Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid’s rivalry was always special, but now is better than ever

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While Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are the most popular teams in Spain, their rivalry has always been one of the best on an international level. Since both clubs have roots in part of Galicia and share a similar culture, this is a heated match-up for many reasons throughout history.

The “real madrid vs atletico madrid results” is a rivalry that has been present for a long time. The two teams have always had a special relationship, but now it’s even better than ever.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid's rivalry was always special, but now is better than ever

10th of December, 2021

  • In-Atletico-and-Real-Madrids-unforgettable-La-Liga-title-fight

    Sid Lowe is a writer from Spain.

“Wanted: A Deserving Rival for a Good Derby.” That’s correct, they got it. Real Madrid’s supporters were becoming tired, or so they said, in November 2011, more than a decade into their long, long reign of domination. They said they wished Atletico Madrid would play them once in a while since it wasn’t much fun when there wasn’t much of a contest. As a result, they created a faux classified ad that they displayed outside the Santiago Bernabeu stadium’s south end, “appealing” for their opponents to be a somewhat less worthless football club. To put it another way, I’m laughing at them. After all, it was so simple.

Be cautious about what you desire for.

– Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid, 12/12, 2:30 p.m. ET, live stream

The Madrid derby has always been exceptional, even when it wasn’t that spectacular for a spell because it was just too predictable. There are plenty of wonderful tales, as well as a slew of oddities dating back to their first meeting in 1903, the first of 227 bouts between them, and a slew of personalities.

One old teammate dubbed Santiago Bernabeu, the guy who was Real Madrid but played for Atletico for a few months in 1920-21, “treason.” Jesus Gil, the president and owner of Atlético Madrid, was known for threatening his players with not being paid if they didn’t knock Madrid out of the Copa del Rey in 1994 — and then following through on that threat. Helenio Herrera, the man who twice led Atletico to the championship, continues to accuse Real of playing with a 12-man squad.


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It evolved into a true brawl — “Ramos kicks me, I kick him,” Atletico striker Diego Costa once shouted of Real’s Sergio Ramos, while Atletico coach German Burgos reportedly threatened Real’s Jose Mourinho, “I’ll take your head off.” Even though they recently met in the Champions League final, they will meet each other eight times in the 2014-15 season.

No city has ever had two teams in the European Cup final, and no rivals have ever met on the biggest platform of all. Madrid accomplished it, and two years later, they did it again, with 70,000 people traveling down the A5 to Lisbon and then flying to Milan.

It wasn’t meant to be like this, partly because Atletico weren’t supposed to be like this. They liked the concept of being a loser for some reason. They turned misery into a sport. Even in times of triumph, they continue to do so. All that rhetoric of being jinxed had a purpose; it was occasionally used as an explanation for failure, for all those false dawns, and it became a tough to break barricade.


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“Party like it’s 1999” on May 18, 2013.

“This is historic,” remarked Juanfran, an Atletico full-back who had gone through Real Madrid’s development system and understood what he was talking about. The change had arrived. The revolution, the arrival, and the interment of the ghost (one publication afterwards mocked Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone as Che Guevara). There will be no more fatalism or failure.

Atletico Madrid defeated Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final at the Santiago Bernabeu… and won. Madrid had struck the crossbar three times, and Thibaut Courtois (now of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid) had made two outstanding saves. Then, deep into extra time, Joao Miranda scored the game-winning goal. The aim said, “We’re coming for you, and we’re coming for you for real this time.” It was for this objective that it was all worth it.

“If you had offered the supporters a deal that we wouldn’t win against them for 14 years, but if we did, it would be in the Cup final at their stadium, with them scoring first, hitting the post three times, and us prevailing in extra time,” Simeone stated later. “There will be a few more Atlético fans tomorrow. I ask that they all put on their shirts. Tomorrow is going to be a memorable day.”

It was the first day of the rest of their lives, not just any day. Atlético hadn’t defeated Real in a century, much alone millennia. They hadn’t won since 1999, and they finished last that year. It had been 25 games since the team had won a game. They had dropped ten games in a row. Now, all of a sudden, they were at the Bernabeu, celebrating the start of something. They became league winners a year later.



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“92 minutes and 48 seconds” on May 24, 2014.

That’s the end of the revolution. Atletico Madrid were league winners, and they were 1-0 up in the first-ever final between two clubs from the same city — except that this is Real Madrid, and they were favourites to win the Champions League. For the first time in 40 years, they have reached a European final. The clock was going down, and we were getting near to injury time. To the ultimate derby win, to avenge 1974, and to the end of life.

Which just added to the pain when it occurred. A Luka Modric corner, a Sergio Ramos header, and the rest is history.

Ramos has a tattoo on his forearm that reads 92:48, the exact time he crushed their hearts. “Neither we nor them forget,” he remarked. Real’s decima (10th European championship) is a disaster for Atletico. It couldn’t have been much worse for Atletico, nor could it have been any more joyful for Real. Except that it was two years later. “If I had to script a screenplay, I’d do it that way,” Ramos said. “I’d do it all over again, precisely the same way.”

10th of May, 2017: Goodbye

On the last-ever European night at the old Vicente Calderon stadium, a large banner over the stand read, “Proud not to be like you.” And it was finally stated here. Both teams have contributed. Atlético had lost 3-0 in the first leg of the semifinal at the Bernabeu, but surged into Real Madrid in the opening minutes of the second leg, going 2-0 up and sending the Bernabeu into raptures, the dream of a historic comeback suddenly seeming to be on. But then Modric took over and Karim Benzema performed a feat of sorcery to put a stop to it. Atletico Madrid triumphed 2-1, but they were eliminated.

It was the fourth time Atletico and Real had faced each other in Europe — final, quarterfinal, final, semifinal — and each time Real had advanced. It was over once more. Simeone had hinted after Milan that he would walk away because he was so wounded, but he persisted. And this was unique. Because even though the game was done, the night was far from ended, with everyone clinging to one final chance. Thunder and lightning erupted, but no one moved, and everyone continued to sing. They cheered in the Madrid section of the south stand, where they would win the second of three European Cups, and they sang everywhere else, too, celebrating a derby triumph that was also a derby failure, identities embraced.

“Those 20-25 minutes will go down in the club’s history and atmosphere. This was a wonderful Calderón night that would live on in people’s minds for the rest of their lives “After that, Simeone remarked. “I’m pleased of myself since we competed again again. And it makes me cry every day because of it.”

They hadn’t for much too long.

They’ll do it again on Sunday night, as will Real. Atletico Madrid takes against Real Madrid, who is managed by Carlo Ancelotti. Reunited with old friends. Ancelotti has gone away and returned — in the meanwhile, Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, Julen Lopetegui, Santi Solari, and Zinedine Zidane have all managed Madrid — yet he is still in charge. They’ve played in 13 derbies, the largest of which is the pinnacle of what has evolved into a true rivalry: Atletico has won as many leagues as Real in the previous eight years, and they’ve finished ahead of them in three of the last four seasons, but they currently behind them.

They meet as reigning league champions and current league leaders on Sunday. Competitors worthy of a good derby.

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