Manager – Diego Simeone
Captain – Gabriel Fernández Arenas (Gabi)
Ground – Vicente Calderon Stadium
Nickname – El Atleti/Los Rojiblancos
Rivals – Real Madrid (El Derbi madrileno)
Founded in the year 1903, Club Atletico de Madrid or simply known as Atletico Madrid is one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football history. Atleti have have spend a total of 77 seasons in the La Liga with a few brief stints in the Segunda division.
Though Atleti have spend some time outside of the La Liga they are the third most successful club in Spanish football with 10 La Liga and Copa de Rey titles each. Atleti have also tasted reasonable success in European competitions with 2 Europa league titles and a couple of Champions League final appearances most recently in 2013/14.
Atletico Madrid play their home games at the Vicente Calderon Stadium and has been their home since 1966. The ground holds a capacity of around 55,000 and is a UEFA Category 4 Stadium. The 2015/16 season will be Atleti’s last at the Vicente Calderon as they are set to move to a new stadium – Estadio La Peineta which will have a capacity of 70,000.
Atletico Madrid Beginnings
Club Atletico de Madrid was founded by a group of Basque students in 1903 as a youth branch of Athletic de Bilbao. Initially Atleti played in the same colored jersies (Blue and White) as their senior team Athletic de Bilbao who modeled their colors based on the jersies worn by English club Blackburn Rovers.
Athletic de Bilbao switched to White and Red jersies in 1911 but Atletico Madrid decided to keep the blue shorts. In 1911 Atletico Madrid played in their first game in the famous White & Red Shirt and Blue Shorts. The use of White and Red Shirts earned them the nicknames “Los Colchoneros” which means the Mattressers as there shirt colors were similar to the usual bed mattresses colors in Madrid.
Within a few years from their formation in 1907 Atletico Madrid an youth club of Athletic Bilbao had become a financially independent club. In 1913 Atletico Madrid faced local rivals Real Madrid ( Known as Madrid Football Club then) in a regional Championship final and winner would go through to the Copa del Rey competitions.
However Atletico Madrid who were a part of Athletic Bilbao couldn’t go through even if they had won cause the competition rules specified no two connected teams could be in the same competition. Atleti lost the game but they still decided to cut ties with Athletic Bilbao and become a fully independent club.
Atletico Madrid Trophy Cabient
Copa del Rey
Atletico Madrid tasted success for the first time in 1921 when they won the regional championship and thus qualifying for that years Copa del Rey. They had a great time in the competition surpassing expectations and reaching the final where they would face their former parent club Athletic Bilbao. Atleti went onto lose the final 4-1 and it also the be first of the three Copa del Rey finals they would lose in row ( 1926 vs Barcelona 3-2 and 1956 vs Athletic Bilbao 2-1).
Lucky would finally swing Atletico Madrid’s way as they went onto beat Real Madrid in the final of the 1959/60 edition of the tournament and lifting their first ever Copa del Rey title. Atleti would go onto make it two out of two by winning the 1960/61 Copa del Rey title this time also beating Real Madrid in the final 3-2.
Since their 2nd Copa del Rey win Atleti would go onto win the Copa del Rey title 8 more times most recently in the 2012/13 when they once again beat the Galaticos 2-1 in the final.
Atletico Madrid Copa del Rey wins: – 1959/60, 1960/61, 1964/65, 1971/72, 1975/76, 1984/85, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1995/96 and 2012–13
Atletico Madrid’s strong performances in the Copa del Rey during the 1920’s earned them an invite to participate in the first ever edition of the La Liga in 1929. Atleti would taste relegation for the first time in the 1929/30 edition of the tournament. They would make a comeback in 1934 only to go back to the Segunda division in 1936.
Once La Liga resumed after the Spanish Civil War in 1939 Atleti merged with Aviacion Nacional of Zaragoza and came to be known as Club Atlético de Aviacion. Atleti who had lost several of it’s players during the war found the merger to be a blessing in disguise and under the newly appointed manager Ricardo Zamora Atleti would go onto win the La Liga title in 1939/40 by finishing one point ahead of Sevilla.
Atletico would successful defend their title the following season this time finishing 2 points ahead of Athletic Bilbao. Since then Atletico would go onto win the title a total of 8 times most recently in 2013/14 when Diego Simeone’s finished 3 points clear of Barcelona to lift the title.
Atletico Madrid La Liga wins: – 1939/40, 1940/41, 1949/50, 1950/51, 1965/66, 1969/70, 1972/73, 1976/77, 1995/96 and 2013/14.
Atletico qualified for Europe for the first time (1958/59 European Cup) after finishing second in the 1957/58 La Liga season. They did immensely well in their first ever attempt at European competitions reaching the semi-finals of the tournament before losing to arch rivals Real Madrid.
Their first ever trophy in Europe (European Cup Winners’ Cup) came in the 1961/62 season when they beat Italian team Fiorentina 3-0 in a finals’ reply. They would reach the final of the competition once again in 1962/63 but ended up losing to Tottenham Hotspur 5-1.
Atletico Madrid have never been able to win Europe’s premier competition – The UEFA Champions League even though they’ve a couple of finals appearances in 1973/74 and most recently in 2013/14 when they lost to Real Madrid 4-1 in extra time.
Another European competition in which Atletico has tasted considerable success is the UEFA Europa league which they had won a total of 2 times, first time in 2009/10 and then in 2011/12.
Atletico Cup Wins in Europe: – European Cup Winners’ Cup (1961/62), UEFA Europa league (2009/10 and 2011/12) and UEFA Super Cup ( 2010 and 2012).
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea UEFA Super Cup 2012
Men who made a difference
- Ricardo Zamora
Ricardo Zamora took over as the Atletico Madrid/Atletico Aviacion manager in 1939 and remained with the club till 1946. During his time with Atleti he led them to two La Liga titles in 1939/40 and 1940/41 and also finished Copa del Rey runners up in 1947/48.
- Helenio Herrera
Herrera joined Atleti as manager in 1949 and managed them for a total of three seasons till 1952. During his time with him he led them to two La Liga titles in 1949/50 and 1950/51.
- Jose Villalonga Llorente
Villalonga joined Atletico Madrid as manager in 1959 and after managing arch rivals Real Madrid for a couple of seasons. Under Villalonga Atleti won two back to back Copa del Rey titles in 1959/60 and 1960/61, he also led them to their first ever European trophy in 1961/62 ( European Cup Winners’ Cup).
- Luis Aragones
Luis Aragones spend majority of his professional career as a coach and then as a manager for Atletico Madrid. Aragones joined Atleti from Real Betis in 1964 and went on to play from them for the next decade making over 350 appearances and scoring 173 goals. He to this date still remains the highest goalscorer for Atletico Madrid in all competitions. As a player he had won the La Liga thrice (1965/66, 1969/70, 1972/73) and the Copa del Rey twice (1964/65, 1971/72).
After retiring as a player in 1974 Aragones was immediately appointed as the club’s manager. He would be with the club as manager for more than half a decade till 1980. Aragones would come back as manager once again in 1982 and would serve another 5 seasons as manager till moving away in 1987. He would manager the club on two more separate occasions first between 1991-1993 and then between 2001-2003. In his four stints as Atleti manager he would guide the team to a La Liga title (1976/77) and three Copa del Rey titles (1975/76, 1984/85 and 1991/92).
Luis Aragones to this date still remains the most successful Atletico Madrid manager.
- Radomir Antic
Antic served as Atletico Madrid manager on three separate occasions first time in 1995-98 then in 1999 and for the last time in 2000. Antic surpassed expectations in his first season with the club as he led them to a league and Copa del Rey double in the 1995/96 season. Atletico would make a few more Copa del Rey finals appearances under his guidance but ended up losing both of them.
Radomir Antic remains the only person to have managed the trio of Spanish heavy-weights – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
- Quique Flores
Though Flores had been with club for just two seasons he worked wonders in his short time their guiding them to two European trophies – 2009/10 Europe league and the 2010 UEFA Super Cup. He also took them to the 2009/10 Copa del Rey final but ended up losing to Sevilla 2-0.
- Diego Simeone