Atletico Madrid's History

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Facts about the Atlético Madrid

Atletico Madrid's History

The Atletico de Madrid was founded in the early stages of the twentieth century by a group of students in Bizkaia, with the denomination “Athletic Club de Madrid”. The chairman´s office was occupied by Enrique Allende who submitted his resignation months later. Eduardo de Acha was appointed as his successor.
Atlético de Madrid 1911
At that time, the club's uniform was a t-shirt with both a white and a blue stripe and a pair of black or blue pants. In 1911, the club´s uniform finally changed to red & white, the same colors of the sheets, which formerly covered mattresses, hence, the famous nickname “Colchoneros”.

Before the construction of the O'Donnel field, initiated by the then President Julian Ruete, the Athletic Club de Madrid performed their first matches on a field located behind the walls of El Retiro. The Metropolitano was inaugurated ten years later, in 1923, and was to become the Athletico´s new fiefdom.

The First Leagues Titles

At the end of the Spanish Civil War and following its merge with the Aviación Nacional and its change of name to Athletic Aviación de Madrid, it was proclaimed Champion of the Leagues of the 1939/40 and 1940/41 seasons. For the first time in history, the red & white team conquered the League Championship under the direction of Ricardo Zamora, renewing the title during the following year.

During the 40s, Vidal, Juncosa, Silva, Campos and Escudero formed a mythical attack quintet, known as the "Silk Front". Marcel Domingo, Ben Barek and Carlsson joined these famous football stars to form a legendary team that marked a glorious era.

Atlético de Madrid vs Tottenham 1963
Under the direction of Helenio Herrera, the “Colchoneros” went on to reap victories and repeated the feat of conquering two consecutive league titles in 1949/1950 and 1950/1951. At the end of the 50s, the lethal tandem formed by the players Collar and Peiró delighted the red & white fans with their magical tricks on the left flank.

After winning the Generalissimo Cup of (current Royal Cup) in the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium against their eternal rival, Real Madrid, Atlético managed to defeat the Fiorentina and raise its first European Winners’ Cup towards heaven in 1962

The New Vicente Calderon Stadium

From 1966 onwards, the Manzanares stadium became the red & white team´s new home and was renamed as the Vicente Calderon Stadium in the 70s. These were very successful years for the club and brought happiness to the Atlético fans who witnessed the celebration of the unforgettable eleven, among them talents such as Eusebio, Irureta, Abelardo, Luis Aragonés, Ufarte and Gárate.

The Austrian coach Merkel, known as "Mr. Whip", the red & white team´s coach during the 1971/72 season, led the team towards victory in a new Generalissimo Cup as well as the Atletico de Madrid´s Seventh League.

The 1985/86 season couldn't have started off better for the “Colchoneros”, who defeated the FC Barcelona in the Super Cup finals and were crowned "Kings of Spain" in front of the Athletic Club de Bilbao.

Following Vicente Calderon´s death in 1987, Jesus Gil y Gil took over the club´s presidency. The desired double (League and Royal Cup in the same campaign) was not achieved until 1996. The Serbian Milinko Pantic will be remembered as the great hero of the K.O. trophy after consolidating victory over the FC Barcelona with a superb header during the game extension.
Caminero, Kiko and Simeone, among other prominent players of that team, defeated Barça and Madrid´s hegemony and placed Atlético on the highest level of the national football scene.

After going through hell during the Second Division in 2000, the Atlético de Madrid, this time under the leadership of Luis Aragonés, resurged from the ashes like Phoenix and returns to the highest levels of Spanish football two years later. Fernando Torres, a young substitute striker, began to emerge. 

Golden Years in Europe

Joy broke out in 2010 among the red & white players and fans after conquering the long-desired UEFA Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup. The goals that made the Atlético´s dream come true of winning one of the great European titles, were scored by the Uruguayan Diandgo Forlán.
Atlético de Madrid Diego Forlán
During that same year, the club´s showcases exhibited a trophy that had never before been exposed: the European Super Cup. A victorious Atlético, chaired by Enrique Cerezo, won its second UEFA European League in 2012. Radamel Falcao, best player of the finals as well as the tournament, scored twice and forever won the hearts of the red & white fans.

The Atlético de Madrid, with its insatiable appetite for titles, successfully defended its European Super Cup with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Chelsea, champion of the Champions League.

During the 2013/14 season, the red & white team won its tenth Royal Cup in an exciting final game against its historical enemy, the Real Madrid of Cristiano Ronaldo, Modric, Benzema, Özil and company. The Brazilians Diego Costa and Miranda, with one goal each, led the Atlético comeback.

A victory or a draw against the FC Barcelona would decide the league, and Atletico de Madrid did not intend to squander the golden opportunity of becoming champion and snatch the trophy from the FC Barcelona. The Tenth League was won by the “Colchoneros”, who had to wait until the finals in order to celebrate victory.

Madrid Derby in the Champions League Final

Atlético de Madrid 2014

Luck was not on the Atleti´s side during the Champions League Final of 2014, who faced the Real Madrid in Lisbon. Despite starting off well with Godín, the whites took the opportunity  and bounced back to win the long-desired tenth "Cup".

The red & whites took revenge in the Vicente Calderon stadium and soundly defeated the ”Merengues” during the return of the Spanish Super Cup. Raul Garcia and Mandzukic were the authors of the victory in a Madrid derby with a European flavor. The Atleti had the chance to enhance its victory, and this time it succeeded: fighting with determination, pride and valor, the atléticos defended their colors until the referee sounded the whistle, announcing the end of the game.


Facts about the Vicente Calderon Stadium

Vicente Calderon Stadium History

By the end of the 50s, the legendary Metropolitan Stadium of Madrid was too small to accommodate the numerous spectators who came to the stadium in order to Atleti´s daily matches. Thus arose the urgent need to build a new one, the Manzanares, the first European national stadium to provide seating for all.
Atlético de Madrid Estadio Vicente Calderón
The club´s President at that time, Vicente Calderon, completed the project planned by his predecessor, Javier Barroso, and inaugurated Manzanares stadium on October 2, 1966. At the time, it was Spain´s biggest stadiums, however, following refurbishment; the number of seats was reduced to the present-day capacity of 54.851 spectators.

During the League Championship´s first match in the Manzanares, the Atlético de Madrid went from a mere draw to a one to one against the Valencia C.F. Luis Aragonés and Paquito sent the ball right into the net and scored for both of their respective teams.

As a token of appreciation for his extraordinary work and management to during his chairmanship of the club, as well as his enthusiasm and commitment, the sports arena of the Atletico Madrid would change its name, in order to render homage to Vicente Calderon. It was agreed that the stadium would feature the name of its President who managed the club during its most glorious period.  

Inauguration of the New "Colchoneros" Stadium 

The official inauguration of the Vicente Calderon Stadium took place on 23 May 1972 with a friendly match between the Spanish and Uruguayan national teams, which ended with a result of 2-0.

There were so many memorable matches and sensational moments experienced by the Atlético Madrid fans in the stands of the Vicente Calderon Stadium that it´s practically impossible to focus a particular one. Players who made the Atlético fans vibrate and suffer in the benches have paraded on the lawn of the red & white fortress. Stars who entered the annals of Spanish football.

Although the Vicente Calderon Stadium was the stage of a long list of historical events, there are dates and facts that are recorded in our minds. How could anyone ever forget that Derby League played in 1976 in which the Atlético defeated the Real Madrid by one to zero under the watchful gaze of the then monarchs of Spain, Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia, as well as his son, Felipe de Borbon.

The “Colchoneros” stadium also became one of the main venues of the World Football Cup staged in Spain in 1982.

The celebration of the club´s 100th. Anniversary in 2003 was another important milestone that was marked by a large crowd carrying a huge red & white flag, world´s largest at that time, from Neptune to the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

The Calderon Stadium was awarded an official nomination on behalf of the UEFA, qualifying it as a "Five Star Stadium" during that same season. It was the first Spanish football stadium to obtain this classification. However, following removal of the elite category, it became a category 4 stadium.

Four years later, the highest governing body of European Football Associations (UEFA) took the decision to punish the Atletico de Madrid with the closure of the Vicente Calderon Stadium for matches, due to the riots that occurred in the bleachers during the group stage of the Champions League. 

A Stadium that Witnessed Great Events

Atlético de Madrid estadio banderas

Additionally to the memory of the Atletico Madrid´s heroic feats, such as the conquest of the Intercontinental Cup of 74 or the historical double of ´96, the Vicente Calderon has been the stage for numerous matches of La Roja and has hosted several finals of the Royal Cup.

Among the current sports venues, the red & white colosseum excels due to its great atmosphere and its legions of dedicated fans. Inside and outside the stadium, the atmosphere on match days is overpowering.

And not all is football, as the Vicente Calderon Stadium has hosted some of the most significant concerts and musical events that have taken place in the city of Madrid: The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, U2 and Coldplay are some of the international stars of music that have shone under the spotlights of this mythical stadium before thousands of spectators.