Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Atlético Madrid are scheduled to move into La Peineta, their new 67,000 stadium in the east of the city, for the 2017/18 season.
With work on the new arena progressing rapidly, the time has almost come for the rojiblancos to make the long awaited move from the Vicente Calderón, which celebrated its 50th birthday earlier in the week.
For a long time, the idea of relocating was one that the majority of Atléticos sided against. Riddled with debt and often unable to fill the Calderón, moving 8km out of the city to a new €270m stadium was an unrealistic, unwelcome prospect.
However after years of delays, Estadio de la Peineta is now a reality. Barring any last minute set-backs, this season will be Atlético’s last on the banks of the River Manzanares.
“Yo me voy al Manzanares, al Estadio Vicente Calderón…” is the first line of the club’s anthem and, understandably, the emotional attachment has caused a lot of apprehension amongst fans towards leaving their spiritual home.
It’s hard to believe that Atleti’s current home is only fifty, partly because of just how synonymous it is with the club’s history and tradition but also because it feels much older than it’s years.
Given its location on the side of a river and a motorway, expanding the Calderón was never an option. Atleti had the highest percentage of fan attendance in La Liga last season and recently reached a record number of 90,000 socios – over 48,000 of those season-ticket holders.
The club is growing on a global scale under Simeone, and the time seems right to move to a bigger and more modern arena.
La Peineta was originally opened as an Athletics stadium back in the 90’s, and had been identified as the host venue for Madrid’s unsuccessful 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympic bids.
In July 2007, Atlético and Mahou agreed to give the land on which the Calderón resides to the city council in exchange for La Peineta, which is fully owned by the red and whites.
After approval from contractors at the FCC (Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas), building work finally began in December 2011, just two weeks before Diego Simeone was appointed as manager.
El Mundo revealed last year that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim put €160m into the project. It’s also been reported that Atleti are looking to buy the aquatics centre next door and turn it into a sports complex.
The stadium is in the San Blas-Canillejas district of Madrid, not far from Barajas Airport. The ground is besides the ‘Avenida Luís Aragonés’ (Luís Aragonés avenue), named in his honour after his death in 2014.
There is also a metro stop – Estadio Olímpico – just outside which can be reached via line 7 of the Madrid metro, 20 stops and a change from Piramides, the nearest station to the Calderón.
More public transport links will be put in place before the stadium opens next August, given that it’s in quite an isolated location off the M-40 motorway in between the barrios of San Blas and Coslada.
On Wednesday, Atleti announced that they had reached an agreement with Philips to illuminate the stadium with the usage of LED light technology.
The roof will be lit up with red and white colours before and after matches, as well as when goals are scored similar to the Allianz Arena in Munich.
— Atleti English (@atletienglish) October 5, 2016
It’s one of several steps that the club are taking to try and retain the authentic feel of the club, something that many worry will be lost in the move.
Like in the Calderón, the stands behind each goal will be called Fondo Norte and Fondo Sur, where the ‘Grada de animación’ (singing section) occupied by the ultras will be in the lowest of three tiers.
There is also a Lateral east and Lateral west, the largest stand in the stadium. Overall the capacity will be around 67,000, with the club sacrificing extra seating for spaciousness and fan comfort.
Other features include more access for disabled fans, increased levels of security, 4,000 parking spaces, shops, bars, restuarants and a new VIP suite – the Neptuno Atlético Madrid Premium.
Fans will be glad to hear that there will be no running track around the pitch, with the distance between the stands and touchline ranging from between 5.89 to 9.95 metres, considerably closer than the Calderón.
Between now and August
There are still a number of issues that will need addressing before the ground opens its doors next summer, with perhaps the main one being what it is actually going to be called.
La Peineta is how the stadium is most commonly known, but AS reported back in February that it will be retitled under the name of a sponsor alongside a reference to Atlético’s history.
Some have pushed for it to be called the “Estadio Luís Aragonés” or “Nuevo Vicente Calderón” although that seems unlikely, at least without Wanda, Azerbaijan or Etihad etc. in front of it.
The stadium has also been known as the Estadio Olímpico, Estadio de Madrid and Estadio de la Comunidad in the past.
After the main structure was completed in the summer, work is currently being done on the roof (96% of the stadium will be covered). Atleti have drafted in specialists Schlaich Bergermann, who designed the roofs for the Maracanã, BayArena and Soccer City stadium in South Africa among others.
Seating will then have to be installed – the virtual design on the club website shows the seats as being all red – as well as facilities in and around the venue for the use of players and fans.
The Calderón is renowned for its bars and colourful stalls leading to the ground, and the club insist they can replicate the matchday experience at the Peineta.
Season tickets went on sale in July, with over 10,000 fans already having booked their place for the 2017/18 season. Prices start from just €250. (see below)
- Opens: August 2017
- Capacity: 67,000*
- Cost of expansion: €270m
- Architect: Cruz y Ortiz arquitectos
- Contractor: FCC
- Address: Plaza de Grecia, s/n, 28022 Madrid, Spain
- Total surface: 88,150m²
- Season ticket prices: €250 – €1,100
- Nearest metro stations: Estadio Olímpico, Las Musas, Canillejas, Las Rosas, San Blas, Torre Arias
- Parking spaces: 3,000 outside the stadium, 1,000 inside
*figure to be confirmed once seating is installed
- Official website (English)
- Official website (Spanish)
- Estadios de España (English)
- Nuevo Estadio Atleti blog (Spanish)
- Photo gallery
What are your feelings towards the new stadium? Just how big a step could this be for the club?