End of an era as Torres closes Calderon but Atletico fans don't want to leave

Fernando Torres Giezmann Atletico Madrid
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The former Spain striker scored twice for the Rojiblancos on an emotional afternoon in the club's final fixture at their stadium before a summer move


The collective sadness was all apparent. Eyes welled up when Fernando Torres was withdrawn amid a standing ovation, more tears followed as Tiago bade a fond farewell to the Atletico Madrid fans and there was much melancholy as those same supporters said goodbye to the Vicente Calderon.

T orres at the double in last game at the Calderon

The route to the stadium passes by Paseo de los Melancolicos (Promenade of the Melancholic) and before the match, Atletico fans raised a banner which read "Paseo de los Melacolicos, Manzanares (the river right behind the stadium), how we love you."

Vincente Calderon Atletico Madrid

Last game at Vicente Calderon Atletico Madrid Athletic Bilbao LaLiga 21052017

These fans never wanted to move. This stadium and this neighbourhood are part of their identity and it is the board that decided to sell up and move out of town to the new Wanda Metropolitano ground, which will be bigger and more modern, but not really in keeping with the working-class traditions of this club.

That stadium is close to the airport and will move these fans away from their heartland. But there was still time for one last goodbye on Sunday and it was perhaps fitting that the club's biggest modern-day idol, Torres, should score twice to set Atleti on their way to a final victory here.

Luis Aragones had scored the first goal for Atleti at the Calderon back in October 1966 (against Valencia) and, over 50 years on, Torres' two goals brought the house down in a party atmosphere with Athletic Club as special guests.

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Torres should have had a hat-trick, but departed to an ovation later on and it was Angel Correa who ended up being the final scorer for Atletico at the Calderon, the Argentine making it 3-1 after Inaki Williams had pulled one back for the visitors.

After the game had finished, Tiago was given a rousing send-off by fans and thrown in the air by his team-mates, before Atletico's female team were welcomed on to the pitch by a guard of honour in recognition of their Spanish league title triumph this week.

A video followed on the big screen running through the history of the Calderon and the club's greatest glories, including the double win in 1995-96 and the more recent successes under Diego Simeone. " Ole, ole, ole , Cholo Simeone," the supporters sang.

Diego Simeone Atletico Madrid

Fernando Torres Atletico Madrid Athletic Bilbao LaLiga 21052017

Atletico greats past and present were also introduced to huge cheers as the team's trophies were laid out on the pitch amid applause and plenty of emotion in the stands as everyone stayed for an hour after the end to see off this special stadium (which will also host the final of the Copa del Rey between Barcelona and Alaves next weekend).

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The supporters soaked up every moment and kept singing right until the end. They will be present at the new stadium too, but there were boos and whistles when the Wanda Metropolitano was mentioned in the video and the idea will take some getting used to.

For now, though, it was a spectacular send-off for a very special stadium and one which will remain in the hearts of these fans for a long time to come. They still don't want to leave and many are angry that the club are moving against their wishes, but a new era is about to start and, no matter what happens in the future, they will always have unforgettable memories of their old home.