Sunday, August 21, 2016

Atletico Madrid All-Time Team

Europa Cup 2012
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Atletico Madrid is the third best team in Spain after Real Madrid and Barcelona. They were runner-ups at the European Cup three times, won a singe Cup Winners' Cup and two Europa League.  In 1995-1996, they also won the Double(La Liga and Copa del Rey).

GK: Abel Resino (Spain)
Nicknamed the "Cat".  He came to Atletico Madrid in 1986 from from lowly CD Ciempozuelos.  He won back-to-back ops del rey in 1991 and 1992.  He won the Zamora Trophy in 1990-1991 season. He earned two caps.

GK: Jose Molina (Spain)
Joined Atletico Madrid in 1995, he helped the club win a Double (league and Copa del Rey) in his first year, going on to miss only two league matches in four seasons combined.  However, after Atletico Madrid relegated after the 1999-2000 season, he moved to Deportivo La Coruna and lasted until 2006.  He played one season with Levante.  He made his national team debut in 1996 as an outfielder because the team had used up all the subs.  He also went to Euro 1996 and France 1998, but never played a game.  He played the game vs Norway at Euro 2000.

GK: Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
He joined Chelsea from Genk in 2011, but he was sent away to Atletico Madrid immediately.  He won the Europa League in his first season and then, a Copa del Rey in his second season.  In his final season, Atletico Madrid reached the Final of the Champions' League, but lost to Real Madrid.  He was the starting keeper for Belgium at World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016.

RB: Tomas (Spain)
Tomas joined Atletico Madrid in 1984 and stayed there until 1996.  His last season was the year Atletico Madrid won the Double. He played two more years in the lower division before retiring.  He was capped 19 times.  He started most of the games at WC 1986 and Euro 1988.

RB: Feliciano Rivilla (Spain)
Rivilla was an all-time great with Atletico Madrid.  He won the European Championship in 1964 with Spain, and was a part of two WC Finals in 1962 and 1966.

CB: Diego Godin  (Uruguay)
He reached the WC semifinal in 2010 and won a Copa America in  2011.  He was a key player for Atletico Madrid when they upset Real Madrid and Barcelona for the La Liga title in 2013-2014.
Diego Godin vs Ronaldo

CB: Juan Carlos Arteche (Spain)
Arteche began playing professionally with Racing de Santander after starting in basketball, making his debut in the 1976–77 season.  He joined Atletico Madrid the season after.  He helped the club to reach the Final of Cup Winners' Cup.  He was capped 4 times.

CB: Roberto Solozabal (Spain) 
A product of Atletico Madrid academy.  He played there from 1989 to 1997.  He was known for his solid partnership with Juan Manuel Lopez for the season their club won the Double.  He went to Real Betis in 1997.  he won the Gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics and earned 12 full caps.

CB: Luis Pereira (Brazil)
Widely considered to be the best central back in the Seleção's history. He played in World Cup in 1974. He played 562 games with S.E. Palmeiras (34 goals) and 171 games with Atlético Madrid (17 goals).
Luis Pereira

LB: Isacio Calleja (Spain) 
Calleja is a long term member of Atletico Madrid.  He won back-to-back Copa del rey from 1959 to 1961.  In 1962, he won the Cup Winners' Cup.

DM: Diego Simeone (Argentina)
Simeone started his career with Velez Sarsfield before moving to Europe. He first joined Pisa and Sevilla before going to Atletico Madrid.  He won the Double with them in 1995-1996.  He then moved to Inter Milan, where he won the UEFA Cup in 1998.  In 1999, he moved to Lazio.  Again, he won the Double.  He returned to Atletico Madrid in 2003 and played for Racing Club before his retirement.  For Argentina, he was capped 106 times. He won Copa America in 1991 and 1993.  He went to play in three WC Finals; 1994, 1998 and 2002.  In 1998, he had the famous incident with David Beckham.  
Diego Simeone

CM: Adelardo Rodriguez (Spain)
Adelardo spent 17 years with Atletico Madrid.  He won 3 La Liga titles and 5 Copa del Rey titles.  In Europe, he also won 1962 Cup Winners' Cup.  He earned 14 capsHe went to the WC in 1962 and 1966.

CM: Gabi (Spain)
At the time of writing, he is the captain of Atletico Madrid.  He played for Atletico Madrid between 2004 and 2007 before moving to Zaragoza.  In 2011, he returned to Atletico Madrid, coinciding with the rise of Simeone's team.  He first took the Copa del Rey in 2013 and then, the league title in 2013-2014.  He captained the side that reached the Champions' league Final twice.

AM: Milinko Pantic (Serbia)
Pantic started with FK Paritizan back home. He went to play with Olimpija Ljubljana and Panionios FC without making any dramatic mark.  At the age of 28, he moved to Atletico Madrid and suddenly, huis career took off. He led them to the Double in his first season.  After 3 seasons, he went to La Harve and then, back to Panionios.  He was only capped 2 times by Yugoslavia.

AM: Larbi Benbarek (France/Morocco)
Benbarek was the first Black player to reach stardom in Europe, earning the nick name "Black Pearl". He made his name with Stade Francasis Paris.  In 1948, he moved to Atletico Madrid, where he reached the height of his career and won two La Liga title.  
Larbi Benbarek

AM/CM: Jose Luis Caminero (Spain)
A product of Real Madrid, but started his career with Real Valladolid.  In 1993, he moved to Atletico Madrid.  Over there, he won the Double in 1995-1996 and the Spanish Player of the Year that season. He had 21 caps and played in USA 1994 and Euro 1996.

RW: Jose Ufarte (Spain)
Born in Spain, but moved to Brazil as a child.  He started with Flamengo and Corinthians in Brazil before he returned home and signed with Atletico Madrid He played on the great Atletico Madrid side of the 1960's.  He later played with Racing Santander.  He earned 16 caps.

LW:  Paulo Futre (Portugal)
He won a European Cup with Porto in 1987. He was the best Portuguese player in the 1980's. He gained more than 40 caps for his country, representing it at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.  He played in Spain, France, Italy and Japan, most notably with Atlético Madrid.

LW/FW: Joaquin Peiro (Spain
Peiro is a legend at Atletic Madrid.  He starred as his hometown club won back-to-back Copa del Rey from 1959 to 1961 and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1962. In 1962, he moved to play for Torino.  Then, in 1964, he joined Inter Milan and won the European Cup in 1965.  He later played and captained Roma.

FW/AM: Sergio Aguero (Argentina)
El Kun became the youngest player ever to play in the Argentine Primera Division in 2003 when he played for Independiente.  In 2006, Atletico Madrid broke their transfer record to sign him.  He rewarded the club with the Europa Cup in 2010.  In 2011, he joined Manchester City. Again, he rewarded the club with an added time goal that won the Preimership for Manchester City's first ever title. At the time of writing, he had 77 caps.  
Aguero and Forlan
ST:  Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
His career in Europe started slowly.  He played poorly for Manchester United, but his career took off after heading to Spain in 2004.  He was two-time European Golden Shoe winner in 2004-2005 and then, 2008-2009.  He won the Golden Ball at South Africa 2010, where Uruguay finished 4th.  His best years were with Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.

FW: Luis Aragones (Spain)
Known as the coach of Spain's Euro 2008 team.  As a player, he started with Getafe and then, Real Madrid.  He finally made a name with Real Betis and signed with Atletico Madrid, where he won three league titles. He is the club's all-time leading scorer. He was capped 11 times.
Luis Aragones
ST: Enrique Collar (Spain)
Collar spent most of his career with Atletico Madrid and a single season with Valencia.  He was a part of the great Atletico Madrid side that won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1962.  He also went to the WC finals in 1962.
Enrique Collar

ST: Jose Eulogio Garate (Spain)
Garate was a Basque, but never played for Atletico Bilbao.   member of the legendary Atletico Madrid side that won three league titles and Cup Winners' Cup in 1962. He was capped 18 times between 1967 and 1975.

Jose Eulogio Garate

ST: Fernando Torres (Spain)
Torres started his career with Atletico Madrid in 2001, where he became the captain at age 19. In 2007, he moved to Liverpool FC and became a big star in England.  In 2011, Chelsea allegedly broke the British transfer record to buy him.  He was a part of the Champions' league winning team in 2012.  For the national team, he was a part of the generation that won the WC in 2010 and two European Championships.  At Euro 2012, he was the top-scorer.

Honorable Mention
Vava, David De Gea, Miguel ReinaThibaut Courtois, Luis Garcia , Dirceu, Kiko, Juninho Paulista, Bernd Schuster, José Juncosa, Hugo Sanchez, Radamel Falaco, Leivinha, Javier Irureta, Antonio Munoz, German Gomez, Machin, Juan Manuel Lopez, Jorge Griffa, Santos Ovejero, Luis Amaranto Perea, Adrián Escudero.

Squad Explanation 
-- Adrian Escudero should be on the team in Gabi's place. I dropped him because I wanted to select Gabi.  Gabi led the team to two Champions' League Finals.  His team needed recognition. I considered dropping Milinko Pantic, Sergio Aguero or Fernando Torres.  Pantic was the reason for the Double. Sergio Aguero won the Europa League. Torres represented a generation before Simeone's reign.  Besides, Torres is the only member who was a part of Spain's World Cup/European Championship winning generation. In the end, it came down to Escudero and Ufarte.  I took Ufarte ebcause the team needed a right winger.
-- Jose Luis Caminero could also play in various positions.
-- Thibaut Courtois won an Europa Cup and took Atletico Madrid to a Champions' League Final.  David De Gea also took the club to Europa Cup.  Jose Molina won the Double. Jan Oblak needed to do more before becoming a serious candidate.
-- Atletico Madrid has plenty great left backs.  The other choises: Filipe Luis, Juan Vizcaino, Jose Luis Capon and Panadero Diaz.  Juan Carlos Aguilera got honourable mention for the rightback spot.
-- For centerbacks, Luis Pereira and Arteche were definitely starters. Diego Godin deserved to be on the team.  That left former teammates, Juan Manuel Lopez and Roberto Solozabal, fighting for the last spot.  I went for Solozabal. Jorge Griffa, Santos Ovejero and Luis Perea on my shortlist.
-- Diego Forlan, Radamel Falcao and Hugo Sanchez were similar.  Falcao and Sanchez did not stay long enough.  Both Diego Forlan and Falcao won the Europa Cup, but Forlan played longer and won the European Golden Boot. Diego Costa was not considered for the Honorable Mention.  He had one good season.  Antonine Griezman would one day be considered.  He has not earned a spot yet.

The frontline consisted of the two forwards from the great Atletico Madrid side of the 1960's.  Benbarek was probably the biggest name ever to wear red, white and blue. Diego Godin is relatively young to be an All-time team, but I do think he is ready to start.

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