Club Atletico de Madrid
Atlético Madrid were originally founded on the 26th of April in 1903 as Athletic Club de Madrid by three Basque students living in Madrid. These three students saw the new club as a youth branch of their childhood team, Athletic Bilbao. As such, they played in blue and white. However, by 1911 Athletic Club de Madrid were playing in their current colours of red and white. One story claims that due to red and white cloth being used to make bed mattresses, shirts could be easily made from any spare material and were therefore cheaper to buy. This is the origin of one of the club's nicknames: Los Colchoneros, meaning the mattress makers. Another story, arguably more plausible, states that Juanito Elorduy, a former player and member of the board, went to England to buy the blue and white kits of Blackburn Rovers for both Athletic Madrid and Bilbao. He did not find Blackburn Rovers' blue and white kits and instead bought Southampton's red and white kits. Athletic Bilbao adopted the full kit, with red and white shirts and black shorts, whilst Athletic Madrid only adopted the shirts and kept the blue shorts. This lead to the nickname Los Rojiblancos.
It wasn't until 1921 that Athletic Madrid became independent of Athletic Bilbao. As part of this interdependency, a company known as Compańía Urbanizadora Metropolitana – the company that ran the underground communication system in Madrid – built a 35,800 capacity stadium named the Estadio Metropollitano de Madrid. The stadium was used until 1966, when the club moved into current stadium Estadio Vicente Calderón .
Birth of Atlético de Madrid
During the 1920s, Athletic won the Campeonato del Centro three times and were runners-up in the Copa del Rey on two occasions in 1921 and 1926. Based on this record, they were invited to join the inaugural La Liga in 1928. They were relegated only after two seasons to the Segunda División. They returned to La Liga briefly in 1934, before being relegated again in 1936. Fortunately, the Spanish Civil War gave Athletic a reprieve. 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 play-off against CA Osasuna, champions of the Segunda División.
By the time La Liga resumed in 1939, 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 1939/1940 season, only to be denied by the RFEF. As a compromise, Aviación Nacional merged with Athletic Club de Madrid who had lost eight players in the Spanish Civil War. As a replacement for Real Oviedo, Athletic Aviación were awarded a place in the 1939/1940 Primera División. Under the management of the legendary Ricardo Zamora, the club won their first La Liga title that season and then retained the title in 1941. In the very same year, a decree issued by Franco banned teams from using foreign names and the club became known as Atlético Aviación 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. This marked the beginning of Atlético's golden era.
Atlético's Golden Era
Under Helenio Herrera and with the help of Labri Benbarek, Atlético won La Liga again in 1950 and 1951. With the departure of Herrera in 1953, Atlético began to slip behind Real Madrid and Barcelona. For the remainder of the 1950's, they were left to battle it out with Athletic Bilbao for the title of third best team in Spain.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Atlético Madrid seriously challenged Barcelona of the position of second best team. They finished second in La Liga in 1958/1959 and managed to qualify for the European Cup, since Real Madrid were the reigning European champions. Atlético reached the semi-finals after beating Drumcondra, CSKA Sofia and Schalke. They played rivals Real Madrid in the semi's, losing the replay 2-1 after the original match ended 2-2 on aggregate. Atlético would gain their revenge when they defeated Real Madrid in two Copa del Rey finals in 1960 and 1961, under the management of former Real coach José Villalonga no less. They won the 1962 European Cup Winners Cup, beating Fiorentina 3-0 after a replay. In 1963, the club reached the final but was thrashed by English side Tottenham Hotspur 5-1.
Unfortunately for Atlético, they only managed to win the La Liga title on four more occasions between the years of 1961 and 1980, with Real Madrid winning the competition an outstanding 14 times during that period. Atlético won the Copa del Rey a further three times and in 1965, became the first club to beat Real Madrid at the Bernabéu in eight years.
Atlético would again win the Copa del Rey in 1985 under former player Luis Aragonés , thanks largely to striker Hugo Sánchez who won the Pichichi that year. Even after Sánchez left for Real Madrid a year later, Atlético won the Supercopa de Espańa in 1985.
It was in the year 1987 that controversial politician and businessman Jesús Gil became club president. Atlético had not won La Liga for ten years and were desperate for league success. Gil immediately spent heavily, bringing in players such as Paulo Futre from Porto. However, all of the spending only succeeded in bringing two consecutive Copa del Rey trophies in 1991 and 1992. As a result, Gil developed a ruthless reputation due to the manner in which he ran the club, particularly with managers. He had hired and fired a number of coaches, such as César Luis Menotti, Ron Atkinson, Javier Clemente, Tomislav Ivić and club legend Luis Aragonés. Significantly, Gil closed down Atlético's youth academy in 1992; a move which saw 15-year old academy member Raúl González Blanco move to Real Madrid and achieve worldwide fame.
A narrow escape of relegation in 1996 prompted a wholesale squad change. Now under Radomir Antić, Atlético finally won La Liga as well as another Copa del Rey trophy.
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. Then coach Claudio 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.
Rising Once Again
Atlético spent two seasons in the Segunda División, narrowly missing out on promotion in 2001 before winning the Segunda División in 2002. It was again Luis Aragonés, in his last spell as a manager of Atlético, who brought Atlético to the Primera División. He also coached the team during the next season, being the one who gave Fernando Torres the opportunity to make his début in La Liga, at the Camp Nou against F.C. Barcelona in a 2–2 draw
Fernando Torres left Atlético for Liverpool in 2007 for a fee of Ł26,500,000. During this time, Atlético signed Diego Forlán from Villareal, Simăo from Benfica and José Antonio Reyes from Arsenal to join the likes of Luis García, Costinha, Maniche and young Argentine striker Sergio “Kun” Agüero. With Javier Aguirre in charge, the club had one of their most successful seasons in the past decade, reaching the last 32 of the UEFA Cup, the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and finished 4th in La Liga, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1996/1997.
Javier Aguirre was dismissed in 2009 after a horrible start to the 2008/2009 campaign, though he claims he was released by mutual termination. The decision sparked public outrage, with many believing the Mexican not to be cause of their problems. Diego Forlán in particular believed the players were not playing well and that Aguirre was wrongly dismissed. Abel Resino replaced Aguirre and the club finished 4th again that season.
However, the 2009/2010 season started poorly with many defeats and goals conceded. Resino was eventually sacked and replaced by Quique Sánchez Flores. Despite still not performing to expectations in La Liga, Atlético managed to qualify for the UEFA Europa League by finishing third in their Champions League group. They went on to win the tournament, defeating Liverpool in the semi-finals and then Fulham in the final. It was their first European success since the 1961/1962 European Cup Winners' Cup win. They also reached the Copa del Rey final for the first time since 1996, but were defeated by Sevilla.
By winning the Europa League, Atlético qualified for the UEFA Super Cup against Inter Milan. Atlético won 2-0, with goals from Reyes and Agüero, winning the their first ever UEFA Super Cup and hopefully initiating Atlético's resurrection as a major force in Spain.
Campeonato Regional Centro
Winners (4): 1920/1921, 1924/1925, 1927/1928, 1939/1940
Winners (9): 1939/1940, 1940/1941, 1949/1950, 1950/1951, 1965/1966 ,1969/1970, 1972/1973, 1976/1977, 1995/1996
Runners-Up (8): 1943/1944, 1957/1958, 1960/1961, 1962/1963, 1964/1965, 1973/1974, 1984/1985, 1990/1991
Copa del Rey
Winners (9): 1959/1960, 1960/1961, 1964/1965, 1971/1972, 1975/1976, 1984/1985, 1990/1991, 1991/1992, 1995/1996
Runners-up (9): 1921, 1926, 1955/1956, 1963/1964, 1974/1975, 1986/1987, 1998/1999, 1999/2000, 2009/2010
Supercopa de Espańa
[b]Winners (3):[b] 1940, 1951, 1985
Runners-up (4): 1950, 1991, 1992, 1996
Winners (1): 2001/2002
Runners-up (2): 1932/1933, 1933/1994
European Cup/UEFA Champions League
Runners-up (1): 1973/1974
UEFA Europa League
Winners (1): 2009/2010
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
Winners (1): 1961/1962
Runners-up (2): 1962/1963, 1985/1986
UEFA Super Cup
Winners (1): 2010
UEFA Intertoto Cup
Winners (1): 2007
Runners-up (1): 2004
Winners (1): 1991
Winners (1): 1974
Built in 1966, the Estadio Vicente Calderón is located in the Arganzuela district of Madrid. Originally known as the Manzanares Stadium, due to being built on the banks of the Manzanares river, the stadium is named after the famous Atlético president Vicente Calderón. The seats are laid out in red and white stripes, the famous colours of Atlético's shirts. It regularly hosts international matches of the Spanish national team has been classified as a 5 Star UEFA Elite stadium since 2003; the first Spanish stadium to attain this classification.
(The Vicente Calderon)
Atlético have recently agreed a deal with the brewer Mahou and Ayuntamiento de Madrid to reclassify the land that is currently owned by the Vicente Calderón stadium and the Mahou brewery, agreeing that Atlético would move within 3 years to the Madrid Stadium, better known as Estadio La Peineta, which is currently being renovated in preparation of Atlético's tenancy. After reconstruction, La Peineta will hold 73,300 spectators and will feature full covered stands. After 2016, Atletico will gain full ownership of La Peineta.
The Vicente Calderón Stadium will be demolished, and a park will be built in its place, which is to be named the "Park Atlético Madrid".
(Former Olympic stadium, "La Peineta")