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Club Atlético de Madrid is a Spanish football club based in Madrid. They currently play in the Primera División of La Liga. Their home stadium is the Vicente Calderón Stadium.The club has won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey on nine occasions, including a double in 1996. They also won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1962 and were European Cup runners-up and Intercontinental Cup winners in 1974. Atlético play in red and white striped shirts and blue shorts.
During their history, the club have been known by a number of nicknames including los colchoneros or the mattresses due to their first team strips being the same colours as old-fashioned mattresses. During the 1970s they became known as los indios. This was 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—. The latter nickname refers to the club's city rival Real Madrid.
Athletic Club de Madrid
The club was originally founded on April 26, 1903 as Athletic Club de Madrid by three Basque students living in Madrid. The founders saw the new club as a branch of Athletic Bilbao. In 1904 they were joined by dissident members of Madrid FC. They began playing in blue and white, as did Athletic Bilbao, but by 1911 they were playing in their current colours. The reason the club changed colours is not known for certain. However one theory is that red and white striped tops were the cheapest stripes to make because the same combination was used to make bed mattresses. The left over cloth was easily converted into football shirts. Although both Athletic Bilbao and Athletic Madrid started out with blue and white stripes, the discovery of a cheaper option probably persuaded them to change. The Madrid club did it first and they became known as los colchoneros - the mattress makers. The club enjoy a local rivalry with Real Madrid because initially Atlético supporters came from the working class while the Real supporters were drawn from the middle class although today these distinctions are largely blurred.
In 1919, the Compañía Urbanizadora Metropolitana -the company that ran the underground communication system in Madrid- acquired some land, near the Ciudad Universitaria. As part of that project the company built a sports stadium, named Estadio Metropolitano de Madrid. With a capacity for 35.800 spectators, in 1923 it was rented by Atlético de Madrid, which used it until 1966 when they moved to the new Estadio Vicente Calderón. After the move, the Metropolitano was demolished, being replaced with university buildings.
In 1921 Athletic Madrid became independent of Athletic Bilbao and by 1923, the club built its first stadium, the Metropolitano. During the 1920s Athletic won the Campeonato del Centro three times and in 1921 and 1926 they were Copa del Rey runners-up. 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. However in 1930 they were relegated to the Segunda División. They briefly returned to the Primera División in 1934, again with Pentland in charge. The club were relegated again in 1936 after Josep Samitier took over in mid-season from Pentland. However the Spanish Civil War gave the club a reprieve and both La Liga and Athletic's relegation were postponed.
Athletic Aviación de Madrid
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 Primera División only as a replacement for Real Oviedo whose ground had been damaged during the war. With Ricardo Zamora as manager, the club subsequently won their first La Liga in 1940 and then retained the title in 1941.
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 Club Atlético de Madrid. The same year saw Atlético beat Real Madrid 5-0 at the Metropolitano, to date their biggest win over their rivals.
The Golden Age
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 FC Barcelona and for the remainder of the 1950s they where left to battle it out with Atlético Bilbao for the title of third team in Spain.
However during the 1960s and 1970s, Atlético Madrid seriously challenged FC 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 seasons 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 FC Schalke 04. 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 Generalísimo finals in 1960 and 1961. In 1962 they won the European Cup Winners Cup beating Fiorentina 3-0 after a replay. In 1963 they reached the final of the same competition again, this time losing 5-1 to Tottenham Hotspur F.C.. 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 a great Real Madrid team. 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 and won the Copa del Generalísimo again 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.
European Cup Finalists
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 Bucharest, 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 worse cases of cynical fouling the tournament has seen . Despite this they still managed a 0-0 draw and then won the return leg 2-0 with goals from Gárate and Adelardo. However the final at the Heysel Stadium proved to be a heartbreaker 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 equalised 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 4-0.
The Aragonés Years
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 (1974-80, 1982-87, 1991-93 and 2002-03). His first success came quickly. Bayern Munich had declined to participate 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 second in La Liga and a Copa del Rey in 1985. He received considerable help from Hugo Sánchez who scored 19 La Liga goals and won the Pichichi. Sánchez also scored twice in the Copa final as Atlético beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1. However Sánchez only remained at the club 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 Kiev.
The Jesús Gil Years
In 1987 Jesús Gil became club president. Atlético had not won La Liga for ten years and were desperate for success. Gil spent heavily, bringing in a number of expensive signings, most notably Paulo Futre. However the title proved elusive and Gil developed a reputation for his ruthlessness. He hired and fired a number of managers, including César Luis Menotti, Ron Atkinson, Javier Clemente and a returning Luis Aragonés, in pursuit of success. In 1996 Radomir Antić, with a squad including José Luis Caminero, Luboslav Penev, Diego Simeone, Milinko Pantić, Juan Manuel López and Kiko, finally delivered. Atlético won a La Liga/Copa del Rey double. However this success produced no change in the Gil strategy and although Antić survived three consecutive seasons in charge he was replaced in 1998 by Arrigo Sacchi. Antić returned briefly in 1999 only to be replaced by Claudio Ranieri. The spending also continued with Christian Vieri and Juninho Paulista arriving in the late 1990s. The 1999/00 season proved disastrous for Atlético. Ranieri was sacked with the club heading towards relegation and the return of Antić for a third time 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.
Before the death of Jesús Gil in 2004, Enrique Cerezo was named the new president of the club. The new millennium has seen the club dwell somewhat in mid-table obscurity. However in 2006, Fernando Torres, one of the biggest talents in recent Spanish football history, was joined by Portuguese internationals Costinha, Maniche and Argentine Sergio Agüero.
source: wikipedia.org GNU Free Documentation License