Club Atletico de Madrid are one of three biggest clubs in Spain along with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona and are also the most successful after Real and Barca. Based in the Spanish capital Madrid, they boast the record of winning the Spanish first division title and the Copa del Rey (the Spanish Cup) each on 9 occasions. Atletico play their home matches at the 55,000 capacity Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Originally founded in 1903, the club has undergone several name changes but have also picked up the Spanish league championship title 9 titles, the Copa del Rey on nine occasions and won the European Cup winners Cup in 1962.
Atletico Madrid were originally founded on April 26, 1903 as Athletic Club de Madrid by three Basque students living in Madrid. The founders essentially perceived the club as a branch of the Basque club Athletic de Bilbao and in its early part of history, the club was closely connected to Athletic de Bilbao and had several similarities including the colours of the kit.
But by 1939 after the Spanish Civil War things had altered and the Madrid club then changed its name to Athletic Aviacion de Madrid after merging with Aviacion Nacional of Zaragoza. After winning the Spanish championship in 1940 and then successfully defending it the next year, the club had to change its name again. This time it became Atletico Aviacion de Madrid after General Francisco Franco issued a decree banning teams from using foreign names. In 1947, they decided to drop the military association from its name and became, finally, Club Atletico de Madrid.
Atletico Madrid have since then been on and off in La Liga title race. They have gone through periods such as that in the mid-1950s when it has appeared likely that they would consolidate their big club status but mostly they have failed to take their chances by the scruff of the neck. That is why they are said to be the sleeping giant of Spain.
Atletico Madrid play their home matches at the 55,000 capacity Estadio Vicente Calderon which has the reputation of being one of the most intimidating grounds in the whole of Spain. Atletico’s supporters are one of the most passionate in the country although majority of them appear to come from the working class background. Atletico Madrid are affectionately known as Atleti to their fans although they are also known as the mattress makers and los indios.
Atletico foster massive rivalry with their city rivals Real Madrid with whom they contest El Derbi Madrileno.
These days Atletico Madrid are on the high again flying on the wings of Sergio Aguerro, Diego Forlan, Maxi Rodriguez, Simao Sabrosa and Jose Antonio Reyes.
The club’s major achievements include:
- 9 La Liga
- 9 Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup)
- 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup
- 1 Intercontinental Cup
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