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Atletico Madrid

Founded: 1903

Address: Paseo Virgen del Puerto, 67 Spain

Phone: (+34) 91 308 11 30 -

Fax: (+34) 91 310 39 81

Email: comunicacion@clubatleticodemadrid.com

Official URL: http://www.clubatleticodemadrid.com

Chairman: Enrique Cerezo

Club Director: Jesús García Pitarch

Stadium: Vicente Calderón - Madrid

Club History
Atlético de Madrid may have failed to justify lofty claims that they are Spain's 'third club' in recent seasons, but they are still considered one of la Primera's most glamorous outfits.

Founded in 1903 by Basque students living in the city, the team began as an extension of Athletic Club Bilbao and played in blue and white stripes under the name Athletic Madrid. Both Atleti, who also donned blue and white, and Athletic changed to the red and white stripes because mattress material was cheap and easily available at the time and was those colours, earning the Madrid club the nickname of los Colchoneros (the mattress makers).

Atlético broke all ties with their Basque founders in 1921, but retained the name and earned their first honours during the same decade before becoming founder members of the Spanish professional league in 1928. The 1930s brought a taste of how tough life could be in the top flight as Atleti were relegated in 1930 and then again in 1934 after a brief return to la Primera. A third descent was postponed in 1936 due to the outbreak of the Civil War.

A union with the Aviacón Nacional military club of Zaragoza came in 1939 and they played under the name Athletic Aviación de Madrid to win promotion a year later to the first division. At the start of the '40s a decree by Franco that the use of foreign names was forbidden forced the club to switch to Atlético. The military link was droppedin 1947 and Club Atlético de Madrid was born. The following decade saw the side enjoy their first taste of major silverware as Helenio Herrera guided Atleti to the 1950 and '51 first division titles. The club entered the European Cup in 1958, after finishing as runners-up in the league, with Real Madrid automatically qualifying as holders, but their cross-city rivals would prevent them from making an historic appearance in the final as they beat Atleti in the semis.

Revenge came quickly as el Real were beaten in the 1960 and '61 Copa del Generalísimo (now Copa del Rey) and in '62 Fiorentina were defeated as the Spaniards won the European Cup Winners' Cup. A year later they reached the final again but were hammerd 5-1 by a Jimmy Greaves-iinspired Tottenham Hotspur side in Rotterdam. Claims to be the country's second biggest club, instead of Barça, grew when Atlético won the 1966, '70, '73 and '77 titles in an era dominated by Real Madrid.

The team also finished as runners-up on three occasions and won the Cup again in '65, '75 and '76. Their most famous game, to date, came in 1974 when Atlético reached the European Cup final and took a domineering Bayern Munich side to a replay, which the Germans won. Bayern then refused to participate in the Intercontinental Cup and Atlético won the event after beating Argentinian outfit Independiente over two legs.

During one of his four spells as coach of the team, former player Luis Aragonés guided Atleti to the title and cup double in 1985 with Hugo Sánchez scoring the goals before leaving for el Real. Two years later, arguably, the club's most famous figure in its history took power as Jésus Gil was named as president. Under the mercurial supremo, who was also the mayor of Marbella, the club won two cups before charging to the double once more in 1996.

Despite that success though catasrophe struck at the end of the 1999-2000 campaign when Atleti were relegated. It took three years to bounce back from where Gil described as 'Hell' and the club have not looked back. Gil passed away in 2004, but the battle for silverware has proved fruitless in recent seasons despite an incredible number of coaches and players coming and going.

In the summer of 2006, Mexican coach Javier Aguirre was appointed as coach and another new era was promised, but he eventually departed due to poor results following a promising start, with star striker Fernando Torres also leaving to join Liverpool.

As usual, coaches kept on coming and going. Quique Sanchez Flores looked like he may be around for a while after leading the side to the Europa League and Uefa Super Cup win over Inter - as well as Copa del Rey final which they lost to Sevilla. But there was more disappointment the next season and Sanchez Flores was followed out of the club by star striker Sergio Aguero, who left to join Manchester City.
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