Ours is not a time of rationality, but a time of feelings. And this holds true not only in politics; it has a more popular and visible version in sports. While Barça prides itself on being “more than a club,” other clubs invoke other things, though perhaps in this matter of identifying with a club the most committed are fans sharing an “athletic feeling.” This sentiment was imprinted on the collective memory of events that had taken place at Vicente Calderón Stadium. But from here onwards, Atlético de Madrid fans will have to face the challenge of building up a new chest of memories associated with the home arena. Alas, the club’s owners have in choosing the name ‘Wanda Metropolitano’ made it hard for this to happen.
Nevertheless, the Atlético players, at first rather skeptical about the operation that threw them out of the Manzanares bank and out to a non-place, have accepted the new icon, and demonstrated as much at the inaugural match. And after all, the stadium’s surroundings may seem like a terrain vague in for many more years of anonymity, and access problems will linger until the transport infrastructures planned are completed, but architecturally, Wanda Metropolitano has some powerful moments. Although the way the stands of the preexisting stadium – the peineta (ornamental comb) – make contact with the cantilever of the new roof – the boina (beret) – is rather below par, this tensed roof of elegant geometry that Cruz & Ortiz tried out in the Olympic Stadium of Seville proves able, inside, to generate an image that is both vigorous and welcoming. The club’s fans will attest to this.