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Real Madrid’s anthem: how many do they have? song, lyrics and meaning

“¡Hala, Madrid!” is the traditional and most well-known anthem sung by Real Madrid but there are other, newer compositions.

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 05: Real Madrid fans can be seen during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 5, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
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Every Real Madrid fan, wherever they are from in the world, will know the phrase, ¡Hala, Madrid! - the expression used to get behind and show support for the team. The word Hala is frequently used in the Spanish capital but is actually imported from Arabic, a term used to animate horses. It has a few different meanings in Spanish, but in the case of ¡Hala, Madrid! it’s similar in meaning to the Spanish word vamos - roughly, ‘Come on!’ or ‘Go Madrid!’

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Origins of Hala Madrid!

No one is sure when the phrase became Real Madrid’s standard battle cry - probably sometime around the time of the first two league titles in the late 20s/early 30s. But it was almost certainly in frequent usage by the 1950s when the club’s original anthem was composed. There are different theories about how the song came about. The first is that it was specifically commissioned by Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabéu, as other clubs, including city rivals Atlético, already had their own anthems. The other is that it originated in one of the first supporters’ groups, El Club, based right in the heart of the city on Calle de la Victoria in the Huertas district.

We do know that the first incarnation of the lyrics were written by Antonio Villena Sánchez, Marino García (both credited on the record) and his wife, Mercedes Amor Fariña during a train journey from Aranjuez to Madrid in 1952 and the song, a pasodoble, was recorded just a stone’s throw from Huertas at Colombia’s studio in Calle Barco. Ciudad Real-born tenor José de Aguilar provided the vocals, accompanied by a 32-piece orchestra conducted by Indalecio Cisneros. It was issued as a 78 rpm single in 1953 and a few years later on a seven inch EP. Within months supporters had learned the song and were singing it with gusto on the terraces at the Bernabéu. Curiously, De Aguilar later lent his voice to the anthems of two of the capital’s other clubs, Atlético and Rayo Vallecano.

Newer, modified versions of ¡Hala Madrid!

Other versions of ¡Hala, Madrid! have since been recorded - Flamenco artist José Mercé recorded his own version in 2005 for the film Real and opera singer Plácido Domingo was the voice on a newer version in 2016 to celebrate the club winning their 11th Champions League. Domingo had earlier recorded the Centenary Hymn, especially for the club’s 100th birthday in 2002 with music and lyrics by Mecano’s José María Cano. It was commissioned solely for the centenary events and was never intended to replace the original anthem.

¡Hala Madrid! Original 1952 version (roughly translated lyrics)

Of all the sporting glories

that leave Spain in awe

Go Madrid with their flag

Clean, white and untarnished.

Castizo and generous club,

all energy and heart,

Veterans and novices,

veterans and novices,

always looking to their laurels

with respect and excitement.

Hala Madrid !, Hala Madrid!

Noble and dogged champions,

Knights of honour.

Hala Madrid !, Hala Madrid!

To triumph fair and square,

defending our colours

Hala Madrid !, Hala Madrid !, Hala Madrid!

Enemy in the battle,

when we lose, we offer our hand

without envy or grudges,

like a good and faithful brother.

Every Sunday afternoon,

walking to Chamartín,

the young kids from Madrid,

the young kids from Madrid

all happy and smiling

because today Real Madrid are playing.

Hala Madrid !, Hala Madrid!

Noble and dogged champions,

Knights of honour.

Hala Madrid !, Hala Madrid!

To triumph fair and square,

defending our colours

Hala Madrid ! Hala Madrid ! Hala Madrid!

Real Madrid’s anthem updated for the 21st Century: Hala Madrid!... y nada más

In 2014, an updated anthem, ¡Hala Madrid! ...y nada más (Hala Madrid!... and nothing more) was written by Moroccan-Swedish composer RedOne (Nadir Khayat) and Manuel Jabois to commemorate the club clinching La Décima - the long-awaited tenth European crown. Carlo Ancelotti and members of the first team contributed backing vocals to the track.

¡Hala Madrid… y nada más! 2014 version (translated lyrics)

History that you’ve made,

History still to make,

Because nobody can resist

Your will to succeed.

The stars are coming out,

My dear Chamartín,

From far and wide,

They bring us out here.

I carry your shirt,

Right next to my heart,

Those days on which you play,

They are all I could be.

Now La Saeta runs,

Now Madrid attacks,

I am fight, I am beauty,

The cry that I have learned.




Hala Madrid!

And nothing more,

And nothing more,

Hala Madrid!

Other songs and chants

There are plenty of other Real Madrid chants sung during games, including Como no te voy a Querer (How could I not love you) among the more popular ones.