Five Facts - Atlético Madrid
We knew the 2019 MLS All-Star Game was coming to Orlando, but now we officially have an opponent for the MLS All-Stars to face on July 31st. La Liga giants Atlético Madrid will be taking the pitch at Orlando City Stadium to battle the best of Major League Soccer. Here are some quick facts on the Spanish side:
Atlético Madrid have a storied history. The club was founded in 1903 as Athletic Club Sucursal de Madrid. Today, the official club name is Club Atlético de Madrid but they are commonly referred to as Atlético Madrid or Atléti. Nicknames for the 2019 MLS All-Star opponents include Los Colchoneros ("The Mattress-makers," an old reference to their red-and-white striped kits) or Los Rojiblancos (The Red and Whites based off of their famous vertical red and white striped look).
European Heavy Weights
Atléti are no strangers to the biggest stages in Europe. Los Rojiblancos have won the UEFA Europa League in 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2017-18 and finished Runners-up in the UEFA Champions League in 2013-14 and 2015-16. Domestically, Atléti famously claimed the La Liga title in 2013-14 (after an almost 20-year drought) and finished Runners-up in 2017-18.
?2018-19 La Liga Runners-Up
Atlético Madrid currently sit second in La Liga behind Barcelona who have already claimed the La Liga Championship and look like a sure bet to be Runners-Up with three games left to play. They have ensured qualification for the 2019-20 Champions League.
Heavy 2018 FIFA World Cup Presence
Atlético had heavy representation in Russia last summer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Spanish side had nine players represent five different countries, seven of those players are still with the Madrid side. Diego Godín and José Giménez headlined Uruguay's back line. Koke, Diego Costa and Saúl Níguez all made the Spanish roster while Filipe Luis joined Brazil. And of course, Antoine Griezmann helped lead France to claiming the World Cup.
Atléti is a team full of stars but there are several that shine brighter than the others. You can't talk Atlético Madrid without mentioning the man in charge, Diego Simeone. Simeone (nicknamed El Cholo) has been at the helm of Atléti since 2011 and is famous for his clean suited look and fiery personality when he patrols the technical box. His passion and love for the club is easily explained by the fact he appeared in over 100 appearances for the club when he was a player and over 400 games in charge as Manager.
Moving onto the pitch, Atléti have one of the world's best keepers in Jan Oblak. Between La Liga and Champions League play in 2018-19 the Atléti keeper has 24 clean sheets in 43 appearances. Farther up the pitch, Atléti are known for fielding some of the best forwards the world has had to offer over the last decade. Names like Diego Forlan, Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao, Sergio Aguero, David Villa and Mario Mandzukic have all worn the red and white striped kit of Atlético Madrid. Now, Atléti boast a front line headlined by Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata. Not bad, not bad at all.
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