio Butragueno — Forward
    Emilio Butragueno was never the team’s main scoring threat. That left him free to use his great ball skills when opponents let their guard down. Fans nicknamed him The Vulture because he got many of his 171 goals after fans thought a scoring threat was dead.

  • Hugo Sanchez — Forward
    The only thing more fun than watching Hugo Sanchez score was watching him celebrate. He was good on the ground and great in the air—with diving headers and amazing bicycle kicks. Sanchez was also a master of the free kick.

  • Raul — Forward
    Raul (Raul Gonzalez) was Real Madrid’s team captain and top scorer for many years. He did not have the flashy skills of some teammates, but he rarely made mistakes and always worked hard to get good shots. The result was an amazing 323 goals for the club.

  • Iker Casillas — Goalkeeper
    Iker Casillas had quick reflexes and was an expert at leaving the goal to smother one-on-one attacks. No matter how much pressure was on Casillas, he always remained cool and calm.

Fun Facts

Miguel Munoz
(Photo by Hans Peters/ANEFO)

Did You Know?

• In a 1943 match, Real Madrid defeated arch-rival Barcelona 11–1.

• During the 1960s, the young and exciting Real Madrid squad that ruled Spanish soccer was called the “Ye-Ye” team. They got the nickname because they wore their hair long like The Beatles. Spanish Beatles fans were called Ye-Ye’s after the lyrics Yeah-Yeah-Yeah in the song “She Loves You.” Their coach was Miguel Munoz, who had captained Real Madrid as a player in the 1950s.

• In 2011–12, Cristiano Ronaldo became the fastest player to reach 100 goals in the history of La Liga, 92 games. He broke the record of Ferenc Puskas, who scored 100 goals in his first 105 league games.

• More than 220 million soccer fans around the world say they root for Real Madrid.

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