Ground: Estadio Vicente Calderón
Date: 2nd January 2016
Match: Atlético Madrid - Levante 1-0 (Primera División)
Attendance: 43 417
After three nights in Valencia it was time to move on. I would of course return to Valencia on Sunday evening for Valencia vs Real Madrid but before that I would go to two matches in Madrid. At 10.40 my AVE high-speed train left Valencia at 1 h 50 minutes later I was in Madrid. It is 360 km between the two cities but with a high-speed train the journey is an easy one. I had booked a hotel for two nights close to the Atocha Renfe station in Madrid and shortly before 13.00 I was in my hotel room. No game for me today and I rested in my room before making a 90-minute walk in central Madrid. Puerto de Toledo and Plaza Mayor were among the places I visited. Dinner and continuing reading my book was my schedule for the rest of the evening.
Atlético de Madrid vs Levante did not kick-off until 20.30 so plenty of time to kill for me. After a (yet another) late breakfast I headed towards Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas, the home of Rayo Vallecano. Portazgo, the metro station next to the ground, was only five stops from Atocha Renfe which of course made this a very easy journey. I took some exterior pictures of the ground before finding my way to the ticket office. Rayo Vallecano don´t sell tickets online but I had no problems buying one from the ticket office. With nothing better to do I then decided to go by the metro to Piramides, the station nearest to Estadio Vicente Calderón. In 2017/18 Atlético Madrid will move to a new ground meaning this is the penultimate season for them at Estadio Vicente Calderón. Estadio Vicente Calderón was opened in 1967 and is situated quite close to the city centre of Madrid. The official capacity is 53 000 and the ground is very close to the Manzanares river. Only the (expensive) main stand is covered but with no rain forecasted I didn´t mind sitting in an open stand. Once at the ground I decided to visit the museum and was delighted to find out it was possible to do a ground tour. The tour was in Spanish and I didn´t understand a word but still nice to walk around inside the ground. When the tour was over I went back to my hotel where I had something to eat and drink.
During the winter months it is much colder in Madrid compared to Valencia and I needed my winter coat for this game. In Valencia on Wednesday I only needed a t-shirt! Anyway, 75 minutes before kick-off the turnstiles opened and I could sneak inside. My seat was in row 7 of the upper tier of the East Stand and gave me a perfect view of the action. Twice someone claimed I was in their seat. Neither could speak English and it took a while for them to understand it was them who were wrong. The second time 5-6 people around me were involved in the discussions. Barcelona had played 0-0 against Espanol earlier in the day meaning Atlético would go top with a win over Levante. Having seen Levante on Wednesday I was convinced Atlético would win easily. That was not to be the case though. Levante defended well and in the second half they actually had two really good chances to score themselves. Once again Levante showed why they have only scored 12 goals this season. Atlético hit the cross-bar twice but didn´t play that well. In the 81 st minute Thomas Partey made a solo-raid through the Levante defense and eventually got the ball over the line. 1-0 to Atlético and this was to be the final score. Three goals in three matches but at least no goalless draw so far. Tomorrow will be Super Sunday, Rayo Vallecano vs Real Sociedad at 12.00 followed by the Valencia vs Real Madrid at 20.30. As I went to bed around midnight I knew I had a special day ahead of me.
Puerto de Toledo
Rear of the West Stand
Estadio Vicente Calderón
Rear of the East Stand
Trophies won by Atlético Madrid
2013/14 La Liga-trophy
Europa League trophies
Luis Aragonés (Atlético´s all-time top goalscorer)
Model of the new stadium
View of play
View of play
Pano (view from the West Stand)
Pano (view from the East Stand)