2012 has been a fantastic year. It was the year of Diego Simeone, Radamel Falcao and another European double.
It was Atlético’s year.
Going by the statistics, we take a look at the most popular AtléticoFans articles of the past 12 months, and of course we’d love to hear what your fondest memories of 2012 are.
5. Falcao scores two stupendous goals in Colombia
In May, just a few days after the end of our 2011/12 campaign, Atlético Madrid travelled to the home country of Rojiblanco idols Luis Perea and Radamel Falcao for a series of friendlies in Bogota, Cali and Neiva. The lucrative trip netted the club €400k per game, but was also the chance for the players and staff to relax after a hectic few weeks, which included spectacularly winning the Europa League before missing out on Champions League qualification by just two points.
In Colombia, the team said goodbye to the long-serving Luis Perea, but understandably all the buzz was about national icon Radamel Falcao. Coming off a 36-goal campaign and winning his second consecutive European title, ‘El Tigre’ arrived on home soil a hero. He would further cement his status as the country’s most popular sportsman by scoring two amazing goals.
His overhead goal against former club Millonarios would prove to be just an appetiser for the main course. He controlled a cross on his chest before scoring a stunning bicycle kick. But some days later, against América de Cali he’d do one even better. In another 2-1 win Falcao opened the scoring with another perfectly executed scissor kick, which is still in the running for FIFA’s Puskás award for best goal of the year. You can cast your vote for Falcao’s strike here.
Like his goals against Valencia and Athletic Club, these were two great moments in the striker’s impressive highlight reel.
4. Atlético unveil kits for the new season
One thing that always gets everyone excited for the new season is the presentation of brand new kits. In July, Atlético presented their kits for the 2012/13 campaign, which to the delight of some fans still had a traditional look without the name of a sponsor across the chest. Throughout the year Atlético would strike temporary deals with various companies to generate more income, finally hitting the jackpot with the Republic of Azerbaijan. The ‘Land of Fire’ logo will offer the club a long-term source of income in exchange for promotion on the beautiful red and white shirt.
Often the first thing Atleti fans ask themselves is not if the increasingly high price is worth buying yet another jersey, but what superstar to get printed on the back of their brand new shirt. What kit did you get this year and is there a name on the back?
3. High anticipation for yet another derby lost
This is hard to admit, but 2012 wasn’t perfect. It was amazing, it was nearly flawless and it exceeded all our expectations. It was spectacular and it was 99.9 per cent pure gold. But it wasn’t perfect. For the year to have been perfect, Atleti would have had to finally shrug off the curse that is the Derbi Madrileño.
Since 1999, there are two moments in every year when we throw our better judgment out the window and follow our emotions, allowing ourselves to get our hopes up only to be utterly let down. One of AtléticoFans‘ most-read articles was the preview in preparation for the derby in April, when Diego Simeone was starting to get his players to play better football and had only lost at home to Barcelona. The Argentine had the opportunity to shape the team the way he had envisioned it since taking over in the middle of the season, but a determined Real side were on their way to José Mourinho’s first La Liga title and showed great concentration and finesse to decide the match at the Vicente Calderón. Despite Falcao tying the game up in the second half, a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick was too much for the Rojiblancos to handle. Our post match reports after the 4-1 loss were hardly even read.
On the first day of December the teams met again, this time at the Santiago Bernabéu under completely different circumstances and with completely different expectations, but with a very similar result. Currently, Atlético are 7 points ahead of Real in the league and for once there’s a crisis in their house instead of ours. In 2012, Atleti added two European titles to their trophy cabinet while Real again crashed in their desperate hunt for La Décima. But until we finally beat them in a direct confrontation we cannot claim the title of being the best side in Madrid.
2. Will he stay or will he go?
Being a top club but not quite elite is a bittersweet situation for Atlético to be in. Going back decades, we’ve been able to enjoy the services of some of the top players in European football, but in many cases our stars would depart in heartbreaking fashion. Every year we are made to believe our striker is close to leaving and every summer fans find themselves praying for the transfer window to end. This year one of the site’s most popular reports was a short story on Gil Marín’s promise to Simeone, as the general director guaranteed to keep Adrián, Arda and Falcao at the club, a promise we are glad he was able to keep. The fans survived a surprisingly quiet summer transfer window, although Gil Marín later admitted he’d refused offers for nearly all of our key players.
Our daily updated round-up of transfer rumours in January was the report which received the most comments this year, which goes to show how much you all love the gossip. Who do you think we will or should sign in the New Year? Let us know on the forum!
1. Chelsea is obliterated in the UEFA Super Cup
Curiously, the reports after Atlético’s second conquest of the Europa League by gloriously defeating Athletic didn’t get many views. We can only imagine it’s because everyone with a Rojiblanco heart was out celebrating.
More of you were at home when Atlético Madrid thrashed Chelsea at the end of August, because our Super Cup match report is the most popular article of 2012.
The Colchoneros started off the season with a mesmerising performance against the winners of the Champions League and were three goals up at half time through a Falcao hat-trick. In the second half Miranda increased the lead to 4-0, before Gary Cahill scored a consolation goal. It was a historic night for Atlético, as the victory placed the club amongst Barcelona, AC Milan and Liverpool as the only clubs to have won the title twice. When Gabi lifted the trophy, it was the fourth European title we received in recent years, making Atlético the most successful club of the 2010s.
What is your fondest Atleti memory of 2012? Let us know in the comments below!