Eddie Mendoza has been a Real Madrid fan since he was 4 years old. He grew up in awe of Hugo Sánchez, the Mexican forward who was as globally well known for his spectacular goal-scoring abilities as he was his ensuing acrobatic celebrations.
“He was a true No. 9 and I wore No. 9 growing up,” Mendoza says. “It just motivated me.”
Not only was Mendoza fond of Sánchez for his scoring prowess, but Mendoza’s family hailed from Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, about three hours northwest of Mexico City, where Sánchez was from. Coincidentally, Sánchez finished his playing career for Atlético Celaya in 1997.
Like all Real Madrid fans, Mendoza then enjoyed the club’s Galácticos led by Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and David Beckham. Then came Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
Mendoza finally saw his beloved club in person at the Santiago Bernabéu in 2018. Needless to say, it was well worth the wait as Ronaldo scored a hat trick in a 5-2 thrashing of Real Sociedad on February 10, then scored twice more in a 3-1 win against Paris St. Germain in the UEFA Champions League four days later.
“That’s the main thing that fuels me,” Mendoza says, “the love for the game and the love for the club.”
Mendoza, who also saw Real beat Juventus 4-1 in the 2017 UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff, Wales, is a diehard soccer fan. He was recently in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to watch six matches: U.S.-England, Mexico-Argentina, Portugal-Ghana, Spain-Costa Rica, Denmark-France and Belgium-Morocco.
His love for Real Madrid and soccer spurred him to help launch the Real Madrid Houston Peña in 2014. The club’s approximately 100 members watch matches at Texas Tailgate, play pickup soccer and have picnics together.
“It’s more than just meeting up for a game,” Mendoza says. “It’s a soccer family.”
Mendoza, who plans to return to Spain following the Bernabéu’s renovations, is excited to showcase his Texas soccer family and the sport’s growth in the United States as the world descends upon North America for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“I just can’t wait until everyone gets to experience it here in Houston, Dallas and everywhere in the U.S. when the World Cup comes here in 2026,” he says.