Atlético de Madrid paid their final respects to the Vicente Calderón on Sunday evening, with a friendly between a team comprising past and present Rojiblancos and a star-studded XI of world players – the last football match to be played at the stadium as the club moves to the Wanda Metropolitano in another part of town in August.
Ronaldinho captains guests in last match to be played at the Calderón
Gabi led Atleti out onto the pitch for one last time; behind him, followed others who have donned the red and white shirt: Antonio López, Fernando Torres. Adrián, Perea, Vizcaíno, Pantic… and, to a massive roar from the crown, Diego Forlán. On the opposing side, captained by Ronaldinho, players such as Mahrez, Zico, Seedorf and Marcos Senna.
The first moment of the match came on seven minutes when Atleti won a corner. Over trotted Pantic – to his corner, where a local women from Talavera called Margarita devotedly had laid a bunch of carnations before every home game for the past 21 years. Pantic sees the flowers, kisses them and the crowd starts chanting his name.
On 15 minutes Canilla has the ball in the back of the net but the flag’s raised; Mendieta almost scored with a truly incredible strike while Ronaldinho proved that talent never ages. The opener was perfect – Fernando Torres, the Calderón’s golden boy, chipped over Higuita to put Atlético ahead then sank to his knees, in Kiko’s famous archer pose.
Caniggia levels, Higuita scores from the spot
Mahrez set up Caniggia to make it 1-1 and the Calderón celebrated just as enthusiatically as if their team had scored. The Argetinean was brought down and a penalty awarded – Higuita beating Leo Franco from 11 metres. After the crowd are on the feet to welcome back Donato and Ujfalusi. Yarmolenko put the guests 1-3 ahead. It was time for one last Atleti comeback – Pedro, Alejandro Sánchez and Pedraza added to the score board but it was the visitors who denied Atleti from bowing out of their home with a win. It ended 4-5 but when the final whistle went, the fans remained in their seats – no one wanted to leave but after more photographs it was time to say goodbye and the hymn sounded for one final time over the PA system. There will be no more cañas by the bar at El Chiscón, no more meeting by the obelisk in Pirámides on matchday… Adiós Calderón, adiós..