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Adiós! Atlético set for final European game at the Vicente Calderón

Atlético play their last ever European game at the Vicente Calderón this week. UEFA.com bids farewell to an arena that has provided memorable moments over the years.

Atlético’s greatest Calderón nights

Fortress Calderón

Atlético have played 142 European games at the Calderón since it opened in 1966, winning 104, drawing 24 and losing just 14.

European Cup/UEFA Champions League: P51 W36 D11 L4
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: P29 W20 D6 L3
UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League: P62 W48 D7 L7

They say

"My life and my memories are all connected to the Calderón, my greatest days as a supporter and as a player are in that stadium. Whenever I visit the area in the future, with the stadium not there, it's going to be difficult."
Fernando Torres, Atleti 2001–07, 2015–

"One day after scoring I did a bow-and-arrow celebration and for 20 seconds I saw what it meant to the people behind the goal; it was a moment of immense happiness. I was lucky enough to look into the eyes of the celebrating fans and it was unforgettable."
Kiko, Atleti 1993–2001

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"Every time I walk out onto the pitch, it's a dream come true. A lot of players get disillusioned after playing so long for the same team at the same ground. For me it's the opposite: every time I play at the Calderón, I feel even more excited."
Gabi, Atleti 200207, 2011–

"We were 3-0 down to Barcelona [in 1993] and won 4-3. I scored the winner. I fell to my knees celebrating, and I remember a woman crying behind the goal, saying her son wanted to leave at 0-3. Good thing they decided to stay."
José Luis Caminero, Atleti 1993–98 (now sporting director)

Five European nights to remember

Atlético 3-0 Cagliari, 1970/71 European Cup round of 16
A resounding comeback often described as the first great European night at the Calderón. Atlético trailed 2-1 from the first leg but Luis Aragonés turned the tie on its head with a hat-trick.

1974 final: Schwarzenbeck denies Atlético

Atlético 2-0 Celtic, 1973/74 European Cup semi-finals 
The goalless first leg is remembered as the battle of Glasgow for the fierce challenges meted out by both sides. The balance finally tipped Atleti's way when José Gárate broke the deadlock in the 77nd minute. Adelardo Rodríguez then sealed a first European Cup final appearance.

Atlético 4-2 Valencia, 2011/12 UEFA Europa League semi-finals
Diego Simeone took over a flailing Atlético team in January 2012 and oversaw an incredible revival. This game rubber-stamped it, an awesome attacking display marking a huge step towards the first of many finals under the Argentinian. Atleti won the second leg 1-0.

Atlético 4-1 AC Milan, 2013/14 UEFA Champions League round of 16
Milan's Sulley Muntari unwisely said he hoped his side would be paired with Atlético in the last-16 draw. He was forced to eat his words as Simeone's men, spearheaded by an insatiable Diego Costa, put four past the seven-time European champions.

Griezmann's Atlético double against Barcelona

Atlético 2-0 Barcelona, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals 
Atleti had knocked out Barça two years earlier but repeating the feat was even more impressive as they overhauled a 2-1 first-leg loss with a goal in each half from Antoine Griezmann. "We knocked out the best team in the world over the last decade, and arguably of all time," said Simeone. "And we did it twice."

Where next?

As of next season Atlético will play home games at the Metropolitano, 16km away from the Calderón to the north-east of the capital. The new arena will hold 67,000 spectators and, unlike its predecessor, will have a roof for those occasional wet Madrid nights. It is in contention to host the 2019 UEFA Champions League final. The Calderón will become flats.

Did you know?

• Atlético are the only team to win the European/South American Cup, precursor to the FIFA Club World Cup, without actually winning their continental competition. Bayern passed up the opportunity after lifting the 1974 European Cup so runners-up Atleti took their place. Trailing Independiente 1-0 from the first leg, the Spaniards prevailed 2-0 at the Calderón.

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• In 1981, Atlético president Alfonso Cabeza urged fans not to attend the Madrid derby at the Santiago Bernabéu. Instead he invited them to come to the Calderón, listen to the game on the radio and eat tortilla de patatas. Some 10,000 supporters turned up for the feast and must have been glad to have stayed on the other side of the city as their team lost 2-0.

• The Calderón is one of Spain's biggest concert venues. One of its most memorable concerts came in 1982 when the Rolling Stones continued to play in the middle of torrential rain.

• The stadium staged three matches at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, all in the second group stage: France 1-0 Austria, France 4-1 Northern Ireland and Austria 2-2 Northern Ireland.

• In 2008, Atleti took on PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League group stage in a game played behind closed doors. A 1,000-strong contingent could not bear to be too far from the action, congregating around the stadium gates and following proceedings on the radio.

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