Gifts from Atlético Madrid

Links With The Past: Gifts From Atlético Madrid In 1961

John Hutchinson continues his Links With The Past series by looking at some special gifts offered to Leicester City by Atlético Madrid in 1961.
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The UEFA Europa League, established in 2009, was developed from earlier European competitions which included the European Cup Winners' Cup (1961-99) and the UEFA Cup (1972-2009)

In both of these earlier competitions, Leicester City faced Atlético Madrid, first in 1961 and then in 1997. They also, of course, met Los Rojiblancos in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in 2017.

When Leicester City played Atlético in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1961 this knockout competition was in only the second year of its 39-year existence.

The silver tray engraved with the Atlético club crest together with details (in Spanish) of the tie, was presented to the Club’s directors prior to the first leg at Filbert Street on 25 October, 1961. 

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Leicester City 1961
Leicester City 1961

The 1961/62 Leicester City first team squad, pictured at Filbert Street.

Despite sealing an encouraging 1-1 draw in the first leg at Filbert Street, when Ken Keyworth's opener was cut out in the last minute by Mendoza, heartbreak was to follow in the Spanish capital.

Leicester's first of three competitive visits to the Vicente Calderón would end in a 2-0 defeat for Matt Gillies' men as Atlético gathered steam in an ultimately successful bid to lift the trophy.

After the match in Madrid, the directors and players were presented with an impressive statuette of Don Quixote a fictional knight created by Cervantes in his 17th century novel which is one of the most influential works in Spanish literature.

The statuette is made of brass, has a marble base and is very heavy. The Leicester City directors were also presented with a large bottle of Pedro Domecq Carlos III brandy. The label on the bottle was signed by the Atlético players.

Fifty-nine years later, there is still some brandy left in the bottle.

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