Football trip to Atlético Madrid: The new Wanda Metropolitano!

Your football trip to Atlético Madrid was recently changed, just a bit. On Saturday, September the 16th specifically, which happens to be the day Atlético Madrid played their first match ever in their new stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano. It was off on a flying start, too: Atleti beat Málaga 1-0, after a strike by Antione Griezmann. In this special we will focus on the history of Atlético Madrid’s new stadium.

1. Athletics World Championship 1997
Wanda Metroplitano is popularly better known as Estadio La Peineta (the Comb), because of its characteristic roof. Contrary to what you might expect, construction actually started in 1990, as an attempt by the Spanish government to bring the Athletics World Championship of 1997 to Madrid. To no avail, however, and too bad for the city of Madrid: the 1997 World Championship in Athletics was granted to Athens.

2. In the meantime
In the years that followed, La Peineta was only sporadically used. In 1996, two matches for the Supercopa de España were played in the stadium. Atlético Madrid beat FC Barcelona 3-1. But, because FC Barcelona had already won 5-2 under their own roof earlier, the Super Cup did not stay in Madrid. In 2009, La Peineta also served as the main stadium for the IAAF Continental Cup.

3. The Olympics 2016
After having been idle for years, in 2004 it was decided to close the stadium all together. But the city of Madrid had set its sights on the 2016 Olympics. And again, La Peineta was to play a role. But in 2009 the Games went to Rio de Janeiro. Attempt number two failed.

4. Economic crisis in Spain
In 2008 people still believed in a ‘Spanish miracle’. A new plan for La Peineta was devised and Atlético Madrid was to become its primary occupant. By moving out from the Vincente Calderón, Atleti was able to sell the land underneath their old stadium to pay for the renovations of La Peineta. But this wasn’t to be. The economic crisis ground all construction to a halt. To this day the scars of the crisis are visible all over Spain, in the form countless unfinished buildings, such as the planned new stadium for Valencia as just one example.

5. Wanda’s helping hand
Despite that the plans for La Peineta did not become a reality for quite some time, Atlético Madrid never lost its wish for a new stadium. Vicente Calderón was quite literally stuck between a river and a motorway, which made growth in any direction practically impossible. But, with the help of a Chinese sponsor, Wanda, the new stadium was realized after all. The construction happened simultaneously with some positive developments in the Spanish economy and recent successes of the club itself. In the end, Atlético Madrid paid 170 million and the remaining 311 million were covered by the sale of the land underneath the old Vicente Calderón. A happy end!

Arrange your football trip to Atlético Madrid including flight, hotel and ticket, and experience the new Wanda Metropolitano for yourself.