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Atletico Madrid

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Former Atletico player Diego Simeone is now coaching the club

Former Atletico player Diego Simeone is now coaching the club

Claudia Villa / Getty Images

Atletico are the traditional poor relations to big city rivals Real Madrid.

Atleti have a terrible recent record in the Madrid derby, and the only predictable aspect of the club is it’s unpredictability.

Los Colchoneros have sacked coaches for fun since winning their last league title in 1996. Relegation, debt and power struggles have all plagued the Vicente Calderon club, but the 2009-10 season represented a beacon of hope for the long-suffering fans.

Under Quique Sanchez Flores, Atletico won their first European trophy since 1962 when they beat Fulham 2-1 in the Europa League final, and they also reached the final of the Copa del Rey, losing to Sevilla.

Gregorio Manzano replaced Flores after an average 2010-11 season but enjoyed little success and now former player Diego Simeone is the man in charge.

Quick Facts:

  • Founded: 1903
  • Home Ground (Capacity): Vicente Calderon (54,851)
  • Nicknames: Los Colchoneros (The mattress makers), Los Rojiblancos (The Red and Whites), Los Indios (The Indians), El Atleti
  • Home Colors: Red and White
  • Top Goalscorer All-Time: Luis Aragones
  • First Division/La Liga Titles: (9): 1939–40, 1940–41, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1965–66, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1995–96
  • Spanish Cup/Copa del Rey Titles: (9): 1959–60, 1960–61, 1964–65, 1971–72, 1975–76, 1984–85, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1995–96
  • UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League: (2) 2009-10, 2011-12
  • UEFA Cup Winners Cup: (1) 1960-61
  • Intercontinental Cup: (1) 1974
  • European Super Cup: (1) 2010

The Team:

  • Current Coach: Diego Simeone
  • Top Goalscorer 2011-2012: Radamel Falcao (36 in all competitions)
  • Captain: Gabi
  • 2011-2012 League Finish: 5th

Atletico Madrid Squad:

1 Asenjo ·2 Godín ·3 Filipe ·4 Mario ·5 Tiago ·6 Koke ·7 Adrián ·8 Raúl García ·9 Falcao ·10 Arda ·11 C. Rodríguez ·12 Pulido ·13 Courtois ·14 Gabi (c) ·15 Cisma ·17 Sílvio ·18 Cata Díaz ·19 Diego Costa ·20 Juanfran ·21 Emre ·23 Miranda ·25 Joel ·

A Little History:

Athletic Club de Madrid was formed by three Basque students in 1903, who saw their creation as a youth branch for Athletic Bilbao. The club was asked to join the inaugural ten team Spanish league in 1928 after finishing as runners up in the Copa del Rey the previous two seasons.

Los Colchoneros won back-to-back Liga titles in 1940 and 41 under Ricardo Zamora, the former goalkeeping legend.

Under Argentinean manager Helenio Herrera won two league titles in the early 50s, before a subsequent fall from grace in the rest of the decade.

Atletico revived former glories by beating Real Madrid in successive Copa del Rey finals at the beginning of the next decade as they challenged Barcelona for the position of Spain's second team. Nineteen sixty-two was a glorious year as they won their first European trophy in the form of the Cup Winners Cup, beating Fiorentina 3-0 in a replay.

Although Real Madrid dominated the 1960s and 70s domestically and in Europe, Atletico still won four league titles over the two decades, and reached their only European Cup final in 1974. They were seconds away from beating Bayern Munich after a Luis Aragones strike, but a late equalizer from Bayern ensured the tie went to a replay, with the Germans triumphing 4-0.

Jesus Gil became the club’s president in 1987. The politician was a controversial figure and quickly gained a reputation for spending large sums of money on players and for hiring and firing coaches.

Gil had to wait until 1996 for the Liga title he so craved when coach Raddy Antic delivered a surprise league and cup double.

In the 1999-00 season, and with Gil and his board suspended pending investigation into the misuse of club funds, Atletico reached the Copa del Rey final but a catastrophic league campaign saw them relegated to the Segunda Division. They spent two seasons in Spain’s second tear until club legend Aragones, in his fourth spell as coach, led them back to the top flight.

The club ended a 14-year trophy drought in 2010 when two goals from Diego Forlan delivered an extra-time win over Fulham in the final of the first Europa League.

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