It was inevitable but bitter sweet. The end of the Calderon marked a paradox for a club that built an identity around unrelenting heart with pain and suffering. Atleti’s recent success has brought about the need for bigger, more lofty goals. Forever in the shadow of the big two in Spain, Atleti now seeks to dwell in that pantheon with Barça and their cross town rivals Real Madrid. A massive sign of said endeavor is the newly expanded Wanda Metropolitano. Originally built for an unsuccessful Olympics bid, Atletico Madrid bought the stadium and expanded it to seat 67,000 people which set the club back a cool 240 million Euro. On a crisp and crystal clear Madrid day we set out to tour Atleti’s new symbol hope.
It’s always a humbling, slightly chilling experience touring stadiums. Historic grounds like Old Trafford or the Bernabeu behold a grandeur and energy that very much parallel famous cathedrals. The Wanda isn’t that. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Yes, every seat is padded and covered from elements thanks to a gorgeous, technologically advanced roof. The locker room is luxurious and modern while the 79 VIP suites add to the upper echelon vibes of the Wanda. With all it’s bells and whistles as it stands today there are still obvious signs of the stadium being under construction. Restrooms are incredibly awkward, with missing tiles and poorly placed doors. Certain sectors are still closed with steel piping strewn across the floor as construction crews hammer/weld away even during a national holiday.
The Wanda Metropolitano is a stunning, slightly unfinished piece of endeavor, hope and decadence for a club that is deserving of such shine. Have a look at her, up close and personal.