Far, far, far away. There is a big city, the capital of the kingdom that counts with two of the most successful clubs in those lands and some abroad. The big brother wears immaculate white, the younger one wears red and white stripes. One loves to eat ‘Merengues’ and the other loves to sleep in ‘Colchoneros’. Yes, we are talking about Derbi Madrileño between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid.
The city is split into two parts, being Real Madrid the most powerful and Atlético the bravest one. We all know about the two Champions League finals that both teams faced, being Real Madrid victorious twice. This is the scenario which involves the city of Madrid. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Wanda Metropolitano are the colosseums for ‘vikingos’ and ‘indios’. Real and Atlético, so close and so far at the same time.
Atlético de Madrid was founded in 1903 and, normally, what people don’t know is its origin. Due a cup final played in the capital between Athletic Club from Bilbao against Madrid Foot-Ball Club, the Basque performance shocked the young students as it happened the same in Bilbao. Then, they decided to found Athletic Club Madrid’s Branch, adopting the colours of their Northern friend, the blue and white, just like Blackburn Rovers. Yes, both teams weren’t playing with red and white stripes in their beginnings.
Currently playing at Wanda Metropolitano, we football lovers will never forget the eternal Vicente Calderón, the spiritual home of Atleti. A large list of great players have defended Atleti’s colours, winning 10 league titles, 10 Spanish Cups, 3 UEFA Cups and one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. But the most awesome achievement was the Intercontinental Cup won in 1974 without having won the European Cup, losing against Bayern München.
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol was founded in 1900, the Blancos are the most successful team in Europe and, probably, in the world. With an infinite worldwide fan base, Real was the first team to win the European Cup and five in a row with Alfredo Di Stefano leading the vikingos. ‘Los Blancos’ have won 13 Champions League, 33 Ligas and 19 Spanish Cups, with several Supercups and 3 World Club Cups. In addition, Real Madrid was awarded as the Best Football Team in the 20th Century, among with Club Atlético Peñarol from Uruguay in South America.
The best players of the history have played for Real Madrid, especially remembered the ‘Galácticos’ era when Figo, Ronaldo, Zidane, Beckham, Raúl, Owen, Roberto Carlos and Casillas were on the pitch. Bernabéu is an impressive stadium, it creates a unique atmosphere to the rivals and it’s considered 5-star venue by FIFA. A World Cup Final (1982), a Champions League Final (2010) and Copa Libertadores Final (2018) have taken place in that stadium.
In supporting issue, Atlético fans are one of the most passionate in Europe. The old Calderón exploited everytime the ‘colchoneros’ played an important game, with massive tifos and eternal songs. Despite the 2001 relegation to the Segunda División, the fan base increased more than 65% the next season, is the perfect example of fan club loyalty.
On another side, Real Madrid is the most popular club in Spain, as the ‘merengues’ legend, Juanito said once: 90 minutes at the Bernabéu are too much’ for the rivals. Agonic coming backs a large victory tradition and fans all around the world create a unique atmosphere in the world of football. You can join us on our next Derbi Madrileno trip and experience some of the biggest derbies in the world.
Sometimes a single article just isn’t enough. On occasion, you need a whole series to experience the football cultures, the good the bad and the pioneering in football. That’s why we started our Original Series. From exploring the greatest derbies and cultural hotspots in the world of football to the local stories. Natxo will bring you some of the greatest stories to inspire you to explore football cultures around the world.
By Natxo Togu (@GroundhopperBarcelona)