Atletico Madrid has established itself as one of the most dominating forces in Europe in recent years. Founded in 1903 by three Basque students in Madrid, it now stands as the third most successful Spanish club in UEFA competitions after Real Madrid and Barcelona. Their famous red and white striped combination dates back to 1911 when they were nicknamed Los Colchoneros (“The Mattress Makers”), as their stripes were same as old-fashioned mattresses. The club now plays its home matches at the newly built Wanda Metropolitano, after shifting from Estadio Vicente Calderón in 2017.
A club with such rich history obviously had seen greats play for them and elevate their status to such a position where they are now ranked amongst the best. Here is an exhaustive list of the 10 greatest Atletico Madrid players of all time –
(6) Fernando Torres
Spanish hit-man Fernando Torres needs no introduction as he has proved himself as one of the most lethal forwards the world has ever witnessed. Starting his footballing career at the youth ranks of Atletico Madrid in the year 1995 at the age of 11, El Nino broke into the senior squad in 2001 where he slowly developed into a complete player, playing 214 matches and netting 82 times before joining Liverpool in 2007 where he went on to score 65 times in 102 matches until 2011.
Chelsea came calling for the star-striker who was brought to the Stamford Bridge for £50 million making him the most expensive Spanish player in history. Though his Chelsea stay wasn’t as fruitful as he would have hoped, he still ended up winning the Champions League (2011-12) and the club’s first Europa League (2012-13) with them. He returned to Atletico in 2016 and has appeared in 36 matches so far. Torres has also won more than 100 international caps for Spain and remains the country’s third highest goal-scorer with 38 goals.
(5) Carlos Aguilera
Madrid-born Aguilera started his career at Atletico in 1987 as a right winger but slowly drifted to thrive as a right-back later on in his career. He made 96 appearances for the Madrid side before moving to Tenerife in 1993. He played in 88 games for the Insulares till 1996 after which he returned to Atletico to stay for the next 9 years. He starred in 269 matches in his second innings at the club, successfully finding the back of the net in 22 occasions.
He played in over 500 matches in his two-decade long footballing career, 375 of those coming in the top tier of the Spanish League. He also made 7 senior team appearances for the Spanish national team and represented them in the 1998 World Cup.
(4) Adrian Escudero
Starting his youth career at Banco Hispano Americano, he made his debut for Atletico Madrid in 1945 and played for the club throughout his 13-year long career. A dynamic forward during that period, Escudero scored 150 goals in 287 appearances for the club and also represented the Spanish national team thrice and scored the all-important equaliser in the 2-2 draw against Turkey in the 1954 World Cup qualifiers. Escudero died on 7 March 2011 in his hometown of Madrid, at the age of 83.