ATLÉTICO

Atlético Madrid's stadium finally demolished: The last days of the Vicente Calderón

Demolition work on the Vicente Calderón began in March 2020 in four phases, starting on the interior of the stadium with the removal of seating, electrics and offices. Pictured here in March 2020, just before a state of emergency was declared in Spain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: ANDY HALL ANDY HALL

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The first four phases of demolition, removing the north, south and lateral stands, was completed by Novermber 2019 - leaving the most complicated task, demolishing the Tribuna - the main stand, until last.

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Atlético sold the land on which the Vicente Calderón stood in 2007. In 2011, the nearby Mahou brewery on Paseo Imperial was knocked down. Housing will be built on both plots as part of the River Park project.

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From 2009, the ashes of deceased Atleti fans could be kept in a storeroom underneath the north stand - at a price. The room, which also boasted a small chapel, held around 30 urns.

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In November 2019 the M-30 motorway, which used to run underneath the Tribuna, was diverted with the new route passing in front of the main stand. The last section to be demolished will be converted into a small park next to the Manzanares.

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The Tribuna also housed the club offices, players' entrance and press room. The press area and cabins for radio and TV were located in the top tier.

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Demolition work on the Vicente Calderón was stopped for two weeks at the end of March when lockdown restrictions were tightened. Work was able to resume in April.

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Madrid entered Phase 0 of lockdown unwinding on 18 May 2020, people were allowed out to exercise during the mornings and evenings.

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The 'Estadio Manzanares' was inaugurated on 2 October 1966, the stadium was renamed the Vicente Calderón, in honour of the club's president, on 14 July 1971

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Once the stadium had closed for good, Atleti gave season ticket holders the chance to collect their old plastic seats as a free souvenir - around 22,000 fans took up the offer and reclaimed their old seat to take home.

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Of all of the bars which once occupied Paseo de los Melancolicos - El Doblete, El Chiscon, Off Side, Bar Resines, only one remains and is up for let. The owner of El Parador counts how many beams remain on the stadium shell, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5... it's going so slowly".

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The first team to visit Atleti's new home, Estadio Manzanares was Valencia for the Week 4 league game on 2 October 1966. Luis Aragonés scored the first goal at the stadium on that day.

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Diego Simeone admitted that if he could only pick one memory of the Vicente Calderón, it would be the day he scored a glanced header against Albacete on the final day of the 1995/6 season when Atleti won the double.

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Simeone: "That will always stay with me. I remember how happy everyone was - the fans, my team mates. Seeing the whole stadium bathed in red and white on a glorious sunny day was unforgettable".

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Finding the net that day were Fernando Torres (2) and for the visitors, Iñaki Williams. The last player to score at the Vicente Calderón, in an official match however was Ángel Correa who made it 3-1 on 86 minutes.

Photo: ANDY HALL DIARIO AS

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The Athletic game wasn't the last game to be played at the Vicente Calderón. On 28 May 2017, Atlético Legends took on a World All Star XI in a friendly - the last football match to be played at the stadium.

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The World All Star XI, featuring players including Ronaldinho, Zico, Seedorf, Mendieta and Dudek, ran out 5-4 winners on the day. The last player to score at the Vicente Calderón, in a friendly - not official competition, was Juan Carlos Pedraza.

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After the last football matches were played at the Vicente Calderón, the stadium hosted a handful of other events in the summer of 2017, including a concert by Guns N' Roses

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The public were allowed to visit the stadium and say their last goodbye for a month in the summer of 2017 before the doors were locked for good.

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The final visible piece of the Vicente Calderón - the last remaining wall of the Tribuna was symbolically knocked down on Monday 6 July 2020.

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