Gracing the International Champions Cup stage for a third time, Atlético de Madrid will be one of the favourites for this year’s tournament.
Boasting a hugely respected coach in Diego Simeone and a talent-rich squad featuring world-class stars such as Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa and Jan Oblak, Atleti will look to make a big impression this summer when they face rivals Real Madrid in the first El Derbi Madrileño to take place outside of Europe, as well as Juventus and Chivas de Guadalajara.
And, as we eagerly anticipate Atlético’s arrival at the 2019 International Champions Cup, we delve into the club’s trivia to reveal five things you didn’t know about the LaLiga side.
LaLiga’s longest-serving coach
Diego Simeone is the longest-serving coach currently working in LaLiga. Having been appointed in December 2011, he is also Atlético’s longest-serving boss in a single stint.
Although Luis Aragonés (who is also the club’s all-time leading scorer) presided over the team for 15 years, the legendary Spaniard’s time was split over four spells between 1974 and 2003.
At the time of writing, Simeone has taken charge of 428 games, with 263 wins giving him a win percentage of 61.45.
Team of the working class
Atlético share an intense rivalry with Real Madrid. It is, in many ways, the most fascinating aspect of the club.
Traditionally, Real represent the middle class of Madrid, with the Santiago Bernabéu situated in the northern district of Chamartin.
Atleti, on the other hand, have a stronger association with the working class, hailing from the south side of the city.
Atlético have a hugely diverse fanbase that extends far beyond Spain, including some A-list celebrities.
Actors Will Smith and Javier Bardem are among those who cheer on the Rojiblancos, while King Felipe VI of Spain, too, is a fan. The monarch became Atleti’s Honorary President in 2003.
Griezmann aiming high
Despite only signing in 2014, star man Antoine Griezmann is already fifth in the club’s all-time leading scorer chart.
The Frenchman recently scored his 130th in the famous red and white stripes, taking him above club legend Fernando Torres and within sight of José Eulogio Gárate.
Griezmann, a FIFA World Cup winner with France in 2018 and Atleti’s top scorer in each of the last four seasons, has Aragonés’ record of 172 strikes for the club in his sights.
Given that he is still only 28, it is certainly not beyond his reach.
What's in a nickname?
Atleti have arguably two of the most interesting nicknames of any European club. They are primarily known as Los Colchoneros ‘the mattress-makers’. This is due to the fact their red-and-white striped kit resembles a traditional mattress.
They also have a less common moniker, Los Indios or ‘the Indians’. The genesis of this nickname is disputed, however.
One theory claims Atleti earned it due to a trend of signing a lot of South American players – a trend they have proudly continued to this day – while another says it’s because their original home, the Vicente Calderón, was on the banks of the Manzanares river.