Atletico Madrid. Club Atletico de Madrid - Information about the Atletico, one of the most emblematic teams in the Spanish soccer league.
- Founded by fans of the Athletic Club de Bilbao soccer team. This is where their name and team colors come from.
- The only professional soccer team to win the Intercontinental Cup without having been a league champion in Europe or America.
- Their fans are the most enthusiastic and loyal of all the Spanish soccer teams. You will always find a larged contingent of fans following them across the country no matter where or in what category they are playing in.
- Before every game at their home field, the Vicente Calderon, a bunch of roses are placed in one of the corners of the field in memory of Milinko Pantic, who was key to their winning both the League and King's Cup in 1997.
- With Diego "El Cholo" Simeone (who also was on the same team with Pantic) as head coach, Atletico has become a competitive team again, living up to their past and demonstrating a counter attacking style that has historically characterized this team.
The Club Atletico de Madrid
Controversial and inconsistent, Atletico de Madrid doesn't leave anyone indifferent. Seemingly a team always living on the edge and having to reinvent itself year after year, when Atletico suffers, so do their loyal fans known also as los colchoneros (a Colchón is mattress in Spanish). They are known affectionately by this name since their vertically striped red and white soccer jerseys reminded people of the fabric that was used in the making of mattresses en the 1920s and 30s. This nickname follows these fans wherever they go and is even used fondly by even their bitterest rivals, Real Madrid.
Founded in 1903 as Athletic de Madrid by transplanted Basque residents in Madrid, the team began playing in the working-class Vallecas neighborhood until 1923. It was this year that the team began playing in their own stadium, the historic Metropolitano. It is interesting to note that both teams began by playing in Blue and white colors but in1910 both Spanish teams changed their colors to red and white out of a feeling of camaraderie with the English team Southampton F.C.
In 1939, as a result of the economic crisis caused by the Spanish Civil War, the team fused with another Madrid team the Aviación Nacional. This merger resulted in the team being called Atlético Aviación and it is under this name that the team would win their first two league championships in 1940 and 1941. Atlético would keep this name for the next 6 years until they changed to their current name Club Atlético de Madrid.
From 1940 to the 1960s the team was slowly making a name for itself in Europe by winning in Spain and finally earning its first international trophy, the Cup Winners' Cup in 1962. Talented and colorful players like Luis Aragonés, Joaquín Peiró and Eulogio Gárate created an Atleti team that could take on Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona as well as become one of the leading teams in Europe. In 1974, Atlético reached the final of the European Cup Championship playing against legendary German team Bayern Munich. At the time Bayern was reigning German league champion and with team members that played on the German national teams of 70s. In this European final, the Germans tied the game 1-1 in the final minute of extra time. Since both teams scored in extra time another game would need to be played to determine a winner. The following game, which was played only two days later following the demands of the German team, was won by Bayern 4-0 but was not free of controversy due to the advantage Bayern had since they were a team with greater physical resistance.
A curious anecdote to come from this season would be Atlético winning the Intercontinental Cup by defeating the Argentine team Independiente de Avellaneda. This championship is normally reserved for the champions of their respective continent and in this case Atlético was defeated by Bayern Munich. But since Bayern refused to participate in this competition Atlético participated as the alternate team. By winning this cup Atlético became the only team to ever win an international club cup without having been a continental champion.
From the 80's to start of the 21st century, the curse of "el pupas" (the sympathetic expression used by the press and fans to describe the bad luck and bad decisions that have plagued the team through the years) accented their inconsistency during the era of owner Jesus Gil. This corrupt and colorful politician imposed his peculiar personality and idiosyncrasies on the team. This manifested itself in the way the team went from winning the League and king's Cup down to the second division due to the intervention of the Spanish justice system. This intervention was the result of the club's legal problems and the questionable activities of the team's then owner.
True to form, Atlético has always found a way to reinvent itself and in the Vicente Calderón, the stadium named after the famed club President from the 1970s, has come back to life thanks to the teams winning ways. Each year the team has lost their most important playerslike Fernando El Niño Torres, Kun Agüero, Diego Forlán or Diego Costa to wealthier teams. But what they have lost in talent they make up for in competitive spirit. In fact, in the last few years this team has collected two UEFA Cups, one King's Cup and one La Liga league championship.
With Cholo Simeone leading the team, Atlético de Madrid has grown competitively and won back their fighting spirit as their signature counter-attack. In addition to the soccer team, Atlético de Madrid also includes an elite women's soccer team as well as a rugby team that was started last year. Atlético has also sponsored or sponsors a track and field team, basketball and handball teams with the handball team being especially prolific.
Without a doubt, Atlético de Madrid is a very important member of the Spanish soccer league. Not only do they have the best and most dedicated fans in Spanish soccer, Atlético de Madrid celebrates together with their fans football the way it was meant to be—a party where all are invited and passions are stirred.