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Club Atlético de Madrid, S.A.D., commonly known as Atlético Madrid, is a Spanish football club based in Madrid who play in La Liga. Atlético have won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey on nine occasions, including a double in 1996; in Europe, they won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1962, were European Cup runners-up in 1974, won the Intercontinental Cup in 1975, and won the Europa League in 2010, where Los Colchoneros ended their 48-year wait for continental honors, defeating Fulham 2–1 in the final, which was held at the Hamburg Arena in Hamburg.
Los Colchoneros play their home games at the Vicente Calderón, which currently holds up to 54,851 spectators. In 2012, Atletico are due to move to their new home of Estadio La Peineta, which will have a capacity of 73,000.
Atleti's home kit is red and white vertical striped shirts, with blue shorts, accompanied by blue and red socks, this combination has been used since 1911. Nike are the kit manufacturers, the only sponsor is Kyocera.
During their history, the club have been known by a number of nicknames, including Los Colchoneros (The Mattress Makers in English), due to their first team stripes being the same colors as old-fashioned mattresses. During the 1970s, they became known as Los Indios, allegedly due to the club signing several South American players after the restrictions on signing foreign players was lifted. However, there are a number of counter theories which claim they were so named because their stadium is "camped" on the river bank, or because Los Indios were the traditional enemy of Los Blancos (The Whites), which is the nickname of the club's city rivals Real Madrid.
The club was originally founded on 26 April 1903 as Athletic Club de Madrid by three Basque students living in Madrid. These founders saw the new club as a youth branch of their childhood team, Athletic Bilbao. In 1904, they were joined by dissident members of Real Madrid. They began playing in blue and white, similarly to Athletic Bilbao, but by 1911, Athletic were playing in their current colours of red and white stripes. Many believe the change was influenced because red and white striped tops were the cheapest stripes to make, because the same combination was used to make bed mattresses, and the unused cloth was easily converted into football shirts. This discovery of a cheaper option probably persuaded them to change and influenced the Madrid club being come to known as Los Colchoneros nickname. Other more plausible account of the reason to change colours is that both Athletic Bilbao and Athletic Madrid used to buy Blackburn Rovers blue and white kits in England. Once in 1911, Juanito Elorduy, former player and member of the board of Athletic Madrid, went to England to buy kits for both teams. He did not find Blackburn Rovers kits and bought Southampton red and white ones instead. Athletic Bilbao adopted the full Southampton kit with the red and white striped shirt and black shorts [this is incorrect, Southampton played in blue shorts until 1950.]. Whereas, Athletic Madrid adopted the red and white shirt but kept Blackburn Rovers blue shorts, leading to them also being known as Los Rojiblancos.
Atletico's first ground, the Ronda de Vallecas, was situated in the eponymous working class area on the south side of the city. In 1919, the Compañía Urbanizadora Metropolitana—the company that ran the underground communication system in Madrid—acquired some land, near the Ciudad Universitaria. And in 1921, Athletic Madrid became independent of parent-club Athletic Bilbao. As part of that project the company built a sports stadium, named Estadio Metropolitano de Madrid and Athletic had a new a 35,800 seat home. The Metropolitano was used until 1966, when they moved to the new Estadio Vicente Calderón. After the move, the Metropolitano was demolished and was replaced with university buildings.
During the 1920s, Athletic won the Campeonato del Centro three times and they were Copa del Rey runners-up in 1921, ironically this final saw them face parent club Athletic Bilbao, and 1926. Based on this record, they were invited to join the Primera División of the inaugural La Liga in 1928. During their debut La Liga season, the club were managed by Fred Pentland, but after two seasons in the Primera División they were relegated to Segunda División. They briefly returned to La Liga in 1934. But were relegated again in 1936, after Josep Samitier took over in mid-season from Pentland. Fortunately for Los Colchoneros the Spanish Civil War gave the club a reprieve, because Real Oviedo was unable to play due to the destruction of their stadium during the bombings. Thus both La Liga and Athletic's relegation were postponed, the latter by winning a playoff against CA Osasuna, champion of the Segunda División tournament.
By 1939, when La Liga had resumed, Athletic had merged with Aviación Nacional of Zaragoza to become Athletic Aviación de Madrid. Aviación Nacional had been founded in 1939 by members of the Spanish Air Force. They had been promised a place in the Primera División for the 1939–40 season, only to be denied by the RFEF. As a compromise this club merged with Athletic, whose squad had lost eight players in the Spanish Civil War. The team were awarded a place in the 1939–40 La Liga campaign only as a replacement for Real Oviedo. With the legendary Ricardo Zamora as manager, the club subsequently won their first La Liga title that season and then retained the title in 1941. The most influential and charismatic player of these years was the captain German Gomez, who was signed from Racing Santander in 1939. He played eight consecutive seasons for 'the rojiblancos', until the 1947–48 campaign. From his centre-midfield position he formed a legendary midfield alongside Machín and Ramón Gabilondo. In 1941, a decree issued by Franco banned teams from using foreign names and the club became Atlético Aviacion de Madrid. In 1947, the club decided to drop the military association from its name and settled on its current name of Club Atlético de Madrid. The same year saw Atlético beat Real Madrid 5–0 at the Metropolitano; their biggest win over their cross-town rivals to date.
Under Helenio Herrera and with the help of Larbi Benbarek, Atlético won La Liga again in 1950 and 1951. With the departure of Herrera in 1953, the club began to slip behind Real Madrid and Barcelona and for the remainder of the 1950s they were left to battle it out with Athletic Bilbao for the title of third team in Spain.
However during the 1960s and 1970s, Atlético Madrid seriously challenged Barcelona for the position of second team. The 1957–58 season saw Fernando Daucik take charge of Atlético and he led them to second place in La Liga. This resulted in Atlético qualifying for the 1958–59 season of the European Cup since the winners, Real Madrid, were the reigning European champions. Inspired by Brazilian centre-forward Vavá and Enrique Collar, Atlético reached the semi-finals after beating Drumcondra, CSKA Sofia and Schalke. In the semi-finals, they met Real Madrid. Real won the first leg 2–1 at the Bernabéu while Atlético won 1–0 at the Metropolitano. The tie went to a replay and Real won 2–1 in Zaragoza.
Atlético, however, gained their revenge when, led by former Real coach José Villalonga, they defeated Real in two successive Copa del Rey finals in 1960 and 1961. In 1962 they won the European Cup Winners Cup beating Fiorentina 3–0 after a replay. The following year the club reached the 1963 final, but was thrashed by English side Tottenham Hotspur 5–1.Enrique Collar, who continued to be an influential player during this era, was now joined by the likes of midfielder Miguel Jones and midfield playmaker Adelardo.
Unfortunately for Atlético fans, their best years coincided with dominant Real Madrid teams. Between 1961 and 1980, Real Madrid dominated La Liga with the club winning the competition 14 times. During this era only Atlético offered Real any serious challenge, winning La Liga titles in 1966, 1970, 1973 and 1977. They were also runners-up in 1961, 1963 and 1965. The club had further success winning the Copa del Rey on three occasions in 1965, 1972 and 1976. In 1965, when they finished as La Liga runners-up to Real after an intense battle for the title, Atlético became the first team to beat Real at the Bernabéu in eight years.
Significant players from this era included the now veteran Adelardo and regular goalscorers Luis Aragonés, Javier Irureta and José Eulogio Gárate. The latter won the Pichichi three times in 1969, 1970 and 1971. In the 1970s Atlético also recruited several Argentine employees, signing Rubén Ayala, Panadero Díaz and Ramón "Cacho" Heredia as well as coach Juan Carlos Lorenzo. Lorenzo believed in discipline, caution and disrupting the opponents’ game. Although controversial, his methods proved successful and after winning La Liga in 1973, the club reached the European Cup final in 1974. On the way to the final Atlético knocked out Galatasaray, Dinamo Bucureşti, Red Star Belgrade and Celtic. In the away leg of the semi-final against Celtic, Atlético had Ayala, Díaz, and substitute Quique all sent off during a hard fought encounter in what was reported as one of the worst cases of cynical fouling the tournament has seen. Because of this cynicism they managed a 0–0 draw, which was followed by a 2–0 victory in the return leg with goals from Gárate and Adelardo. However the final at the Heysel Stadium proved to be a heart-breaker for Atlético. Against a Bayern Munich team that included Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeneß, and Gerd Müller, Atlético played above themselves. Despite missing Ayala, Díaz, and Quique through suspension, they went ahead in extra-time with only seven minutes left. Aragonés scored with a superb, curling free-kick that looked like the winner. However in the last minute of the game Bayern defender Georg Schwarzenbeck equalized with a stunning 25 yarder that left the Atlético goalkeeper Miguel Reina motionless. In a replay, back in the Heysel, two days later Bayern won convincingly 4–0, with two goals each from Hoeneß and Müller.
Shortly after the defeat in the European Cup, Atlético appointed their veteran player Luis Aragonés as coach. Aragonés subsequently served as coach on four separate occasions, from 1974 to 1980, from 1982 to 1987 once again 1991 till 1993 and finally from 2002 to 2003. His first success came quickly as Bayern Munich had refused to participate because of fixture congestion in the Intercontinental Cup and as runners-up, Atlético were invited instead. Their opponents were Independiente of Argentina and, after losing the away leg 1–0, they won the return leg 2–0 with goals from Javier Irureta and Rubén Ayala. Aragonés subsequently led the club to further successes in the Copa del Rey in 1976 and La Liga in 1977.
During his second spell in charge, Aragonés led the club to a runners-up finish in La Liga and a winner's medal in the Copa del Rey, both in 1985. He received considerable help from Hugo Sánchez who scored 19 league goals and won the Pichichi. Sánchez also scored twice in the cup final as Atlético beat Athletic Bilbao 2–1. However Sánchez only remained at the club for one season before he move across the city to Real Madrid. Despite the loss of Sánchez, Aragonés went on to lead the club to success in the Supercopa de España in 1985 and then guided them to the European Cup Winners Cup final in 1986. However Atlético lost their third successive European final, this time 3–0 to Dynamo Kyiv.
In 1987, controversial politician and businessman Jesús Gil became club president.
Atlético had not won La Liga for ten years and were desperate for league success. Right away, Gil spent heavily, bringing in a number of expensive signings, most notably Portuguese winger Paulo Futre, fresh from winning the European Cup with FC Porto. However, all the spending only brought in two consecutive Copa del Rey trophies in 1991 and 1992 as the league title proved elusive. The closest Atlético came to La Liga trophy was the 1990–91 season when they finished runners-up by 10 points to Johan Cruyff's FC Barcelona. In the process, Gil developed a ruthless reputation due to the manner in which he ran the club. In pursuit of league success, he hired and fired a number of head coaches, including César Luis Menotti, Ron Atkinson, Javier Clemente, Tomislav Ivić, Francisco Maturana, Alfio Basile as well as club legend Luis Aragonés. Gil also closed down Atlético's youth academy in 1992, a move that would prove significant due to 15-year-old academy member Raúl who as a result went across town to achieve worldwide fame at rivals Real Madrid.
In the 1994–95 league campaign, the club barely avoided relegation with a draw on the last matchday of the season. The narrow escape prompted yet another head coaching change along with a wholesale squad clearance during the summer 1995 transfer window that saw many players being shown the door. Somewhat unexpectedly, in the following 1995–96 season, newly arrived head coach Radomir Antić, with a squad including holdovers Toni, Roberto Solozábal, Delfí Geli, Juan Vizcaíno, José Luis Caminero, Diego Simeone, and Kiko, as well as new acquisitions Milinko Pantić, Luboslav Penev, Santi Denia, and José Francisco Molina finally delivered the much sought after league title as Atlético won the La Liga/Copa del Rey double.
The next season 1996–97 saw the club take part in the Champions League for the first time. With expectations and ambitions raised, most notable summer transfer singings were striker Juan Esnaider from Real Madrid and Radek Bejbl who was coming off a great showing at Euro 1996. However, playing on two fronts Atletico fell out of the league title contention early while in the Champions League they got eliminated by Ajax in a hard-fought quarterfinal tie that went into extra time. For the 1997–98 season, the heavy spending continued with top signings of Christian Vieri and Juninho arriving in the summer of 1997. However, all the success produced little change in the overall Gil strategy, and although Antić survived three consecutive seasons in charge he was replaced during summer 1998 by Arrigo Sacchi, who himself only remained in the managerial hot seat for less than 6 months. Antić then returned briefly in early 1999 only to be replaced by Claudio Ranieri at the end of the season. The 1999–00 season proved disastrous for Atlético. In December 1999, Gil and his board got suspended pending investigation into the misuse of club funds and government-appointed administrator José Manuel Rubí began running Atlético's day to day operations. With the removal of club president Jesús Gil and his board, the club floundered and the players put in disastrous performances. Ranieri handed in his resignation with the club in 17th spot out of 20 and heading towards relegation. The return of Antić for the third coaching stint failed to prevent the inevitable. Despite reaching the Copa del Rey final, Atlético were relegated.
Atlético spent two seasons in the Segunda División, narrowly missing out on promotion in 2001 before winning the Segunda División championship in 2002. It was again Luis Aragonés, in his last spell as a manager of Atlético, who brought Atlético to the Primera Division. He also coached the team during the next season, being the one who gave Fernando Torres the opportunity to make his debut in La Liga, at the Camp Nou against F.C. Barcelona in 2–2 draw.
In 2006 Fernando Torres, one of the biggest talents in recent Spanish football history, was joined by Portuguese internationals Costinha and Maniche and also by Argentine striker Sergio Agüero.
Torres shocked the club in June 2007, when he stated his desire to play for Liverpool. He left Atlético and joined the English giant on 4 July 2007 for £26.5 million, £20 million of which was in cash, with the rest consisting of the rights to Luis García. Around this same time, Atlético also made a splash by signing Uruguay international and former European Golden Boot/Pichichi winner Diego Forlán for roughly €21 million from Villarreal CF. Several weeks later, the club gave up Bulgarian star Martin Petrov to Manchester City for €7 million, but got a replacement shortly after: Portuguese star Simão, signed from Benfica for roughly €20 million. On 29 July, it was announced that Atlético had signed winger José Antonio Reyes for €12 million.
In July 2007, the Atlético board reached an agreement with the city of Madrid to sell the land where their stadium is and move the club to the Olympic Stadium, owned by the city. Atlético will be allowed to play in Vicente Calderón stadium until 2010. The new stadium will be owned by the club in 2016, as the city is applying to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
The 2007–08 season proved to be the most successful season for the club in the past decade. The team reached the round of 32 in the UEFA Cup, where they were defeated by Bolton Wanderers. They also reached the Quarter-final round of the Copa del Rey, where they were beaten by eventual champions Valencia CF. More significantly, the team finished the La Liga season in 4th place, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. Sergio Agüero, Diego Forlán, Simão, Maxi Rodríguez and goalkeeper Leo Franco returned Atlético to top European football for the first time since the 1996–97 season, when Atlético lost in the quarter-final round to Dutch giants AFC Ajax.
The 2008–09 season had proven to be another great stride forward in the resurrection of Club Atlético de Madrid's reputation as a force to be reckoned with in both domestic and European Football, with participation continuing in the UEFA Champions League. However, performances in La Liga were not as successful as the club would have liked. This forced the club to make some new signings, adding French goalkeeper Grégory Coupet, Dutch central defender John Heitinga, Czech central defender Tomáš Ujfaluši, Brazilian central midfielder Paulo Assunção, Argentine Midfielder Ever Banega, on loan from Valencia C.F., and French forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle to the lineup. Joining Portuguese central midfielder Maniche, who continued his loan-spell.
On 3 February 2009, Javier Aguirre was dismissed from his post as manager after a terrible start to 2009, going without a win in 6 games. He later claimed this was simply not the case, and that he had been released by mutual termination rather than sacked. There was a public outrage after his dismissal, many believing he was not the cause of Atlético's problems, specifically player Diego Forlán. He backed his former manager and said that "Dismissing Javier was the easy way out, but he was not the cause of our problems. The players are to blame because we have not been playing well and we have been committing a lot of errors." This led to the appointment of Abel Resino as Atlético's new manager.
Atlético's success continued in the latter half of the season when they placed 4th once again in the league table, securing a position in the playoff round of the UEFA Champions League. Striker Diego Forlán was crowned with the Pichichi Trophy and also won the European Golden Shoe, for scoring 32 goals for Atlético that season. Atlético saw this domestic success as an opportunity to reinforce their squad for the upcoming Champions League season. They departed company with veteran goalkeeper Leo Franco and brought in David de Gea from the youth ranks and signed promising youngster Sergio Asenjo, from Real Valladolid. Atlético also purchased Real Betis defender and Spanish international Juanito on a free transfer. Despite pressure from big clubs to purchase their star players of Agüero and Forlán, Atlético remained committed to keeping their strong attacking base in the hopes for a successful new season.
However, the 2009–10 Atlético season began poorly with many defeats and goals conceded. On 21 October, Atletico were hammered 4–0 by the English giants Chelsea in the Champions League group stage. This defeat led to Atletico's management announcement that manager Abel Resino had to leave. After failing to sign Danish former footballer, Michael Laudrup, Atletico Madrid made it official that the new manager for the rest of the season was Quique Sánchez Flores.
With the arrival of Quique Sánchez Flores as coach, Atlético saw a huge change of fortunes. Though they continued to lag somewhat in La Liga during the 2009–10 season, finishing 9th. Atlético finished third in the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League group stage entering the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League round of 32. On 12 May 2010, Atlético won the 2009-10 UEFA Europa League, beating English teams Liverpool in the semi-finals and eventually Fulham in the final held in HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg.Diego Forlán scored twice, the second being an extra-time winner (116 min.), as Atlético Madrid claimed a 2–1 win.
It was the first time since the 1961–62 European Cup Winners' Cup that Atlético had claimed a European title. They also reached the Copa del Rey final on 19 May 2010, where they faced Sevilla and had a good chance at achieving their first double (doblete) since 1996, when they won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey. But Atlético fell short, losing 2–0 to Sevilla at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. By winning the Europa League, they qualified for the 2010 UEFA Super Cup against Internazionale winner of the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League, which was played in Monaco on 27 August 2010. Atlético won 2–0 with goals from José Antonio Reyes and Sergio Agüero, being Atlético's first such title, because in 1962 when Atlético won the European Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA had not yet established the UEFA Super Cup (Atlético would have eventually faced Benfica, winner of the 1961–62 European Cup).
Atlético had a comparatively disapponting 2010-11 season, finishing only 7th in the League and being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey and the Group Stage of the Europa League. This ultimately led to the departure of manager Quique Sánchez Flores before the conclusion of the season, who was replaced with ex-Sevilla FC manager Gregorio Manzano, who secured the final Europa League place for Atlético.
El Derbi Madrileño
Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid are clubs with contrasting identities and very different fates. Historically, Real Madrid have long been seen as the establishment club. On the other side, the Rojiblancos o were always characterized by a sentimiento de rebeldía, a sense of rebellion. Although, during the early Francisco Franco years it was Atlético that was the preferred team of the regime. They were associated with the military airforce, until the regime's preferences moved towards Real Madrid in the 1950s.
Certainly, the dictatorial state sought to make political capital out of Real Madrid's European Cup trophies at a time when Spain was internationally isolated – "Real Madrid are the best embassy we ever had," said one minister. Such perceptions have had an important impact on the city's footballing identities, tapping into the collective consciousness. In this vein, Atlético fans were probably the originators, and are the most frequent singers, of the song "Hala Madrid, hala Madrid, el equipo del gobierno, la verguenza del país", "Go Madrid, go Madrid, the government's team, the country's shame."
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Adelardo holds the club's official appearance record, wearing the Madrid shirt in 511 matches from 1959 to 1976. Luis Aragonés, club legend as both player and coach, holds the record for most goals scored with 172. While Adrián Escudero has the record for most goals in La Liga with 150. Antonio López is the club's current record appearance holder, with 286.
The following managers won at least one trophy when in charge of Atlético Madrid:
30. Paulo Futre
The club play their home games at the 54,851 seat Vicente Calderón Stadium in southern Madrid. Before this the club played originally at the Ronda de Vallecas until 1923. After the completion of the Estadio Metropolitano de Madrid in 1923, the club moved there until the Vicente Calderón was finished in 1966.
The club plan to move in 2012 to the renovated Estadio La Peineta, which will be expanded from a 20,000 seat capacity to 73,000 after it was used for Madrid's failed bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The Vicente Calderón will be demolished, and replaced by a waterfront park at the banks of the Manzanares River in Madrid. The club's training ground is the Ciudad Deportiva de Majadahonda, 20 km west of Madrid. The facility maintains grass and artificial patches as well as a gym. Both the senior and youth squads train here.
Atlético also runs a sports academy at the Ciudad Deportiva del Nuevo Cerro del Espino in Majadahonda.
Atlético began playing in blue and white, similar to Athletic Bilbao, but soon changed to their traditional red and white stripes by 1911. Many believe the change was influenced because red and white striped tops were the cheapest stripes to make, because the same combination was used to make bed mattresses, and the unused cloth was easily converted into football shirts. The kit has been made by Nike for the past nine years, as the company wants to provide competition against Real Madrid, who have a deal with Adidas. The current shirt sponsor is Kia Motors, while the AXN cable channel, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has a minor sponsorship on the back of the shorts and Kyocera has a sponsor's logo on the back of the shirt, Finnish gambling monopoly PAF has a sponsorship on the clubs shorts. Previously, the club was sponsored by Columbia Pictures, who would change the shirt sponsor's logo, and occasionally the shirt itself, as they did with the away shirt when Spider-Man 2 was in cinemas. Because shirts would have to be introduced and removed from shops at a very fast pace to keep up with film releases, Nike decided to not include a sponsor's logo on replica shirts made from 2002 to 2005.