Atletico Madrid are the third most successful club in Spain in terms of La Liga titles – and a name that will forever resonate with Spurs fans.
Los Colchoneros were our opponents when we lifted the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1963, the famous night we became the first British club to win a European trophy.
The Spanish giants were defending the trophy in Rotterdam but were swept away by Bill Nicholson’s team, a glory, glory night led by Terry Dyson’s two goals and a 5-1 final scoreline.
Atletico were also runners-up in La Liga that season but typical of the club, were soon winning again with their fifth title in 1966. That total is now 10 after the most recent success in 2013-14, a thrilling victory gained with a draw at rivals Barcelona on the season’s final day.
Athletic Club de Madrid were formed on April 26, 1903. They won their first title, the Federation Regional Championship in 1921 and by 1923, were moving into a new stadium, the Metropolitan Stadium, housing 25,000 fans.
Regional Championships followed in 1925 and 1928 and following the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Athletico were awarded a place in La Liga, winning their first title in their first year, 1939-40 and retained it in 1940-41.
Back-to-back titles followed again in 1949-50 and 1950-51 – just like ourselves – and a first Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) in 1960, when rivals Real Madrid were beaten in their back yard, the Bernabeu.
European glory was next in 1962 with a 3-0 replay win over Fiorentina in Stuttgart.
The next big step for the club was the arrival of a new stadium in 1966. Initially called the Manzanares Stadium, Atletico’s home is now the famous Vicente Calderon Stadium with capacity just short of 55,000.
La Liga titles went hand in hand with that move in 1965-66 before a golden spell in the 1970s as Marcel Domingo, Max Merkel and then Luis Aragones delivered titles in 1969-70, 1972-73 and 1976-77. They were also runners-up in 1973-74 and reached the 1974 European Cup Final, where they were beaten by Bayern Munich.
The next notable success was a Cope del Rey win in 1986 again, achieved in the Bernabeu before winning the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona.
After a gap of almost 20 years, Radomir Antic delivered La Liga again, with a certain Diego Simeone a key member of the squad, in 1995-96.
Atletico were relegated in 2000 before gaining promotion in 2002. Luis Aragones was again in charge with a young striker Fernando Torres beginning to make his mark. Quique Sanchez Flores led the team to the UEFA Cup in 2010 with the goals of Diego Forlan to the fore.
Simeone took over in 2011 and has written another glorious chapter in the club’s history. The UEFA Cup was delivered first in 2012. Radamel Falcao scored twice as they beat Chelsea 4-1 to lift the UEFA Super Cup. Diego Costa was on target as the Cope del Rey followed again in the Bernabeu against Real Madrid.
Season 2013-14 was one to remember for Atletico. Back in the Champions League, they reached the fina by beating AC Milan, Chelsea and Barcelona. A week before the final, they clinched their 10th La Liga title in dramatic style with a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp on the final day of the season. They couldn’t double up though as Real Madrid won the Champions League Final in Lisbon, Gareth Bale on target as Real clinched La Decima.
French international striker who has spent his entire career so far in Spain’s La Liga. He joined Real Sociedad’s youth set-up in 2005, made his first team debut four years later and went on to make 179 league appearances for the club. Moving to Atletico in July, 2014, he has become a key figure in the team this season, scoring some crucial goals including the winner at the Bernabeu to beat rivals Real Madrid in La Liga and in Champions League ties against Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Formidable and experienced centre-half who started his career in Uruguay with Cerro and Nacional before moving to Spain with Villarreal in August, 2007. Joined Atletico three years later and is a lynchpin in the heart of their impressive backline which conceded just 18 La Liga goals in 2015-16. He helped Atletico to the league title two years earlier, scoring the decisive equaliser against Barcelona in their final game which handed them the championship, and also netting in the Champions League Final against Real Madrid a week later, only for Real to hit back and win 4-1.
Madrid-born and bred, he has only ever played for Atletico throughout his career, joining their youth academy aged eight before progressing to become an integral first team player. A creative but tough-tackling midfielder, he made his debut in September, 2009, against Barcelona, and five years later he was scoring against the same time to knock them out of the Champions League semi-finals. Finished this season with 14 La Liga assists, only two behind Barca duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Apps: 370, Goals: 173
Luis Aragones is still Atletico’s all-time top goalscorer and seventh on their all-time appearance list, despite hanging up his boots in 1974. He joined the club from Real Betis, won La Liga titles in 1966, 1970 and 1973 and scored in the 1974 European Cup Final for them, which Bayern Munich won in a replay after a 1-1 draw. He also managed Atletico on four separate occasions, guiding them to the title in 1977 and, most recently, between 2001-03. Aragones led Spain to the Euro 2008 title as well and he passed away in February, 2014, aged 75.
Apps: 234, Goals: 101
Atletico have had some top strikers in recent years including Diego Forlan, Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao and current star Fernando Torres – and Sergio Aguero certainly makes the list. Having made his name in Argentina with Independiente, he moved to Spain in May, 2006, as a teenager, and was a regular goalscorer throughout his time with Atletico. He helped them win the 2010 Europa League, assisting both goals in their 2-1 win over Fulham in the final and finished with a tally of 101 goals in 234 appearances in all competitions before moving to Manchester City in July, 2011.
League apps: 329, Goals: 46
Started his career with Osasuna but came to prominence with Atletico where he spent eight years and won six major titles. An attacking midfielder, he joined in July, 2007, and was a regular name on the teamsheet for most of his time at the Vicente Calderon Stadium. He won the Europa League in 2010, scored 10 goals en route to Atletico winning the La Liga title in 2013-14 and played his part as they reached the Champions League final that same season. Currently playing for Athletic Bilbao after joining them last August.
Atletico Madrid were invited to join the Primera Division of the inaugural La Liga in 1928, where they were managed by Englishman Fred Pentland. Born in Wolverhampton in 1883, he played for the likes of Blackburn Rovers, QPR and Middlesbrough before moving into coaching, where he also took charge of Racing Santander, Real Oviedo and Athletic Bilbao.
The club co-owns the Indian Super League franchise in Kolkata, named Atlético de Kolkata. Wearing the same colours as their Spanish counterparts, their marquee player for the 2015 season was former Spur, Helder Postiga.
Atletico won the 2013-14 La Liga title thanks to a 1-1 draw against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the final round of matches. With the hosts needing a win to snatch the trophy themselves, Alexis Sanchez gave them the lead but Diego Godin’s headed equaliser secured the point Atletico needed to take the title.
Not many teams across the world this season will win 28 of their 38 league matches, only concede 18 goals – and still only finish third in their division! But that was the fate that befell Atletico Madrid this term as they battled all the way to the end in La Liga but couldn’t get past city rivals Real Madrid or champions Barcelona. They did enjoy a 1-0 win against Real in the Bernabeu in February, having drawn 1-1 at the Vicente Calderon earlier in the campaign, but home and away defeats to Barca seriously dented Atletico’s title tilt, finishing just three points behind the eventual winners.
They did gain sweet revenge in the Champions League however, knocking Barcelona out of the competition at the quarter-final stage thanks to a 3-2 aggregate win and following that up by beating Bayern Munich on away goals to reach a final showdown with Real Madrid at the San Siro on May 28. That will be a repeat of the 2014 final when Atletico led 1-0 until the third minute of stoppage time before Sergio Ramos broke their hearts with an equaliser, Real going on to win 4-1 in extra time.
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