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I think there's a difference in the ways in which sports announcers from the U.S. and U.K. refer to the teams. If my memory serves me correctly, I think announcers in FIFA from the U.K. will use forms of verbs corresponding to a singular noun; in the U.S., I believe it's the reverse. Please, correct me if I'm wrong about the two different styles across countries, but I think my question's clear enough.

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    Yes, you are right. Speakers of BrE refer to groups of a certain size in the plural, whereas AmE treats all corporate entities as a unified whole, as a single (conceptual) person. I'm a native AmE speaker, so I'm not sure what the rules or heuristics for the British corporate are are, but I know while they refer to e.g., Morgan Stanley in the plural, the (UK) government is always referred to in the singular. Perhaps one of our resident BrE speakers can shed more light. – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 13:29
  • This is a duplicate. You could check at 'collective nouns ... while I find a better match.' – Edwin Ashworth Jun 25 '15 at 13:30
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    Real Madrid compete real well. Sorry. – TRiG Jun 25 '15 at 13:31
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    @Dan Bron I think that is very misleading. Most Brits I know / have corresponded with about this use notional concord: Real Madrid was founded in 1902 / Real Madrid are not playing as well as Brucilona. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 25 '15 at 13:32
  • @EdwinAshworth Yes, I'm very unclear on the details. What are the rules for "notional concord"? – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 13:33
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Real Madrid competes very well.

I believe that "competes" is the proper verb for the sentence mainly because of the subject verb agreement regardless of the adverb "very well"

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    But that wasn't the question OP asked. – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 14:24
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    It could be either "competes" or "compete," depending on regional differences in conjugating verbs after collective nouns. – Nicole Jun 25 '15 at 20:00

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