Sports Tradition: Atlético Madrid vs. Real Madrid

Transcription: “The rivalry is intense. If Real Madrid wins a big game, fans go to Cibeles, and if Atlético wins, they go to Neptuno. The players come too and will jump in the fountains if it was an important game…The only time I will cheer for Atléti is when they are playing Barce.”


Similar to how Americans have several traditions surrounding football, Spaniards have many fútbol centered traditions. Two teams in particular, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, have inspired colorful victory celebrations.

Elaborate sculptures and fountains are scattered throughout Madrid, often times centered in the middle of large roundabouts. Each of the soccer teams has their own fountain that functions similar to a mascot. Real Madrid’s fountain is named Cibeles and Atlético Madrid’s fountain is named Neptuno. When one of the teams wins, especially if it was an important game, fans hurry to the respective fountain where they are joined by the team. The team members will even jump into the fountain depending on the importance of the game.  

Since Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid are rivals, the fountain celebrations following their games are chaotic. The fact the fountains are only a few streets apart amplifies the intensity of the celebration. Overall, the tradition signifies a coming together of a community to honor the athletic achievements of their soccer team.

I would compare the rivalry between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid as the Spanish equivalent to the rivalry between UCLA and USC. Both are “cross town rivals,” and when the two teams play each other, the game brings out much tension between fans on each side. The only time Real Madrid and Atlético support each other is when one of them is playing against Barcelona, a common enemy.