Atletico Madrid has had some ups and downs throughout the club’s history which started back in 1903. Today, however, we want to focus on those good moments. For fans of Atletico Madrid, here are the five best moments that we’ve seen, in no particular order.
Super Cup Victory
Atletico Madrid has won the UEFA Super Cup a handful of times, including defeating Inter Milan in 2010 and Chelsea in 2012. The winners of the Champions League and Europa League get to play each other every year in the Super Cup, so it’s rare to have two teams from the same league face off in the finals, especially archrivals. That’s what happened in 2018, however, as Atletico Madrid faced off against Real Madrid.
Real Madrid had won three of the previous four Super Cups, but Atletico came to play on that August evening. Diego Costa scored in the match’s first minute, but Karim Benzema knotted things up in the 27th. After Real Madrid took a lead in the 63rd minute, Costa scored his second to force extra time. Saul put Atletico ahead in the 98th minute, and Koke capped things off with his lone goal, giving Atletico the 4-2 Super Cup victory.
Surprisingly, throughout the history of Atletico Madrid, the club has never won the UEFA Champions League. That doesn’t mean that they haven’t come close, however. There have been multiple appearances in the final, with Atletico making some impressive runs to the championship match. The best of those runs came during the 2015-16 edition of the Champions League.
Atletico Madrid easily advanced through the group stage, but things became tougher during the knockout rounds. After two scoreless legs, the club advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating PSV Eindhoven in penalty kicks. They then knocked out rival Barcelona, setting up a memorable semifinal against Bayern Munich. After winning the first leg 1-0, Atletico needed a win, draw, or a loss by one goal at most. The latter ended up being the result, with the defense holding strong in the final 15 minutes to send Atletico to the final.
The Best in Europe
While it isn’t around anymore, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup was once a big deal after it was introduced in 1960, and was played through the rest of the 20th century. The event started out as a knockout tournament with a preliminary round, which Atletico Madrid was a part of. They defeated Sedan 7-3, then defeated Leicester City 3-1 thanks to a 2-0 victory in the second leg. German teams Werder Bremen and Carl Zeiss Jena proved to be no match in the quarters and semis, allowing Atletico to advance to the final to take on Fiorentina.
Joaquin Peiro scored in the 11th minute for Atletico in the final while Kurre Hamrin scored in the 27th minute for Fiorentina. Neither team scored the rest of the way, setting up a replay four months later. This time around, Atletico outmatched Fiorentina in a big way. Miguel Jones, Mendonca, and Peiro all scored for Atletico, giving the club a 3-0 victory in front of 38,000 people in Stuttgart.
Ending the La Liga Drought
Atletico Madrid had no problem winning the La Liga title throughout much of the 1970s, but things would change after they won the title in 1977. For nearly 20 years, Atletico attempted to get to the top, only to be shot down with each attempt as they had a long list of top-three finishes, but no championship. The tides would turn in the 1995-96 season as Barcelona and Real Madrid took big steps back while Atletico took a big step forward.
Heading into the final month of the season, Atletico Madrid and Valencia were locked into a battle at the top. After losing to Valencia on April 26, Atletico needed to turn it on, winning three of their last four matches while drawing against CD Tenerife. That draw ended up clinching the La Liga title for Atletico, with Cesar Gomez scoring in the 88th minute to end a nearly 20-year drought.
Ending the Second Drought
The La Liga title drought between 1977 and 1996 wasn’t the only one that Atletico Madrid has had. The club was relegated just a few years after winning La Liga, and it took a long time to bounce back to the top of the first division. After years of slowly finishing with a better spot in the table, the rebuild culminated with a title in the 2013-14 season.
In the final match of the season, Atletico faced off against Barcelona. Because of the goal differential, a win for Barcelona would have won them La Liga. They jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a 33rd-minute goal by Alexis. However, Diego Godin answered back in the 49th minute, drawing the game 1-1, which was enough for Atletico to finish the season on top.