Real Madrid or Atletico? The Typical Question in Madrid

Real or Atletico? When you visit the capital of Spain, it's impossible to avoid this question because both soccer teams are very popular.
Real Madrid or Atletico? The Typical Question in Madrid

Last update: 04 November, 2020

While for many the classic Spanish soccer rivalry is between Barca and Madrid, the capital city lights up when its two most popular teams are playing. If you start talking about soccer with just about anyone, the first question they’ll ask you is, “Are you a fan of Real Madrid or Atletico”? In today’s article, we’ll share a little bit about this tradition.

Real Madrid or Atletico?

The rivalry between Real Madrid and Atletico – the two most important teams in the Spanish capital – is known as “The Madrid Derby” and has been around for more than a century.

Since the very first official face-off in 1906 – there was an unofficial, friendly game in 1904- until today, the two teams have met in championships, local league games, and European tournaments. In the Championship League, they’ve played each other no less than 17 times. Real Madrid has had a slight advantage, winning nine out of seventeen matches. These games are the most-often repeated in the history of Spanish soccer.

The first game between the two teams, as we said, was in 1904. At the time, both teams were insignificant. The not quite “Royal” (“Real” in Spanish means royal) team won 4-0, but this particular game isn’t considered valid. Another year would pass before the first registered game, where the two teams tied 1-1.

During the 1910s and 1920s, they faced-off in local league games, but nothing very important. It’s worth noting that Spanish teams started to be more affluent after the creation of the Championship League in 1928. Real Madrid and Atletico were no exception.

In the League, they also played each other for the first time in February, and both teams were very amateur. After the civil war, the country prohibited the use of English names for the teams. The two teams were “re-baptized” as Real Madrid Soccer Club and Club Atletico Aviacion. In 1947, Atletico changed its official name to Club Atletico de Madrid.

Soccer plays from Real or Atleti

The Madrid rivalry became more and more popular as time went on. In 1958, it was the first soccer game to be nationally broadcast on Spanish TV. So far, the two teams have played each other nearly 300 times. Real Madrid has been the clear victor, winning 148 of those games. Atletico won only 71, and 68 were ties.

Madrid Derby statistics

If you’re a Spanish soccer fan and you’ve visited the capital, you’ve had to answer the “Real or Atletico” question. Sometimes people say “Real Madrid” without thinking or just because they win the most. They are, after all, one of the most successful teams in the world. Others, however, choose Los colchoneros, “The Mattress Makers.” That’s a team nickname for Atletico because their original kit had the same stripes as traditional mattresses.

As we’ve mentioned before, Real Madrid has been the clear winner of the two teams. Some of their matches with Atletico have even resulted in national and international titles. The last few finals between them were the Spanish Supercup (2019), the European Supercup (2018), and the Championship League of 2013-14 and 2015-16.

It’s also important to mention that things have evened out a little in recent years and Atletico is starting to even out the score.

Three Real Madrid players stand out more than anyone else. With 42 games each under their belts, you have Paco Gento, Manolo Sanchis, and Sergio Ramos (the last is still playing). Adelardo Rodriguez, on the other hand, has 35 wins for the team in their games against Real Madrid.

Lastly, there are players who have played for both teams during their careers. One of those is none other than Santiago Bernabeu. Yes, you guessed it, the same one they chose to name Merengue stadium.

Two soccer jerseys on mannequins.

Even though Bernabeu played most of his career with Madrid, he went to Atletico in 1920 (then called Athletic Club) after he fought with the board of directors. Other players who’ve played for both teams include Julain Ruete – an Atletico idol-. Luis Olaso, Ramon Grosso, Hugo Sanchez, and Bernd Schuster.

Now that you know a little bit more about the teams and their rivalry, how are you going to answer the next time you’re asked who you’ll cheer for? Do you know?

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