Discovering Madrid’s footballing side on foot or by bus
The Metropolitano Stadium, Santiago Bernabeu, or the old Vicente Calderón are the clearest examples that unite the Spanish capital together with the king of sports. However, there are other, more hidden examples in the capital.
There is a place in Madrid, a unique place where Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid, the city’s historic rival clubs, are side by side, practically glued together. It is located in the middle of the Carabanchel neighborhood, where a corner, a simple corner, is used as the meeting point of two streets, one of Real Madrid, and the other of Atlético de Madrid, where they even share the same apartment block. It may be the most interesting, but it is by no means the only example of footballing mythos that we find in the city that will play host to the final of the UEFA Champions League 2019.
Starting this season and for the next three years, Banco Santander is the official sponsor of the most prestigious club football competition in the world. With this partnership, the company strengthens its ties with the king of sports after years of supporting the biggest football competitions in Latin America, like CONMEBOL Libertadores and the Liga Santander in Spain. For Ana Botín, its president, through this agreement “we continue supporting the sport because it is one more way of contributing the prosper of communities in which we operate.”
For this reason, it will become the main host for followers of the sport who come to the Spanish capital over the coming days with the motto: “Citizens of the football: Welcome Home.” In order to do so it has organized an important number of activities, among which include a Bus for Football-Lover’s that will tour some of the most emblematic places in Madrid like the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, the Vicente Calderón, Cibeles, and Neptuno, all names associated with the king of sports.
Santander Walking Tours will also be offered, free guided tours on foot with the goal of getting to know some of the places most steeped in football legend. These tours offered by Santander for an occasion as special as the UEFA Champions League Final will be run by the Ambassadors, who will work throughout the event in order to ensure an unforgettable stay for visitors.
The city of Madrid boasts, with all due respect to others, one of the best transportation systems in the world, including the network of subways, which are the crown jewel of the system. We can find examples of the football world within this intricate system of transportation. For many years, the subway station that leads to the domain of Real Madrid has been called Santiago Bernabeu in memory of the legendary president of Real Madrid who lends his name to the club’s temple.
Right next to the “White” Stadium, more precisely in the Plaza de los Sagrados Corazones, is the location of one of Banco Santander’s “Work Cafés”. These collaborative spaces where one can find in a single place a bank, coworking space, and cafe will become a genuine example of information points for followers coming to Madrid. The other two establishments that will be open throughout the weekend are located at 31 Velazquez Street, and at Valdebebas, Real Madrid’s sports complex to the north of the capital.
Avenida Luís Aragonés, the home of the Wanda Metropolitano
One of the fastest ways to get to the Metropolitano Stadium, the brand new stadium of Atlético de Madrid which will play host to the great final of the UEFA Champions League 2019, is by the Metropolitano subway station, which was opened together at the inauguration of the state-of-the-art domain of the “club rojiblanco” (the club of red and white). The exact address of the stadium can be found at Avenida Luis Aragonés 4, probably the most mythical name in the history of Atlético de Madrid, both for his history as a football player and his successful time spent on the club of the “colchoneros” (followers of Atlético de Madrid).
With the nickname “Zapatones de Hortaleza” (The Big Shoes of Hortaleza”) the neighborhood located in the north of the capital pays double tribute to one of its most distinguished residents. The neighborhood’s municipal sports centre is called Luis Aragonés and we can find it on Mar Cantábrico street, where he was born and lived, a monolith to the memory of the man who was coach of the Spanish national team, and who passed away in February of 2014.
Atlético de Madrid recently celebrated its 116th birthday, one year less than its main rivals in the capital. Since last year, a commemorative plaque pays memory to the foundation of the “club rojiblanco” right at the place where it was created in 1903, at number 21 Calle de la Cruz, in the centre of the city. Founded by a group of young students from Bilbao, during its first decades it was known as Athletic Club of Madrid until 1947, when it became officially referred to as Club Atlético de Madrid, previously known as Athletic Aviación Club and the legendary Atlético Aviación.
Bernabeu Stadium, one of the most visited places in Madrid
The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is today one of the most visited places in the city of Madrid. Tourists visit this “white domain” in droves to immortalize themselves in one of the most legendary stadiums in the world of football which accounts for more than 13 European Cups, turning Real Madrid into the most successful club in the world. The Metropolitano Stadium, which turns two years old next September, is already beginning to create a spot for itself in this particular football tour that is bringing more and more tourists.
In any case, it’s worth it to stroll around the places in Madrid where, in another era, games were played between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid. The Santiago Bernabeu was built in 1947 on a piece of land next to the old Chamartín Stadium, with a capacity for 15,000 spectators, where the “white club” played its games beginning in 1924. Back then, Chamartín de la Rosa, as it was known, was in fact an independent municipality apart from the capital, and not the central modern neighbourhood as it is today.
On the other hand, the “rojiblancos” cannot forget the old home of Atlético de Madrid. Despite having started the process of demolishing the Stadium Vicente Calderón, the immense structure built in 1966 still dominates the shores of the Manzanares river that crosses through the capital. However, before the Calderón, the “rojiblanco heart” beat in the grandstands of the Metropolitano Stadium (hence the current name of the “home of the rojiblancos”). Built in 1923 on land of what now makes up the Metro de Madrid, it took up an immense plot, currently located at the Plaza de la Ciudad de Viena, in the west of the capital, near the Ciudad Universitaria. Because of its location, practically at the front of the Civil War, it was completely destroyed during the war and was not rebuilt until 1943.
To show just how other-worldly this was, during the construction of the Santiago Bernabeu in 1946 and 1947, Real Madrid played its games at the Metropolitano Stadium, something which would be unheard of today.
A street for José María Castell
On Madrid’s street plan there is not any reference to José María Castell, despite there could be a really important one. He was the architect responsible for building the Metropolitano, an astonishing work of engineering capable of seating 38,500 spectators, and just a few months later, he would be charged with drafting the plans from which the old Chamartín stadium was built. His relationship with Real Madrid dates back a long time, as he was one of the white club’s most important players in the second decade of the 20th Century, becoming the captain of the first team in 1914 at just 18 years old. When he passed away in the first years of the 1980s, José María Castell had the number one card at Real Madrid.