The not so well-known story of how Real Madrid helped Manchester United

Football is a family. That’s it. Some people like to call it the greatest sport in the world meanwhile others criticise it for a million different reasons, but at the end of the day we all come together as one. In fact, that couldn’t be more true when it comes to two of the biggest clubs in the history of the game – Real Madrid and Manchester United.

Disasters in this sport are far too common. Over the years, we as a footballing unit, have been forced to mourn the loss of several collections of players, coaches and fans, but in the end it makes us all stronger once we come out the other side.

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One of the most notable incidents in this regard was the Munich Air Disaster back in 1958. The details don’t need to be explained here, because all we need to be talking about is respect and the legacy that Manchester United side left behind.

It’s no secret that there’s been an odd rivalry between Real Madrid and Manchester United for years now. When you speak about football the majority of people will recognise these two clubs above any other, whether that be due to their stature or the familiarity of their names and badges.

Whatever the case may be, there is a mutual love between Madrid and United that stems back to that fateful day all those years ago. In the wake of the tragedy in Munich, Real Madrid President Santiago Bernabeu did everything he could to help rebuild the Red Devils from the ground up.

It came from his undeniable respect for Sir Matt Busby, in addition to the soon to be friendship between the two legends of the game. They offered holidays to Spain for those affected at the club, even allowing the use of their facilities throughout Madrid’s stadium and general complex.

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There were annual friendlies set up in order to help raise funds, and at one stage the legendary Alfredo Di Stéfano was offered to United on loan in order to assist the team on the pitch. Unfortunately the transfer was blocked by the FA, but the gesture is there for all to recognise.

It doesn’t matter who you support or who you hate. It doesn’t even matter if you love football or not. The one thing that matters and that nobody can deny, is that the actions of Real Madrid and president Santiago Bernabeu speak volumes about the passion we as a footballing community have. We’ll say it again – football is a family.

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