Atlético Madrid is a Spanish professional soccer team that plays in La Liga. Their home ground, the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, has a capacity of 68,457 seats.

The Madrid based club was founded in 1903. They rank third in Spain in terms of the most La Liga titles. Atlético Madrid has a beautiful trophy cabinet comprising 10 La Liga titles, 10 Copa del Rey, 3 UEFA Europa Leauge Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, and 1 Intercontinental Cup. Besides, they have won many other domestic and European trophies.

Atlético Madrid has a beautiful story that is worth sharing. Without wasting any further time, let us have a look at how the Spanish side got formed.

Full NameAtlético Madrid
FoundedApril 26, 1903
StadiumWanda Metropolitano
OwnerAtlético HoldCo (65,98%)

Idan Ofer (33%)
ManagerDiego Simeone
LeagueLa Liga

Formation Of Atlético Madrid

Atlético Madrid came into existence on April 26, 1903, thanks to three students from Madrid. They were initially known as Athletic Club Sucursal de Madrid.

The club first played in blue and white, as Athletic Bilbao did in the early 1900s. They eventually changed to the famous vertical red and white stripes shirt in 1911. It is understood that the accessibility of the materials made it a first choice. Ticking for mattresses were made using the same material. The remains were then used to produce the shirts, which came at a relatively reasonable price. It contributed to the name Los Colchoneros being associated with the club.

A different statement says that Athletic Bilbao and Athletic Madrid purchased jerseys from Blackburn Rovers, a soccer team based in England. The color of the kit was blue and white. After failing to secure more kits during the 1909 campaign, they eventually opted for Southampton’s Red and White jersey, another team from England. Athletic Madrid kept the blue shorts which they still wear, along with the red and white shirt.

The 1911 Copa del Rey final won by Athletic Bilbao included several players from Athletic Madrid.

Different Soccer Stadiums

Atlético Madrid earlier played their home games at the Ronda de Vallecas. Later in 1921, they moved to their new ground thanks to a piece of land obtained by the Compañía Urbanizadora Metropolitana. The newly built Estadio Metropolitano de Madrid could accommodate up to 35,800 fans. They played for nearly 45 years at the stadium.

In 1966, Atlético Madrid moved to the Estadio Vicente Calderón (originally known as Estadio Manzanares). The Ronda de Vallecas was crushed with the space used for the construction of Universities.

Invitation To Join La Primera División

Following the excellent performance of Atlético Madrid in previous competitions, they were presented with the opportunity to join the Primera División.

The newly formed league started in 1929 which consisted of a total of 10 Spanish clubs. FC Barcelona finished the season in the first place. Managed by Frederick Pentland, Atlético Madrid, on the other hand, secured a 6th place finish. They played their home matches at the Estadio Metropolitano de Madrid.

Cosme Vázquez finished the season as the second-best striker with 15 goals. Luis Marín scored 12 goals for his club, ending the campaign as the third-best goal scorer.

Relegation To Segunda División

During their second season in the Primera División, Atlético Madrid could not espace relegation. They finished the campaign in the last place, securing only 12 points from a possible 36 points.

In 1934, the Madrid club obtained promotion to La Liga. However, their stay in top-flight soccer was very brief as they got relegated just two years later. The Spanish Civil War, which lasted for nearly three years, impacted soccer in Spain.

Soccer After The Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, and La Liga resumed. Athletic and  Aviación Nacional of Zaragoza decided to form a new club by merging. Athletic Aviación de Madrid was formed.

Athletic who lost eight players during the Civil War entered the 1939-40 La Liga campaign as Athletic Aviación.

First La Liga Title

During their first season, Athletic Aviación won their first-ever La Liga title. They finished top of the league with 29 points. Sevilla secured a second-place finish, with 28 points.

Athletic Aviación won a second consecutive La Liga title the following season. They finished first with 33 points scoring a whopping 70 goals from 22 games. Club striker, Prudencio Sánchez Fernández (Pruden), ended the season as the top scorer, scoring 33 goals.

In 1947, the Madrid club eventually endorsed the name Club Atlético de Madrid. The Los Colchoneros defeated their city rivals Real Madrid by 5-0 the same year. It remains their biggest win over their rivals to date.

The Rise Of Atlético Madrid

Under the management of Helenio Herrera, Atlético Madrid secured two additional league titles in 1950 and 1951. Two years later, Herrera left the club, and they could not deliver at the same level.

As the years went by, La Liga was dominated mainly by rivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The Los Colchoneros were able to take revenge on Real by defeating them in two consecutive Copa del Rey finals.

The first final took place in 1960 at the Santiago Bernabéu. Atlético Madrid won the final by defeating Real Madrid by 3-1. One year later, both sides met again at the same stage of the competition. Atlético players produced a superb display to retain the Copa del Rey trophy. They won the match by 3-2.

Between 1960 and 1980, the Los Colchoneros won the La Liga title on four occasions. They came in 1966, 1970, 1973, and 1977. Atlético also finished as runners-up in La Liga a few times.

Atlético Madrid Are European Cup Winners’ Cup Champions

Atlético Madrid qualified for the 1961-62 European Cup Winners’ Cup by overcoming Motor Jena on an aggregate score of 5-0 over two legs. In the finals, the Los Colchoneros were opposed against Fiorentina.

The two-legged finals took place on May 10 and September 5, respectively. In the first leg, the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The fixture happened at Hampden Park, Glasgow.

The second leg was played in Germany at Neckarstadion, Stuttgart. Atlético Madrid dominated the fixture from start to finish, with the match ending in a 3-0 win for the Spanish side. They lifted their first-ever European Cup Winners’ Cup that season.

First European Cup Final

Guided by their coach, Juan Carlos Lorenzo, Atlético qualified for their first European Cup final in 1974. They overcame Celtic in the semi-final on an aggregate score of 2-0.

On May 15, 1974, Atlético faced German side Bayer Munich in the European Cup final. The match took place at Heysel Stadium, Brussels. The game advanced to extra time after it ended 0-0 in regular time. Atlético took the lead with 6 minutes left for the match to end. The goal came from Luis Aragonés. In the final minute of the game, Bayern Munich equalised. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Two days later, both sides met again at the same venue. Bayern eventually won the replay by 4-0.

Return Of Luis Aragonés

The year 1978 saw the end of the glory years, and Atlético quickly became a shell of their former selves. Poor form and internal division saw Atletico go without a trophy for some seven years. The club employed nine managers in those seven seasons.

It was not until legend Aragonés returned in 1982 that silverware returned to the Vicente Calderón – although it took Aragonés three years to turn things around.

Atlético won the Copa Del Rey for the sixth time in 1985, and in the 1988-89 season, Brazilian striker Baltazar scored an incredible 42 goals. In fact, in his 77 games for Atlético Madrid, Baltazar scored 53 times, averaging over a goal every two games.

The Jesús Gil Years

Spanish businessman and Mayor of Marbella Jesús Gil took over as President at Atlético Madrid upon the untimely death of Vicente Calderón in 1987. Although initially seeming promising given the vast amounts of money that Gil spent in the transfer market, his reign as President of Atlético quickly began to replicate his politics – abrasive, controversial and, arguably, not very good.

Atlético Madrid had six different managers in 1988, naturally upsetting playing staff and fans alike. Despite an initial promise that things were settling down in the early nineties –successive Copa Del Rey wins in 1990-91 and 1991-92 were backed by second and third place finishes – things weren’t straightforward at all under Gil.

He closed Atlético’s youth academy in 1992 and ran the club into financial difficulty due to his extravagant spending in the transfer market. Atlético then finished in lowly 12th and 14th, avoiding relegation by a point in the latter, before Gil hired Radomir Antic in 1995.

Antic brought the La Liga title back to Atlético in a stunning season, qualifying for their first-ever UEFA Champions League in the process. However, as per most things in Jesús Gil’s reign, the success was short-lived. Atlético finished 5th and 7th in the following seasons, and Antic departed in 1998. Things then descended into absolute chaos, with five different managers leading the club in 1999 – Antic himself returned briefly between March and June of that year.

Relegation And Revival

Atlético got relegated to the Segunda División for only the second time in their history in July of 2000. The same year, Gil was removed as President and, in 2002, was banned from holding public office for 28 years.

Los dos años en el infierno’ (two years in hell) was how Atlético’s fans referred to their two seasons in the second tier of Spanish soccer. The club was promoted back to La Liga in 2002 with the help of fellow striker Fernando Torres and, for the fourth and final time as manager, Luis Aragonés.

Following their promotion, Atlético stagnated in the mid-table. Still, upon Torres’s move to Liverpool in 2007, Atlético bolstered their squad with Diego Forlán and José Antonio Reyes and qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 1996.

Two fourth-place finishes put Atlético back in the European picture, but their league finishes again fluctuated until the appointment of the charismatic Diego Simeone in 2011.

The Legendary Atlético Madrid Coach, Diego Simeone

Diego Simeone was appointed as Atlético Madrid manager on December 23, 2011. During his first season as the club coach, Simeone guided the Madrid club into the Europa League final. The Los Colchoneros faced Athletic Bilbao in an all Spanish final.

The final took place at the Arena Națională in Bucharest on May 9, 2012. Atlético lifted their second UEFA Cup after defeating Bilbao by 3-0. Radamel Falcao scored a brace while Diego Ribas scored the third goal. Diego Simeone men went on to beat Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup the same year. The match ended in a 4-1 victory for the Madrid club.

One year later, Atlético were drawn against rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final. Over 85,000 soccer fans attended the event, which took place at the Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the score for Real Madrid in the 14th minute, and Diego Costa equalised at the 35th minute. The score remained at 1-1 after regular time. In the extra time, João Miranda scored the match-winning goal for Atlético. It was Simeone third trophy in less than three years since his appointment.

Atlético Madrid Are Champions Of Spain

The 2013-14 La Liga campaign is one full of memories for the Los Colchoneros. Guided by their mastermind, Diego Simeone, Atlético produced one of the best soccer game in the country.

With the likes of Diego Costa, Koke, Diego Godín, Thibaut Courtois, David Villa, and Filipe Luis at his disposal, Simeone conquered the heart of soccer fans across Spain and around the world. The Spanish side finished the season as Champions with 90 points from 38 games. Barcelona and Real Madrid finished second and third respectively with 87 points.

Diego Costa finished the season as the third-best goal scorer with 27 goals. Only Lionel Messi (28 goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo (31 goals) scored more goals than him.

Diego Simeone won La Liga Coach of the Year award. Besides, the gaffer guided Atlético to a 10th La Liga title. As the years went by, Simeone guided Atlético to a second Supercopa de España trophy in 2014. 

Two Champions League Finals In Two Years

Diego Simeone guided Atlético to two Champions League finals in 2014 and 2016, respectively. On both occasions, they faced rival Real Madrid.

In the first final, Atlético were leading by 1-0 thanks to a Diego Godín goal. With seconds left for the match to end, Sergio Ramos equalised for Real Madrid. Real Madrid scored another three goals in the extra time to win the final by 4-1.

In the second final in 2016, the match ended at 1-1 after extra time. The Los Colchoneros eventually lost on penalties by 5-3.

The Wanda Metropolitano

Atlético Madrid moved to the Wanda Metropolitano on September 17, 2017. They previously played at the Vicente Calderón Stadium for over 51 years.

Their new stadium has a capacity of 68,456 seats, making them the third-largest stadium in Spain. Atlético Madrid played their inaugural match against Málaga CF. The host won the fixture by 1-0, thanks to a goal from Antoine Griezmann.

More European Glory For Atlético Madrid

The 2017-18 Europa League campaign was a successful one for Atlético Madrid. They managed to qualify for the finals by overcoming Arsenal.

In the final, they faced French side Marseille. The fixture took place on May 16, 2018, at Parc Olympique Lyonnais. The Los Colchoneros enjoyed a comfortable final by winning the match by 3-0. Antoine Griezmann scored a brace, and Gabi added a third goal for the Spanish side. Diego Simeone men lifted their third UEFA Europa League trophy that season.

In the UEFA Super Cup, Atlético Madrid faced UEFA Champions League Winners, Real Madrid. Atlético took revenge on their rivals by defeating them by 4-2 after extra time. The Los Colchoneros claimed their third Super Cup trophy in 10 years.

The Future Of Atlético Madrid

Atlético Madrid currently sits top of the 2020-21 La Liga campaign at the time of writing. With only four games left for the season to end, they have a 2 point advantage over Real Madrid and Barcelona.

With Luis Suárez leading the Los Colchoneros attack, the players would look to add the 11th title to their trophy cabinet. The future of Atlético looks bright under the management of Diego Simeone.


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