Clube Atlético Mineiro

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Atlético Mineiro
Club badge: an edged black shield with a white orle; the letters CAM in white in the upper part, with a horizontal white line below them; four vertical white stripes in the lower part; a golden star above the emblem.
Full name Clube Atlético Mineiro
Nickname(s) Galo (Rooster)
Alvinegro (White-and-black)
Short name CAM
Founded 25 March 1908; 108 years ago (1908-03-25) (as Athletico Mineiro Foot-Ball Club)[1]
Ground Independência
Ground Capacity 23,018[2]
President Daniel Nepomuceno
Head coach Marcelo Oliveira
League Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (national)
Campeonato Mineiro (state)
2015
2016
Brasileiro, 2nd
Mineiro, 2nd
Website Club home page
Current season

Clube Atlético Mineiro (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈklubi atˈlɛtʃiku miˈnejɾu]), commonly known as Atlético Mineiro or Atlético, and colloquially as Galo (pronounced: [ˈgalu], "Rooster"), is a professional football club based in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The team competes in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, the first level of Brazilian football, as well as in the Campeonato Mineiro, the top tier state league of Minas Gerais.

Atlético Mineiro is the oldest active football club in Minas Gerais, founded on 25 March 1908 by twenty-two students from Belo Horizonte.[3][4] Despite having liberal, upper-class founders, the club opened its doors to players of every social class, establishing itself as a "people's club",[5][6][7] and becoming one of the most supported in Brazil.[8] The club's mascot, a rooster, has been strongly associated with Atlético since its introduction in the 1930s. Over the years, the word galo (Portuguese for "rooster") became a common nickname for the club itself. The team's regular home kit comprises black-and-white striped shirts, with black shorts and white socks.

Atlético has won the Campeonato Mineiro a record 43 times. At national level, the club has won the Campeonato Brasileiro once and has finished second on five occasions. Atlético has also won one Copa do Brasil, one Copa dos Campeões Estaduais and the Copa dos Campeões Brasileiros.[9][10] In international club football, Atlético has won the Copa Libertadores and the Recopa Sudamericana once each, and a record two Copa CONMEBOL; the team has also reached three other continental finals. The club has also competed in other sports throughout its history, with the futsal department becoming especially notable.

The club plays the majority of its home matches at the Independência, while the Mineirão — the club's ground for most of its history — is used as Galo's home in important and high-attendance matches.[11] Atlético has a long-standing cross-city rivalry with Cruzeiro, with matches between the two teams referred to as the Clássico Mineiro. The club also holds a local rivalry with América Mineiro, and an interstate one with Flamengo. Atlético has the ninth most valuable brand in Brazil, worth R$394.8 million (€122.7 million), and ranks seventh in the country in terms of turnover, generating R$244.6 million (€62.2 million) in 2015.[12][13]

History[edit]

Early years and achievements (1908–49)[edit]

Football players in uniform and other men in suits
The Atlético Mineiro team that won the Taça Bueno Brandão in 1914, the club's first trophy.

Atlético Mineiro was formed on 25 March 1908 by a group of twenty-two students from Belo Horizonte, who decided the club's name would be Athletico Mineiro Foot Ball Club. The club's first match was played against Sport Club Futebol on 21 March 1909; Atlético won 3–0, with the first goal scored by Aníbal Machado.[3] In 1913, the club's name was officially changed to Clube Atlético Mineiro, and in the following year Atlético won the Taça Bueno Brandão, the first competition ever held in the state of Minas Gerais.[14] In 1915, the club won the inaugural edition of the Campeonato Mineiro, the state league of Minas Gerais. The competition was then organised by the Liga Mineira de Sports Athléticos, which would later become the Federação Mineira de Futebol.[15]

América won the next ten editions of the Mineiro, and Atlético only won the league again in 1926, led by striker Mário de Castro.[16] In 1927, forwards Said and Jairo joined Castro to form an attacking partnership nicknamed the Trio Maldito ("Unholy Trio"), which guided Atlético to another state league triumph.[17][18] In 1929, the club played its first international encounter, against Portuguese club against Vitória de Setúbal, winning 3–1 in a match played at the Presidente Antônio Carlos Stadium. The ground had opened earlier that year, and would be the club's home for the following two decades.[19]

Atlético won the state league in 1931 and 1932, before becoming a professional club in 1933.[20] After another Campeonato Mineiro triumph in 1936, Atlético won the Copa dos Campeões Estaduais in 1937, its first title at national level. The competition was organised by the Federação Brasileira de Foot-Ball, a federation for professional clubs that would later merge into the Brazilian Sports Confederation (CBD). The Copa dos Campeões Estaduais was contested by the 1936 state league champions from Minas Gerais (Atlético), Rio de Janeiro (Fluminense), São Paulo (Portuguesa) and Espírito Santo (Rio Branco). Atlético defeated the latter 5–1 in the final match, played at the Antônio Carlos stadium.[21] Guará rose as the club's top player during that period,[22] and the interstate title was followed by two more Campeonato Mineiro victories, in 1938 and 1939.[23]

Success continued in the 1940s, with a squad that included Carlyle, Lucas Miranda, Nívio and goalkeeper Kafunga.[24] The club was dominant in the state as it won the league in 1941, 1942, 1946, 1947 and 1949.[23] Although América had been Atlético's long-standing adversary, a new rivalry started to develop with Cruzeiro in the 1940s, as it became Galo's main challenger during this period.[1]

European tour and the Mineirão era (1950–69)[edit]

In 1950, the club's home moved from the Antônio Carlos to the newer and larger Estádio Independência. The season saw another Campeonato Mineiro triumph and the club's first European tour, in which it played ten games in five countries. The excursion happened at a time when there were neither regular national competitions in Brazil nor continental ones in South America, and followed soon after the traumatic Maracanazo. The tour and Atlético's results, many of which achieved under adverse weather conditions and snow, were seen by national sports media as a historic achievement for Brazilian football itself.[25][26] The team, captained by Zé do Monte, was dubbed the Campeões do Gelo ("Ice Champions"), a title that is remembered in the club's official anthem.[27][28] The club's success in the state competition continued in the 1950s, a decade that saw the rise of forward Ubaldo and five consecutive Campeonato Mineiro victories from 1952 to 1956. After another state league title in 1958, Atlético took part in the inaugural edition of the Taça Brasil in the following year, reaching the third round.[29] The tournament, the country's first annual nationwide competition, was a cup contested between state league champions, originally created by the CBD to select Brazil's entrants in the newly formed Copa Libertadores.[30]

In the 1960s, Atlético won the Campeonato Mineiro twice, in 1962 and 1963, but failed to advance to the later stages of the Taça Brasil. Mineirão, Belo Horizonte's new stadium, opened in 1965 and immediately became the club's home. It was in the mid-1960s that the rivalry with Cruzeiro became the biggest in the state, after this club won the first five state leagues of the Mineirão era. In 1967, another national-level competition was created by the CBD, the Torneio Roberto Gomes Pedrosa.[30] It included more clubs than the Taça Brasil, but Atlético did not finish in the top-four in any of its editions in the decade. In the second half of the 1960s, highlights came in the form of friendlies against national sides. In 1968, Atlético, representing the Brazilian national team, defeated European Championship runners-up Yugoslavia 3–2 at the Mineirão;[31] the following year, the Seleção itself, which would become champions of the 1970 FIFA World Cup, was defeated 2–1.[32]

National success and state dominance (1970–89)[edit]

Middle-aged man smiling, with a football goal in the back
Dario, here pictured in 2014, was the top goalscorer and led Galo to triumph in the 1971 Brasileirão.

With the arrival of Telê Santana as the club's head coach in 1970, Galo broke Cruzeiro's sequence and won its first state league title in the Mineirão,[33] also finishing third in the last Roberto Gomes Pedrosa. In 1971, captained by midfielder Oldair and with World Cup-winning forward Dario as the league's top goalscorer, Atlético won the Campeonato Brasileiro. It was the first edition of the competition, also known as the Brasileirão, which replaced both the Taça Brasil and the Roberto Gomes Pedrosa as the new national championship.[30] Atlético played a final group stage against São Paulo and Botafogo, defeating the former 1–0 at the Mineirão and the latter 1–0 at the Maracanã.[34] The victory also secured the club's first participation in an official continental competition, the 1972 Copa Libertadores, in which it did not advance past the first group stage.[35]

After four trophyless years, Atlético won the state league again in 1976 and finished third in the Campeonato Brasileiro. That season saw the emergence of a golden generation of players, formed in the club's youth academies under coach Barbatana.[36][37] Reinaldo, Toninho Cerezo, Éder, Luizinho, Paulo Isidoro and João Leite, players who represented Brazil at international level, were central to the team that took Atlético to six consecutive state league victories between 1978 and 1983, and to good results in the Série A.[38][39] Atlético came second in the 1977 Brasileirão, losing the final to São Paulo in a penalty shootout at the Mineirão, despite remaining undefeated for the entire season. Reinaldo, the league's top scorer in that season with an average of 1.56 goals per match, was banned from the final. By his account, this was because of his insistence on celebrating his goals by raising his fist, a political symbol that opposed the Brazilian military government of the time.[40] In 1978, Atlético reached the Copa Libertadores semi-finals and won the Copa dos Campeões Brasileiros, a tournament organised by the CBD between past winners of the Brasileirão. In a repetition of the previous year's Brasileiro decisive match, the opponent in the final of this competition was São Paulo, with Atlético this time winning a penalty shootout.[41]

Brazilian footballer being tackled from behind by an Italian player
Reinaldo (right), nicknamed Rei ("King"), is Atlético's all-time top goalscorer and was part of the club's golden generation.

In 1980, after having the best record in the first stages of the Brasileirão, Atlético lost to Flamengo in a controversial final of the competition. Three Galo players were sent off, among them Reinaldo, who received a straight red card after scoring twice.[42][43][44] The team was then eliminated from the following year's Copa Libertadores undefeated, in another decisive match marked by controversy: a play-off against Flamengo that ended after 37 minutes, following the sendings-off of five Atlético players.[44][45][46] During the 1980s, the club participated in and won international friendly competitions, such as the Amsterdam Tournament and the Tournoi de Paris.[47][48] Atlético had the best statistic league records of the 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1987 Brasileirão seasons, but did not win the title, falling in the finals or semi-finals of those editions. In the second half of the decade, the club continued its success in the state, winning the Campeonato Mineiro in 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1989.[23] Atlético was one of Brazil's top sides of the 1980s, providing many players to the Brazilian national team, being dominant at state level and having good performances in the Brasileirão, but failed to win the competition due to a tendency to lose in its final knockout stages.[49][50]

Continental efforts and financial turmoil (1990–2009)[edit]

In the following decade, Atlético won the state league in 1991 and first saw success at continental level in 1992, when it won the inaugural Copa CONMEBOL. The team, managed by Procópio Cardoso, defeated Paraguay's Olimpia in the finals to claim its first official international title.[51] As champion of that competition, the club took part in the 1993 Copa de Oro, in which it eliminated rivals Cruzeiro in the semi-finals but eventually lost to Argentina's Boca Juniors.[52] After finishing fourth in the 1994 Brasileirão, the following year saw the club win the state league and reach the finals of the Copa CONMEBOL for a second time. This one ended in defeat to Argentine team Rosario Central on penalties, after Atlético won the first leg by 4–0 and lost the second one by the same score.[53] In 1996, Atlético participated in the Copa Masters CONMEBOL, a competition between past winners of the Copa CONMEBOL that was played in Cuiabá; Atlético eliminated Rosario Central in the semi-finals but lost to São Paulo in the final match.[54] The team also finished third in that year's Brasileiro and fourth in the following edition, falling in the semi-finals of both seasons. Another triumph came in the 1997 Copa CONMEBOL, when an Atlético team that included Marques and Cláudio Taffarel defeated Argentina's Lanús in the finals, and won the trophy for a second time.[55] In 1999, after another Campeonato Mineiro title, a Galo side led by Marques and Guilherme, the top scorer in the league, reached the Série A finals for the fourth time, but lost to Corinthians. Despite international success and good performances in the Série A, the decade was marked by bad club administration by Atlético's presidents and deteriorating finances, which made the club one of the most indebted in Brazilian football.[56]

In 2000, Atlético won the Campeonato Mineiro, reached the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals and the semi-finals of Copa Mercosur, but had a bad season in the national league, the Copa João Havelange. The following year, despite a good performance in the Brasileirão with a squad that included Marques, Guilherme and Gilberto Silva, the team again was eliminated in the competition's semi-finals, eventually finishing in fourth place. Atlético then finished in the upper part of the national league table in the following two seasons, but in 2004 it barely escaped relegation. In 2005 the club was demoted to the Série B, the second level of the Brasileirão.[57]

With Levir Culpi as head coach, the club won promotion at the first attempt as Série B champion in 2006, returning to the Série A for the 2007 season.[57] That year, Atlético won the Campeonato Mineiro, its first trophy in seven years, and finished eighth in the national league. Alexandre Kalil was chosen as the club's new president in 2008, and tried to improve its finances and status.[58] In 2009, with Diego Tardelli in good form, Galo led the Brasileirão for eight of the thirty-eight rounds, before eventually finishing in seventh place.[59] Despite some highlights at the beginning and end of the decade, the 2000s were not a successful period in the club's history, again marked by bad administration and frequent managerial changes.[60]

Footballer preparing to kick a ball
Ronaldinho played an important part in the club's resurgence after his arrival in 2012.

Resurgence and international success (2010–)[edit]

The team won its 40th Campeonato Mineiro in 2010, but finished 13th in the Série A. After an unsuccessful year in 2011, coming close to relegation, the arrival of Cuca as head coach at the end of that season marked the beginning of another successful era for the club.[61] The club moved back to the Independência in 2012, as the Mineirão was closed for renovation, and won the Campeonato Mineiro undefeated. The arrival of Ronaldinho in the middle of the season was an important event for the club,[62][63] which eventually finished as runner-up in the Série A and earned a spot in the following year's Copa Libertadores.[64]

Diego Tardelli and Gilberto Silva returned to the club in 2013, and joined Ronaldinho, and Bernard towards another Campeonato Mineiro triumph. The quarter-finals of that season's Copa Libertadores saw an iconic moment for Atlético, when a penalty kick was awarded to Mexican Club Tijuana in injury time. It would have meant elimination if it had been scored, but was saved by Atlético's goalkeeper Victor with his foot. The save, according to sports commentators and fans, represented the "kicking out" of the club's historic "jinx".[65][66][67] Atlético then defeated Argentina's Newell's Old Boys in the semi-finals and Olimpia in the finals on penalties, after losing both first legs by 2–0 and winning the second ones by the same score, to claim its first Copa Libertadores title.[68][69] The club's participation in the FIFA Club World Cup was unsuccessful, as it failed to reach the final, losing to Moroccan hosts Raja Casablanca; Atlético eventually finished in third place after defeating China's Guangzhou Evergrande.[70]

Under Levir Culpi, who returned to the club in 2014, Atlético won its first Recopa Sudamericana, defeating Lanús for the second time in a continental final.[71] In that season's Copa do Brasil, after trailing 0–3 on aggregate in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals (against Corinthians and Flamengo, respectively), Atlético made 4–3 comebacks and advanced.[72][73] The competition's finals were the first at national level to feature the Belo Horizonte rivals, and Atlético defeated Cruzeiro on both encounters to win its first Copa do Brasil.[74] The club's successful run in the decade continued in 2015, when it won its 43rd Campeonato Mineiro and finished second in the Campeonato Brasileiro.[75][76]

Symbols and colours[edit]

Club badge: the letters CAM in black, written in an oval shape
The first crest used by Atlético Mineiro

Crest[edit]

The club's first emblem, introduced in the 1910s, consisted of a simple design of the three initials of the club's name ("CAM" for Clube Atlético Mineiro) in an oval shape in black. The first and most significant change occurred in 1922, when an edged shield format was adopted, with the letters in its upper part and black and white stripes in the lower.[77] The crest's general appearance has been kept ever since, with only the exact format and the placement of the black and white stripes within the escutcheon changing over the decades. In the 1970s a golden star above the badge was introduced, alluding to the 1971 Série A title, which still remains.[78] Red stars were featured on two occasions, referring to the 1978 Copa dos Campeões and the 1992 and 1997 Copa CONMEBOL victories, but these were removed in 1999.[79]

A person costumed as a rooster in a football uniform
Galo Doido ("Crazy Rooster"), the club's stadium mascot.

Mascot[edit]

Atlético's mascot, a rooster, is one of the best-known in the country.[80] According to Kafunga, who played as goalkeeper for the club from 1935 to 1955, the "rooster" nickname was associated with Atlético because of its kit colours.[81] In 1945, Fernando Pierucetti, known as Mangabeira, a cartoonist for the A Folha de Minas newspaper, was selected to design mascots for each of the three biggest clubs in Belo Horizonte. According to Mangabeira, Atlético's would be the rooster because the team used to play with passion and would never give up until the end of each match, like gamecocks in cockfights.[82][83]

Over the years, the word galo (Portuguese for "rooster") became a cheering chant for the supporters and a nickname by which they referred to the club, an appellation that eventually spread to other football fans in the country.[84] The nickname was incorporated into the club's official anthem, composed by Vicente Motta in 1968, whose chorus hails Atlético as a "strong and avenging rooster".[27][85] In 1976, a costumed rooster mascot was introduced, to accompany players and children in the match entrance. The stadium mascot was reintroduced with a new costume in 2005, named Galo Doido ("Crazy Rooster") by the supporters.[86]

Kits[edit]

The club's home kit has always consisted of a black-and-white vertically striped shirt, with black shorts and white or black socks. The width of the black and white stripes has varied from season to season, as has the colour of the shirt numbers, which have usually been red, black, white or yellow. Atlético's traditional away kit is all-white shirts, shorts and socks, but has had slight variations.[87] An all-black third kit was introduced in the 2000 season, being used again in 2015.[88] In 2008, a black-and-gold vertically striped third kit was launched to commemorate the club's centenary, featuring the first crest.[89] Squad number 12 is retired from the club's kits, dedicated to the fans.[90]

Since the 1981 season, the club has had its kits manufactured by sportswear corporations, the first one being Brazilian company Rainha.[91] Atlético's kits have been manufactured since 2016 by Dryworld, which is contracted to supply the team until 2021.[92] Previously, the kits were supplied by Adidas (1983–85), Penalty (1986–90, 1992–93 and 1997–2001),[91] Dell'erba (1991), Umbro (1994–96 and 2002–04),[93] Diadora (2005–07), Lotto (2008–09), Topper (2010–12),[94] Lupo (2013),[95] and Puma (2014–2015).[96]

In 1982, bank Credireal was Atlético's first shirt sponsor.[91] After one sponsorless season in 1983, Precon, a construction company, appeared on the shirts in 1984 and 1985; it was replaced by Agrimisa bank in 1986. In 1987, Coca-Cola sponsored all participating clubs of Copa União,[97] and the brand remained on Atlético's kits until 1994. The club was subsequently sponsored by TAM Airlines (1995–96), Tenda (1997–98),[93] and had temporary deals with Fiat and Telemar in 1999.[98] Two sponsorless years followed, before permanent deals were signed with Fiat (2002–03), MRV Engenharia (2004–07) and Fiat again in 2008.[99][100] After one more season without a brand on the club's shirts, BMG, a bank that was owned by the former club president Ricardo Annes Guimarães,[101] was the main sponsor from 2010 to 2014. MRV Engenharia returned as the club's main shirt sponsor in 2015,[102] being replaced by Caixa Econômica Federal in 2016.[103]

Grounds[edit]

For the training grounds, see Cidade do Galo and Vila Olímpica.
Stadium stand, photographed from the pitch
Estádio Presidente Antônio Carlos was Atlético Mineiro's home ground from 1929 to 1950.

Atlético had its first home ground built in 1912 at Paraopeba Avenue, in downtown Belo Horizonte, across the street from América's first stadium.[104] The club's main ground for most of its early years, however, was the Presidente Antônio Carlos stadium, which held 5,000 people; it was nicknamed Estádio de Lourdes for the quarter in which it was located. The Antônio Carlos was one of the first stadiums in Brazil to feature floodlights, and opened on 30 May 1929 with a friendly against Corinthians, won by Atlético 4–2. The following year, the stadium was visited by FIFA president Jules Rimet, who watched a night game for the first time.[105] The stadium fell out of favour when the larger Independência was built in 1950, and remained largely unused by the first team; eventually it was sold by the club to the Belo Horizonte municipality in the 1960s. After decades of legal disputes with the municipal government, the property returned to the club in 1991. It was leased to a shopping mall in 1995, which was built in the following year where the stadium once was, across the street from Atlético's administrative headquarters.[106]

Stadium interior with supporters, photographed from one of its corners
Independência, the club's first choice home stadium from 1950 to 1965, and since 2012.

Construction for the Independência (officially Estádio Raimundo Sampaio) started in 1947 in preparation for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, during which its first match was played.[107] Originally the property of the State Government of Minas Gerais, ownership was transferred to Sete de Setembro FC in 1965, when the Mineirão was built, and the property passed to América in 1997, when it absorbed Sete de Setembro.[108] Before the Mineirão, the stadium was the largest in Belo Horizonte — holding up to 30,000 people — and was preferred by Atlético over the older and smaller Antônio Carlos stadium. After the Mineirão's construction, however, Atlético did not use the Estádio do Horto (as it is also known) for decades, except for a brief spell in the late 1990s. The stadium was renovated in 2012, while the Mineirão was closed, having its capacity reduced to 23,018. In that year, Atlético announced a deal with BWA Arenas, the stadium manager. The club signed a contract to use the Independência as its home ground for 10 years, which has happened since then, except in important and high-attendance matches.[19]

Stadium interior, photographed from behind one of the goals
Mineirão, Atlético's ground for most of its history, was renovated for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and is used for important matches.

Mineirão (officially Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto) opened in 1965, and quickly became the home of both Atlético and Cruzeiro,[109] as its peak capacity of over 100,000 spectators surpassed any other stadium in Belo Horizonte or in the state. The property of the state of Minas Gerais, Mineirão was Atlético's home from its opening until it closed in 2010 for renovations prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The club temporarily moved to Arena do Jacaré in Sete Lagoas and subsequently to Independência in 2012.[110] Historically the club's home ground, Atlético's most important matches have all been played at the Mineirão, a fact that has continued even after Independência became the first-choice home stadium again.[111][112] After the renovation, the Mineirão has an overall capacity of 61,846.[2]

Cidade do Galo ("Rooster City"), the club's main training facility since 2001, has been lauded as the best in Brazil and is considered one of the best in the world;[113][114] it hosted the Argentina national football team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[115] Other facilities owned by the club include Vila Olímpica ("Olympic Village"), the old training grounds opened in 1973 that hosted the Seleção in its preparation for the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and Labareda, a leisure and health club in Belo Horizonte.[105] In 2015, Daniel Nepomuceno, the club president, announced that Atlético had a four-year project to build a new stadium in Belo Horizonte, with a 45,000 capacity.[116][117]

Supporters[edit]

Football crowd inside a stadium
A massa supporting Atlético Mineiro at the Mineirão in 2013

Atlético Mineiro was founded by liberal, upper-class students, but from an early age it opened its doors to players from every social class, nationality or ethnicity, which earned it a "people's club" status in Belo Horizonte and in the state. América, meanwhile, had a reputation as an elitist club, and Cruzeiro was strongly associated with the local Italian colony.[5][6][118] As a result of the popular support, the fans came to be collectively known as "A Massa" (Portuguese for "the mass").[119] According to a 2014 survey conducted by IBOPE and Lance!, the club is the best-supported in Belo Horizonte and in Minas Gerais, and has the sixth largest fanbase in Brazil, with seven million supporters.[8] A 2014 survey by Datafolha, however, shows Atlético as the second best-supported club in Minas Gerais and tenth in Brazil.[120]

Atlético has many torcidas organizadas that support the club, the oldest being Dragões da FAO, founded in 1969, and the largest and best-known being Galoucura. Other notable groups include Galö Metal, Movimento 105 Minutos and the Charanga, a brass band that plays during the club's home matches.[121] Galoucura has historically developed alliances with other torcidas in Brazil, most notably Palmeiras's Mancha Verde and Vasco da Gama's Força Jovem.[122] After difficult but successful comebacks in 2013 and 2014, the fans have adopted the motto "Eu acredito" ("I believe") to support the club in against-the-odds situations.[123][124] Squad number 12 is retired from the club's kits and dedicated to the fans.[90]

Line graph
Chart with Atlético Mineiro's average attendances in the national league from 1971 to 2015

Atlético has had the best average attendance in nine editions of the Série A since 1972, and has the second highest all-time average attendance in Brazilian football.[125] The club also ranks second in all-time total attendance in the national league, with more than 13 million tickets sold in 581 home matches as of the 2014 season.[126][127][128] The second leg of the 2013 Copa Libertadores finals between Atlético and Olimpia, played at the Mineirão and attended by 58,620 people, had the highest gate receipt revenue of all time in South American football, yielding R$14.2 million (€4.8 million at the time).[129]

In 1999, the club introduced Galo de Prata ("Silver Rooster"), a trophy officially awarded by Atlético to sportspeople, illustrious supporters, artists, politicians, and organisations that somehow promote the club's name.[130] Since the implementation of municipal and state laws in 2007 and 2008, Dia do Atleticano ("Atleticano Day") is officially celebrated in Belo Horizonte and Minas Gerais every year on 25 March, the day of the club's foundation.[131][132] Atlético launched TV Galo in 2007, a premium television channel that provides content for fans such as interviews with players and staff, coverage of training sessions and matches, footballing news, and other themed programming.[133] Since 2012, the club has an affiliation programme called Galo na Veia, in which supporters can become season ticket holders or pay monthly fees to buy match tickets at reduced price.[134]

Rivalries[edit]

Football fans inside a stadium
Atlético Mineiro supporters during a 2007 Clássico Mineiro match held at the Mineirão

The local rivalry between Atlético and Cruzeiro, known as the Clássico Mineiro ("Mineiro Derby"), exists since Cruzeiro's foundation (as Sociedade Esportiva Palestra Itália) in 1921. It strengthened in the 1940s, and became the biggest derby in Minas Gerais in the 1960s.[6][135] Atlético dominated the rivalry from its early days until the 1950s, but Cruzeiro rose in the 1960s to be a strong challenger, and the 1970s had divided honours.[136] The 1980s were dominated by Atlético, while the 1990s and 2000s were favourable to Cruzeiro. In the 2010s, Atlético achieved an eleven-game undefeated run against its rival, running from 2013 to 2015. The clubs dissent over the number of matches and head-to-head record of the Clássico Mineiro, but both team's statistics show Atlético with most wins in the encounter.[137] The only national final between the two clubs happened in the 2014 Copa do Brasil, when Atlético triumphed in a final match played at the Mineirão.[74] The Clássico's most extreme result was a 9–2 win by Atlético, in the 1927 Campeonato Mineiro.[138][139]

Atlético versus América was known as the Clássico das Multidões ("Derby of the Masses") before the construction of the Mineirão, as they were the most popular clubs in the state.[140] In their first years, América was known as an elitist club, while Atlético had popular appeal;[5] the former dominated the early years of the encounter, winning ten consecutive Campeonato Mineiro titles from 1916 to 1925. In the 1930s, Atlético pioneered professionalization of football in Minas Gerais, whereas América resisted against it. From that time on, Galo became the major force between the two, with América suffering a setback as a result of its internal disagreements regarding professionalism.[141]

Atlético also holds a rivalry with Flamengo of Rio de Janeiro, with the first match between the clubs being played in 1929. Until regular national competitions were introduced in Brazilian football in 1959, however, the encounters were played at friendly level, since the clubs are from different states. The rivalry developed in the 1980s, rising from numerous controversial encounters between the two clubs in Campeonato Brasileiro and Copa Libertadores editions of the period. It remained through the following decades, and is considered the biggest interstate rivalry in Brazilian football.[142]

Records and statistics[edit]

Player on the pitch
Bernard, who won the 2013 Copa Libertadores with Atlético, is the club's record sale.

João Leite holds Atlético's official appearance record, with 684 matches in all competitions.[143] Reinaldo is the club's all-time leading goalscorer, with 255 goals, since joining the first squad in 1973.[144] In the 1977 season, he scored 28 goals in 18 appearances, setting the club record for the most Brasileirão goals in a season, and the best average goal-per-game record in the league.[145] Dadá Maravilha is second in total goals, with 211, and the only other Atlético player to score over 200 goals.[146] Argentine striker Lucas Pratto is Atlético's all-time top foreign goalscorer, with 32 goals.[147][148] Telê Santana is Galo's longest-serving head coach, having taken charge of the team for 434 matches during three periods in the 1970s and 1980s.[149] Nelson Campos is the club's longest-serving president, with nine years in the office in three terms.[150]

The first official game in which Atlético participated was against Yale for the 1915 Campeonato Mineiro, which the team won 5–0.[151] The biggest victory ever recorded by Galo was 13–0, against Calafate in the 1927 Campeonato Mineiro. In the national league, the biggest win came against Desportiva Ferroviária — 7–1 in the 1982 season.[152] The club's home attendance record — split-crowd derbies excepted — is 115,142, in a friendly against Flamengo at the Mineirão, in 1980. The record attendance in official matches is 113,749, achieved in a match against Santos for the 1983 Brasileirão.[153] Atlético holds the Brazilian record for longest unbeaten run at home, with 54 matches from 2011 to 2013.[154][155] The signing of André from Dynamo Kyiv in 2012 is the club's most expensive purchase, costing around €8 million.[156] Atlético's record sale is the transfer of Bernard to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, which cost the Ukrainian club €25 million.[157]

Organisation and finances[edit]

As is the case for most Brazilian football clubs, Atlético Mineiro's by-law defines the club as a not-for-profit public utility organization, formed by associates (sócios).[158] The club's administrative powers are the General Assembly, the Deliberative Council, the Board, the Fiscal Council and the Ethics and Discipline Council. The General Assembly, composed of all associates, elects the Deliberative Council among its members every three years, which in turn elects and removes the club's Board, responsible for the executive management of the club.[158] Season ticket-holders and participants of the Galo na Veia affiliation programme, called sócios-torcedores, are not full club associates and cannot vote or be elected.[159]

A research conducted by BDO in 2015 indicated that the club had a brand value of R$394.8 million (€122.7 million), making it the ninth most valuable in Brazil.[12] In terms of annual turnover, Atlético ranked seventh in the country in 2015, earning R$244.6 million (€62.2 million), which represented a 37 per cent increase compared to the previous year.[13][160] The club has a main sponsorship deal with Caixa Econômica Federal, worth R$12.5 million (€3.2 million) annually.[103] Its kit sponsorship deal with Dryworld, worth R$20 million (€5.1 million) per year, is the third biggest in the country.[161]

The club's gross debt as of 2015 was R$496.5 million (€126.6 million), the third largest in Brazil, with a R$11.9 million (€3 million) deficit in the same year.[13] The club's balance sheet in that year stated it experienced operational losses, and according to a study by Itaú BBA, Atlético operates in a dangerous "financial all-in".[160][162] The majority of the club's debt is owed to the Federal Government of Brazil, totalling R$286.6 million (€89.1 million). In 2015, after a law sanctioned by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Atlético and other clubs joined a government programme for debt financing.[163]

In popular culture[edit]

Atlético Mineiro and episodes in the club's history have been featured on films and other media. The music video for "É Uma Partida de Futebol" ("It's a Football Match") by Brazilian rock band Skank was filmed during a 1997 Clássico Mineiro match between Atlético and Cruzeiro; the video won three categories at the 1997 MTV Video Music Brazil awards.[164] An Atlético match was also portrayed in a Martian Manhunter comic book, by DC Comics, in 2015.[165] The protagonist in Romance Policial, a 2014 Brazilian action drama film, is a supporter of the club (as is the actor who portrayed him, Daniel de Oliveira).[166]

A short film about goalkeeper Victor's iconic penalty-kick save against Tijuana in the 2013 Copa Libertadores was released in 2014; named A Dream You Dream Together Is Reality, it was awarded the Guirlande D'Honneur by the International Sport Movies TV Federation (FICTS).[167] In the following year, O Dia do Galo, a documentary that followed ten Atlético supporters on the day of the final match of the same competition, was released in theatres as a feature film. The motion picture was one of the most watched Brazilian films of 2015, and won the Popular Jury award at the Mostra de Cinema de Tiradentes.[168][169] O Imortal do Gelo, a film about the club's 1950 tour to Europe, was released in 2015.[170]

Honours[edit]

Atlético Mineiro's first trophy was the Taça Bueno Brandão, won in 1914. The club was the first winner of the Campeonato Mineiro, the state league of Minas Gerais, a competition it has won a record 43 times; it has also won the Taça Minas Gerais, a state cup, on five occasions. At national level, Atlético has won the Campeonato Brasileiro once, while finishing second on five seasons; it has also won one Copa do Brasil, one Copa dos Campeões Estaduais and the Copa dos Campeões Brasileiros. In international competitions, Atlético has won the Copa Libertadores and the Recopa Sudamericana once each, and a record two Copa CONMEBOL trophies; the club has also finished as runner-up of the Copa CONMEBOL, the Copa de Oro and the Copa Master de CONMEBOL. The club has competed in the FIFA Club World Cup once, finishing in third place. The club's most recent title is the 2015 Campeonato Mineiro.[171]

International[edit]

Winner (1): 2013
Winner (2): 1992, 1997 (record)
Winner (1): 2014

Domestic[edit]

National

Winner (1): 1971
Winner (1): 2014
Winner (1): 1937
Winner (1): 1978
Winner (1): 2006

State

Winner (43): 1915, 1926, 1927, 1931, 1932, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1970, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 (record)
Winner (5): 1975, 1976, 1979, 1986, 1987 (record)

Players[edit]

For a list of all former and current Atlético Mineiro players with a Wikipedia article, see Category:Clube Atlético Mineiro players.

Current squad[edit]

As of 20 July 2016[178]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Brazil GK Victor (Vice-captain)
2 Brazil DF Marcos Rocha
3 Brazil DF Leonardo Silva (Captain)
4 Ecuador DF Frickson Erazo
5 Brazil MF Rafael Carioca
6 Brazil DF Douglas Santos
7 Brazil FW Robinho
8 Brazil MF Leandro Donizete
9 Argentina FW Lucas Pratto
10 Argentina MF Jesús Dátolo
11 Ecuador MF Juan Cazares
13 Brazil FW Carlos
15 Brazil DF Edcarlos
17 Brazil FW Hyuri
18 Brazil MF Lucas Cândido
19 Brazil DF Carlos César
20 Brazil GK Giovanni
21 Brazil MF Júnior Urso (on loan from Shandong Luneng)
No. Position Player
22 Brazil MF Carlos Eduardo
23 Brazil FW Clayton
25 Brazil MF Yago
26 Brazil DF Tiago
27 Brazil FW Luan
28 Brazil FW Capixaba
29 Brazil DF Patric
30 Brazil MF Eduardo
31 Brazil DF Gabriel
32 Brazil GK Uilson
33 Brazil DF Ronaldo
36 Brazil FW João Figueiredo
38 Brazil DF Jesiel
39 Brazil DF Fábio Santos
70 Brazil MF Maicosuel
99 Brazil FW Fred
Venezuela MF Rómulo Otero

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Brazil GK Lauro (at Ceará)
Brazil GK Rodolfo (at Boa Esporte)
Brazil DF Alex Silva (at Sport Recife)
Brazil DF Emerson (at Botafogo)
Brazil DF Eron (at Atlético Goianiense)
Brazil MF Dodô (at Figueirense)
Brazil MF Fillipe Soutto (at Linense)
No. Position Player
Brazil MF Leleu (at Madureira)
Brazil MF Renan Oliveira (at Náutico)
Brazil MF Maicosuel (at Al Sharjah)
Brazil FW Henrique (at Bahia)
Brazil FW Marion (at Estoril)
Brazil FW Rafael Moura (at Figueirense)
Brazil FW Wescley (at Ferroviária)

Management[edit]

Team management[edit]

Atlético Mineiro's technical and medical staff is composed of permanent members in all positions, except head coach and assistant coach.[179]

Position Name
Head coach Brazil Marcelo Oliveira
Assistant coach Brazil Tico
Brazil Eduardo Abdo
Technical Supervisor Brazil Carlos Alberto Isidoro
Technical Coordinator Brazil Carlinhos Neves
Fitness coach Brazil Luís Otávio Kalil
Brazil Juvenilson de Souza
Goalkeeping coach Brazil Francisco Cersósimo
Sports Technology Assistant Brazil Alexandre Ceolin
Scout Brazil Bernardo Motta
Doctor Brazil Rodrigo Lasmar
Brazil Marcus Vinícius
Brazil Otaviano Oliveira
Physiotherapist Brazil Rômulo Frank
Brazil Guilherme Fialho
Physiologist Brazil Roberto Chiari
Dentist Brazil Marcelo Lasmar
Nutritionist Brazil Evandro Vasconcelos
Brazil Natália Carvalho
Masseur Brazil Belmiro Oliveira
Brazil Eduardo Vasconcelos
Brazil Hélio Gomes
Field Assistant Brazil Rubens Pinheiro
Kit manager Brazil João de Deus
Brazil Luciano Caxeado

Last updated: 20 May 2016
Source: Comissão Técnica – Atlético (Portuguese)

Club board[edit]

The club's board took office on 3 December 2014, with its term ending on 31 December 2017.[180]

Position Name
President Brazil Daniel Nepomuceno
Vice-President Brazil Manuel Bravo Saramago
President of the Board Brazil Emir Cadar
Vice-President of the Board Brazil Castellar Guimarães Filho
Director of Football Brazil Eduardo Maluf
Director of Management Brazil Rodolfo Gropen
Executive Director Brazil Adriana Branco
Director of Legal Affairs Brazil Lásaro Cândido da Cunha
Director of Finance Brazil Carlos Fabel
Director of Communications Brazil Domênico Bhering
Youth Department Director Brazil André Figueiredo
Vila Olímpica Director Brazil Edéferson Araújo
Labareda Director Brazil Idalmo Constantino da Silva

Other departments[edit]

Futsal[edit]

Atlético Mineiro opened its futsal department in the 1960s, achieving victories at state level in the following decades, and winning the Taça Brasil in 1985.[181] In the late 1990s, the team, named Atlético Pax de Minas for sponsorship reasons, was prominent at national and international level. With players such as Manoel Tobias, Falcão and Lenísio in the squad, Atlético won the Brazilian Liga Futsal twice, in 1997 and 1999, and the Intercontinental Futsal Cup in 1998, being runner-up of both competitions in 2000.[182] In the second leg of the 1999 Liga Futsal finals against Rio de Janeiro, the attendance at Mineirinho was 25,713, a world record in the sport.[183] In 2000, the sponsorship deal with Pax de Minas ended and Atlético's professional senior futsal team folded in the following year, with the youth sectors remaining.[184] The club's futsal department ceased operations in 2009.[185]

Olympic sports[edit]

Atlético Mineiro had departments for other Olympic sports throughout its history, with the athletics and volleyball ones achieving notability. In 1983, runner João da Mata won the São Silvestre road race as an Atlético athlete.[186] In 2007, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Alice Timbilil won the male and female categories of the same race, and celebrated their victory with Atlético flags. The club's board stated that the athletes had been sponsored as a marketing strategy.[187] Atlético's men's volleyball department won the Minas Gerais Volleyball Championship a total of twelve times, ranking second in the state for most titles. The team had an especially successful period in the early 1980s, under the administrative management of Alexandre Kalil, who became club president in 2009.[188]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]