El Centrocampista

CONFUSION AT THE CALDERÓN – Banners and abuse at post-Kun Atletí

By Patrick Fletcher

On Thursday evening I made my way to the Estadio Vicente Calderón ahead of Atlético’s de Madrid’s Europa league match against Stromsgodset.

After a fluctuating past few seasons and a turbulent summer, this one visit was enough to perfectly capture the mood currently surrounding the club.

Although the stadium wasn’t full to capacity, the attendance surpassed expectations for a third round Europa League qualifying tie played in the height of summer, when many madrileños abandon the capital due to the intense heat.

Their support however, was channelled almost exclusively into negative energy.

The club’s notorious ultras, the frente Atlético were the worst offenders stationed behind the goal.

Banner after banner were produced, each one carrying an aggressive message and accompanied by an equally aggressive chant showing how the flavour of the week here is bitterness.

Atletí fans wish Sergio Aguerro good luck at his new club.

As expected, recent departure Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero was the object of the majority of the abuse.

“¡Aguero, muérete!” (die, Aguero!) rang out before too long, perhaps the bluntest sentiment of the night.

No need to read any further into that one.

Then came the infamous banner from Thusday, reading, ‘Aguero y Giannina, la putas mas caras de Argntina’ (Aguero and Giannina, Argentina’s most expensive whores’).

After targeting Aguero’s wife, they soon moved onto his son Benjamin, suggesting that his father is Higuaín.

Aguero’s time at the Vicente Calderón, in which he lit up the stadium with his breathtaking talent, has been swiftly wiped from the memory of Atlético fans.

Now he is the object of deeply impassioned and embittered anger.

Good job he is 900 miles away.

Another target of the night was David De Gea, whose immense talent and prospects made a move away from Atlético almost inevitable.

Still though, the frente produced a banner saying, ‘De Gea, nunca serás uno de los nuestros’ (De Gea, you will never be one of us).

What was interesting though was that the banner, along with a song labelling the goalkeeper a mercenary, were greeted with jeers from some sections of the crowd who were outraged at such disrespect.

And so it became clear that as well as bitter and angry, the Atléti fans are also divided.

One matter everyone could agree on however was the issue of money and, more precisely, its whereabouts.

With 70 million euros hauled in from the sales of De Gea and Aguero, the fans are bemused that it has not yet been reinvested.

The frente held aloft the banner, ‘¿donde están los 70 millones?’ (where is the 70 million?) and the whole crowd joined in with a rendition of “¿donde están los millones, los millones donde están?”

In the same way that I have just realised I have not once mentioned the actual game of football, the Atlético fans were distracted by other issues, which saw them singing through vital parts of the game.

Although they witnessed two great goals, and a fairly abject performance, they weren’t there entirely for the football but rather to make a statement.

It was a confused statement, a whirlwind of negativity, anger and bitterness.

It was resentment to do with past events, and with De Gea and Aguero now far away, you can’t help but wonder how productive these chants are.

The fans’ anger is understandable, and perhaps they just needed a night to get their frustration out of their system.

I hope this is the case and I’m sure it is in the interests of all those involved with the club that this passes before it all starts to boil over.


  1. Adam Brown

    1 August, 2011 at 20:18

    If I hadn’t been watching football for so long, and Spanish football in particular, I might suggest the €70m had gone some way to repaying Atleti’s massive debts….but we all know that isn’t going to be the case!

  2. paddyfletch

    2 August, 2011 at 22:54

    No that would be far too sensible!

  3. Pingback: Writing for elcentrocampista.com « paddyfletch

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