Earlier today, Atlético Madrid won a preseason tournament in Germany called the Audi Cup, defeating Liverpool and pissing off manager Jurgen Klopp. (“Atletico wanted to win the cup. We did also, but we also wanted to play football. Atletico only wanted to win the cup,” Klopp said.)
The La Liga season begins in less than three weeks – though soccer never really ends; While Atletico has toured the world, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been in the US for what seems like months.
As the regular season and Champions League group stage approach, I’ve been thinking about my favorite soccer moment of the past year: A Champions League group stage match between Atlético and Bayern Munich at the Vicente Calderón with my wife on the second night of our honeymoon.
Atlético won 1-0 on a goal by Yannick Carrasco, but the way I got tickets was almost as memorable as the match because it took real selflessness and work from strangers on Reddit.
In August 2016, I posted on /r/atletico – the main colchonero subreddit – asking for advice on the best way to get a ticket for the match with Bayern. I explained that I would be in Madrid that week on my honeymoon and that I had spent several hours trying to get tickets through Ticketmaster.es, using all of my credit cards, my wife’s cards and even some friends’ cards before trying to work with my bank’s customer service agents. I finally realized I probably couldn’t purchase from the club website or from Ticketmaster.es because of some IP address issues. The likely firewall prevents a German broker from scooping up all the tickets and selling them to Bayern fans, but screws traveling supporters.
I also emailed the club, but they were slow to respond.
A reddit user in Madrid DM’d me to say he would like to help. He and I continued the conversation through email and he offered to work his connections among season-ticket holders to get a pair of tickets. He found a friend who couldn’t go and actually bought the tickets. Even before I sent him money through Paypal (no charge for exchanging dollars to euros!).
The guy really went above and beyond to help my wife and me get tickets to the match. We had an incredible experience and sat behind the net where Carrasco scored the game’s only goal in the first half. It was the first time my wife had attended an Atlético match and the man’s kindness enabled us to experience a powerful gameday atmosphere during the last season at the Calderón together.