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City team to don Atletico colours

New Delhi: Last Wednesday, fans remained glued to the television sets and watched in awe as Atletico Madrid pulled off a stunning victory over Barcelona to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

The “Los Rojiblancos” were in splendid form as they stopped the Lionel Messis and the Neymars from reaching the last four in Europe.

Come September, the Calcutta-outfit in the Indian Super League (ISL) will play in Atletico colours, at the Salt Lake Stadium, after the famous Spanish side joined hands with former India captain Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh and bought the rights of the franchise.

Immediately after the ISL organisers, IMG-Reliance, announced the names of the eight franchises, Atletico said the franchise would be wearing their famed red-and-white colours in the ISL.

“Atletico de Madrid Calcutta will compete against the seven teams in Indian Super League and represent the traditional colours of Rojiblanco,” the club said in a statement.

The club also stated that buying stakes in the franchise is also a part of their global expansion plan.

“Atletico Madrid has first been introduced by a group of private investors, led by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, to the Indian football market, and will collaborate in translating Atletico’s unique characteristics and strong image to Atletico de Madrid Kolkata,” the statement added.

Through this franchise, the club said, it will work to enhance the level of football in India, and help design a series of growth models relating to sports, commercial opportunities, marketing, and communication.

They will also utilise their sporting and management expertise in promoting sports and developing the franchise.

“India also has traditional and cultural tie to the sport of football.

“The Indian diaspora continue to engage actively in all major European football leagues including the Spanish league.

“So Atletico de Madrid believes that establishment of the new franchise in India will help develop a stronger link with 1.2 billion Indians to create a strong foundation and passion for the sport,” the statement said.