Why I Love Atlético Madrid

Jake Appleman, Grantland:

I ambled into a random bar near the center of the Spanish capital on September 18, 2005, looking to catch Atlético Madrid, which was hosting Barcelona at Vicente Calderon Stadium in a Sunday nightcap.

There was a television bolted in the upper-left corner of the room, and rarely did eyes stray from it. It was standing room only in this old man’s bar. There were men who were born during the Spanish Civil War; men who were born to parents who lived through the war; almost everyone inside was alive during Franco’s reign. It was like stumbling into a house of worship on a holy day. Everyone knew why they were there.

Atlético’s recent resurgence is an amazing story and their fans deserve it.

Even if the club is sponsored by a country as corrupt as Azerbaijan.