What the world was like when Madrid last won La Liga, European double

What the world was like when Madrid last won La Liga, European double

Considering the trophy-laden history of Real Madrid, it’s surprising that Saturday’s Champions League final battering of Juventus was the Spanish giant’s first La Liga and European Cup double since the 1957-58 season.

Here, NewsFromSport explores the landscape in football – as well as in other sports, politics, and pop culture – during Real Madrid’s trophy haul 59 years ago under Luis Carniglia.


Nereo Rocco was in the middle of implementing the defence-first philosophy of catenaccio in Italy by guiding Padova to previously uncharted territory in Serie A. Although there’s an argument that the system was founded by Salernitana’s Gipo Viani over a decade earlier, Rocco eventually went on to popularise the highly organised tactical approach at AC Milan, collecting two European Cup wins in the 1960s.

The true stars in club football were members of the first generation of Galaticos at Real Madrid. Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, and Raymond Kopa were three of many huge names that were in the middle of a European assault. The 1958 victory was the club’s third straight procurement of silverware in the continent’s leading competition, and two more titles followed in 1959 and 1960 for an unrivalled streak.

Related – Dazzling dozen: Where does Real Madrid rank among Europe’s best?

On the international scene, Pele made his debut for Brazil as a 17-year-old at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. He went on to tally six strikes, finishing a distant second in tournament scoring to Just Fontaine of France, who scored 13 times. Brazil won the tournament with a 5-2 beating of the host at the now-demolished Rasuna Stadium.

In a tragic event which trivialised the year’s events, seven Manchester United players were among 23 dead in the Munich air disaster three-and-a-half months before the European Cup final. A team made up of reserves and youth-team members somehow won the first match after the tragedy, and Matt Busby would miraculously turn United into a force during the 1960s, culminating in the 1968 European Cup triumph.

Rest of sport

In December 1958, the Baltimore Colts dismissed the New York Giants in the NFL Championship in what has since been dubbed the greatest game ever played. The game was error-strewn and full of turnovers, and was the first notable occasion in the NFL where overtime was needed. Raymond Berry and running back Alan Ameche were key for the Colts, and the latter was the hero when he scored a touchdown with 6:45 remaining.

In the 1958 World Series, the New York Yankees won their 18th Fall Classic with a 6-2 win over the Milwaukee Braves in Game 7. The MVP of the series was Yankees pitcher Bob Turley.


The United States faced the Eisenhower Recession in 1958, a sharp economic decline that temporarily halted the post-World War II boom and raised unemployment to above seven percent.

Somewhat at odds with the financial restraints in the country, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – or NASA – was formed by president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Lots of rocket-launching squabbles with Russia ensued.

Elsewhere in the States, renowned businessman Nelson Rockefeller was elected as the 49th Governor of New York. 16 years later, he became Gerald Ford’s vice president.

In the United Kingdom, London’s Gatwick Airport opened its doors on June 9.

Pop culture

Elvis Presley was the king of the charts, but was conscripted to the U.S. Navy as a private in March 1958. He trained in Fort Hood, Texas during what was a tough year for Presley, as he was left distraught by the death of his mother in August. Ever prolific, the songsmith still recorded five songs during a two-week leave, including the No. 1 hit “A Big Hunk O’ Love.”

While Presley was busy in the armed forces, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald enjoyed chart success, and The Everly Brothers were a worldwide phenomenon.

A popular craze at the time was the Hula Hoop, originally produced by the toy company Wham-O. Over 100 million were sold worldwide, and the business is still housed in California today.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)