Atlético Madrid’s league and cup double in the 1995–96 season was their first La Liga title in 19 years. Unfortunately, for Los Rojiblancos this success was short lived with the team being relegated to the second tier of Spanish football for two seasons just four years later. Their Europa League win in 2010 was a sign of things to come but the catalyst for today’s Atlético Madrid took place in December 2011 when they made former midfielder, Diego Simeone, their new manager. Atlético won another Europa League title in 2012 and the Copa del Rey in 2013 before going on to win La Liga in 2014. They’ve also achieved a top three finish in eight consecutive seasons and twice finished runners-up to city rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
This recent success of Atlético Madrid domestically and in Europe has seen a growing number of football tourists heading for the Spanish capital. And thanks to Atlético Madrid’s fanatical supporters, visitors can experience a fantastic atmosphere at the club’s magnificent Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
Atlético Madrid Stadiums
Early Venues: Atlético Madrid were founded in 1903 as a branch of Athletic Bilbao. They played their home games at Campo del Retiro in Ronda de Vallecas which had previously been occupied by Madrid Football Club (later known as Real Madrid). A decade later they moved to Campo de O´Donnell which was located on the same street as Real Madrid’s Estadio de O’Donnell. The stadium could accommodate 10,000 paying spectators and was Atlético’s home for another ten years.
Estadio Metropolitano: In 1923 the club rented the Estadio Metropolitano de Madrid from a company called Compañía Urbanizadora Metropolitana which operated the city’s underground system. Located at Ciudad Universitaria, the multi-purpose stadium hosted Athletic Club de Madrid’s first game in 1923 when they became independent of Athletic Bilbao.
Athletic Club de Madrid joined the inaugural ten team Spanish League in 1928, managed by the Englishman, Fred Pentland, known as ‘El Bombin’ (the bowler hat). The club was relegated in 1930, returning to the top league in 1934. Two seasons later they were due to be relegated again but the suspension of the league because of the civil war meant that this was avoided.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) the 35,800-seater Estadio Metropolitano was completely destroyed which forced the renamed Athletic-Aviación Club to play home games in the Estadio de Chamartín and later the Campo de Vallecas. In 1943 the club returned to the Estadio Metropolitano which remained their home until 1966 when they moved to the Estadio Vicente Calderón.
Loss of players during the Spanish Civil War forced Athletic Club de Madrid to merge with a Spanish Air Force team, becoming known as Athletic Aviación Club. Suspicions about ‘help’ from the authorities abounded at this time and, although the league title was won in 1940 and 1941, the military associations didn’t fit well with all of the club’s supporters. In 1947, the club became known as Club Atlético de Madrid and, in 1950 and 1951, repeated its feat of winning the league in successive seasons.
Estadio Vicente Calderón: Atlético de Madrid bought a piece of land on the banks of the River Manzanares in 1959 and work began on the construction of a new stadium which would be called Estadio del Manzanares. The first match was played there in 1966 although the main stand which stood above the M-30 motorway wasn’t completed for another four years. It was in 1972 that the stadium was renamed the Estadio Vicente Calderón in honour of the club president who oversaw its development. Initially the stadium had a capacity of 62,000 although developments in the 1980s saw this reduced to a little under 55,000. The Vicente Calderón Stadium remained the revered home of Atlético Madrid until the end of the 2016-17 season when the club moved to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in the north-east of the city.
Estadio Wanda Metropolitano: Atlético’s current stadium has a history dating back to 1994 when it opened as an athletics arena being originally known as the Estadio de la Comunidad de Madrid, or La Peineta. In 2004 it was closed in preparation for what proved to be Madrid’s failed bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Numerous proposals for the future of the stadium were rejected before it was acquired by Atlético Madrid in 2013. After major renovations the club moved to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano for the start of the 2017-18 season. As well as serving as the new home of Atlético, the ultra modern stadium with a capacity of 68,456 has already hosted international matches, the final of the Copa del Rey and the 2019 Champions League Final.
Atlético Madrid’s Stadiums
Campo del Retiro (1903-1913)
Campo de O’Donnell (1913-1923)
Estadio Metropolitano (1923-1966)
Estadio Vicente Calderón (1966-2017)
Wanda Metropolitano (2017-)
Atlético Madrid Stadium Tours
Athletic Club de Madrid was founded in 1903 by three Basque students who were at university in Madrid. The club was initially a branch of Athletic Bilbao – even copying their blue and white striped shirts. It wasn’t until 1920 that the club became fully independent of their parent club. By then, the playing strip had changed to its now famous red and white.
Officially, the reason for the change was given as being that the director charged with going to England to collect a new kit in 1911 had not been able to find shirts in blue and white and so had bought red and white shirts instead. Another version of this story is that the red and white strips were the cheapest to manufacture as that particular cloth was used in making bed mattresses. Hence Atlético’s nickname ‘Los Colchoneros’ … the Mattress Makers!
Stories such as this are told on a visit to ‘Territorio Atleti’ which is a museum dedicated to the club’s history. The museum is located within the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano and is included as part of the Atlético Madrid stadium tour. In addition, fans are given access to the stands, changing rooms, press room and presidential box before walking up the player’s tunnel to the pitch and dugouts.
Getting to the Wanda Metropolitano
The Estadio Wanda Metropolitano is located 10km north-east of of Madrid’s tourist centre (Puerta del Sol) and just 6km south of Barajas international airport. The best way to get there is by means of the Orange Line 7 of the city metro which has a stop called ‘Estadio Metropolitano’ immediately outside the stadium. This huge station was built to accommodate the large number of Atlético fans who would be travelling to their new stadium from their traditional heartland in the south of the city.
Alternative metro routes for getting to the stadium include taking Red Line 2 to ‘Las Rosas’ or Green Line 5 to ‘Canillejas’ then taking a 15 minute walk to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. There are also a number of city bus routes which serve the stadium including numbers 28, 38, 48, 140 and E2.
Atlético Madrid Fixtures 2020-21
|13/09/20||Atlético de Madrid v Sevilla FC|
|27/09/20||Atlético de Madrid v Granada CF|
|04/10/20||Atlético de Madrid v Villarreal CF|
|25/10/20||Atlético de Madrid v Real Betis|
|08/11/20||Atlético de Madrid v Cádiz CF|
|22/11/20||Atlético de Madrid v FC Barcelona|
|06/12/20||Atlético de Madrid v Real Valladolid CF|
|20/12/20||Atlético de Madrid v Elche C.F.|
|30/12/20||Atlético de Madrid v Getafe CF|
|10/01/21||Atlético de Madrid v Athletic Club|
|24/01/21||Atlético de Madrid v Valencia CF|
|07/02/21||Atlético de Madrid v RC Celta|
|21/02/21||Atlético de Madrid v Levante UD|
|07/03/21||Atlético de Madrid v Real Madrid|
|21/03/21||Atlético de Madrid v Deportivo Alavés|
|21/04/21||Atlético de Madrid v SD Huesca|
|28/04/21||Atlético de Madrid v SD Eibar|
|12/05/21||Atlético de Madrid v Real Sociedad|
|16/05/21||Atlético de Madrid v C.A. Osasuna|
How to Get Atlético Madrid Tickets
Thanks to the capacity of the Wanda Metropolitano there are usually tickets available for the majority of La Liga fixtures through the Atlético de Madrid Website. However, it can be very difficult to get tickets for games against Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and major European opposition in Champions League games.