Atletico Madrid's new stadium to be named 'Wanda Metropolitano'
10 December 2016
Atletico Madrid's new stadium will officially be called the "Wanda Metropolitano," the La Liga club have confirmed.
Atletico first announced plans in 2009 to move from the centrally located Estadio Vicente Calderon to a new home in the former athletics stadium La Peineta on the outskirts of the city.
The project has been hit by various setbacks over the years, but funding from Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group has solidified the club's finances, and Atletico are now aiming to start the 2017-18 season in their new 70,000-seat home.
The news was announced on Friday afternoon by Atletico president Enrique Cerezo at the Calderon, where a new redesign of their club badge was also confirmed.
"We have reached an agreement with Wanda Group to give a name to our new stadium," Cerezo said. "They are without doubt our best travelling partner for this journey. Our new home, our new stadium, will be called Wanda Metropolitano -- a name full of history and future, a perfect name for all Atletico Madrid supporters."
Before their 50 years at the Vicente Calderon, Atletico played from 1923 to 1966 at the Stadium Metropolitano de Madrid -- making it the club's first real permanent home.
Atletico boyhood fan and current centre-forward Fernando Torres said that the new ground's "surname" would bring back emotional memories for the older Rojiblanco supporters -- fitting with a tear-jerking black and white promotional video the club had prepared.
"My grandfather has told me about the Metropolitano, I know what it means for the Atleticos," Torres said. "In these modern times, it is lucky to have a partner like Wanda. For those who have Atleti blood the surname makes us emotional too, it is beautiful. All my memories are at the Calderon, but maybe someday I can tell my grandfather I played at the Metropolitano."
Speaking from Beijing where he had earlier on Friday signed the final agreement with Wanda, Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin said that the partnership between two leading global brands was mutually beneficial.
"Wanda and Atletico are two brands which are growing and are known globally," Gil Marin said. "This will help that continue. The relationship with Wanda makes us more global. The change of stadium is not an isolated act -- it is a step forward towards modernity."
Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin also spoke via video-link to say he was pleased his company were associated with a stadium with the potential to host a Champions League or Europa League final.
"We believe this deal will help grow the name of Wanda in Europe," he said. "I hope some day a European final will be played in the stadium."
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also present at the event, and showed a characteristic focus on the team's performance on the pitch being most important.
"This is a special day, with a lot of nostalgia, and excitement," Simeone said. "For me the only thing to say is we must win each Sunday."
In October, 48 percent of respondents to a Marca online poll said they would prefer "Estadio Luis Aragones," with 17 percent choosing "Nuevo Calderon" and just 8.5 percent wanting a sponsor's name on their new home.