Coming from a country top-heavy with different football codes rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules and the round-ball version Jason Dundas kicked off to Spain to check out the one Australians generally call "soccer". It's played by just about every country in the world, and is gaining amazing momentum in Australia.
Well, the best place to start looking was Real Madrid, the greatest soccer club on earth. Its history of superstar players is breathtaking. It is the most successful club in European competition history with 11 European trophies, nine European Cups and two UEFA Cups, more than any other European club. Real Madrid has been owned and operated by its members since 1902 and was awarded the prestigious title of "Best Club of the 20th Century" by FIFA.
To start with, player salaries read like telephone numbers Zinedine Zidane cost Real Madrid €9 million that's over $17 million Aussie dollars for just one season! To convince David Beckham and Ronaldo to run around with him cost €12 million combined that's more than $23 million Aussie dollars.
Jason Dundas from Sydney, Australia? A good buy for just $18 Aussie dollars.
For the same $18 you can enjoy a backstage tour of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of the legendary team. It's an easy half-day if you are looking for something to do in Madrid.
Check out the trophy room it's like a shrine to the players. Everything is there from players' shoes, pictures, trivia and hundreds of trophies. You will see the dressing rooms, the presidential box and press room.
The well-stocked Real Madrid shop is a virtual supermarket of merchandise everything from babies' bottles with the logo to having a shirt made up with whatever name and number you want on it.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium tours are around $18 for adults and $13 for children. They run every day between 10.30am and 6.30pm. On match days they run in limited areas until five hours before kick-off.
Emirates has flights to Madrid. For the most up-to-date fares, call them on 1300 303 777 or log on to www.emirates.com/getaway
Real Madrid Football Club
P de la Castellana, 144, Estadio
Santiago Bernabéu, Puerta 42
Avda de Concha Espina 1
Ph: +34 91 398 4300
Avenida Concha Espina 1
Visas: Australians do not require visas to visit Spain.
Electricity: 230V/50Hz using European plugs.
Time zone: GMT + 1.
Currency: The euro
International dialling code: +34.
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