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Atletico Madrid fans offered chance to take piece of Vicente Calderon history with them

Posted: 2 October 2017 Time: 15:34

The Vicente Calderon means a lot to the people of Atletico Madrid, so much so that many of the club's supporters will be given seats before the stadium gets demolished.

Atletico have recently moved to Wanda Metropolitano, a new home which supporters are still getting used to. The club spent 50 years playing at the Calderon, from 1966 to 2016, and created memories that will live on forever with the die-hards.

A legend of the club, Milinko Pantic Smiljanic, says the move to the new stadium is good for the club, as they look to further grow their brand in La Liga and around the world.

Known as a set piece specialist, Smiljanic sat on the bench during a stadium tour of the Wanda Metropolitano on Friday and admired that stadium which seats close to 68,000 fans.

“Football is business and Atletico need to grow. Atletico has very good support, the best in the world. The Calderon was a very good stadium, but it was only for 55 000 supporters and it was very old,” said Smiljanic, who played with current Atletico coach Diego Simeone during their playing days.

“Now this one is new and Atletico needed this. For me and for all the people who played there [at the Calderon] it’s very difficult. I played 159 games there, so it’s very hard. But I know and understand we need to change.”

The stadium was initially known as the Estadio Olimpico de Madrid (Madrid Olympic Stadium), but after they were defeated in their bid to host the 2016 Olympics, Atletico reached a deal with the municipality to make use of the stadium. They started using it this season and the first competitive fixture was against Malaga in a La Liga match.

Frenchman Antoine Griezmann scored the only goal of the game as Atletico got off to a winning start at their new venue. It hosted its first Uefa Champions League game last week, but Atletico were beaten 2-1 by English Premier League champions Chelsea.

The club is hoping that they will create even more memories than the ones they did at the Vicente Calderon.

Article by: Tshepang Mailwane
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