Arguably the best coach in Atletico Madrid’s history and the only person who led all three Spanish powerhouses, including Real Madrid and Barcelona, Radomir Antic, passed away today. It is the No.1 news in Spain, the country overwhelmed with COVID-19 pandemic.
Mister, as his friends called him, had health issues in recent times, and after a tough battle, died today in his home in Madrid. Antic had 71 years. Atletico confirmed the news releasing the announcement on its Twitter account.
“Atletico’s family mourns today, for its legend. Radomir Antic.” wrote.
La familia atlética está de luto por el fallecimiento de uno de nuestros entrenadores legendarios: Radomir Antic. Siempre estarás en nuestros corazones. Descanse en paz. ➡ https://t.co/lnE5FL0lWt pic.twitter.com/50mgGMf51p
— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) April 6, 2020
Antic was the creator of one of the best teams in Atletico’s history. In the 1995/96 season, he would win the double with Atleti, stunning not only the Spanish fans but the entire continent. Club’s today’s coach Diego Simeone was a part of that crew, along with Kiko, Jose Luis Caminero, Lyboslav Penev, and the heart and soul of the team Milinko Pantic.
Throughout his coaching career, he led Atletico three times, jumping in to help when needed the most, stabilizing the team, and leaving afterward.
Those were his role in Barcelona and Real Madrid too.
Antic took over the Los Blancos after a catastrophic 1991 campaign, making them the No.1 team in La Liga already next season. Back then, Antic created a respectable squad with a few youngsters who later turned out to be club’s legends.
However, Real’s president at the time, Ramon Mendoza, made some pretty unreasonable moves, and eventually, he sacked Antic, with the team holding the first place in league with seven points of advantage and reaching the semifinals of the UEFA Cup. His favorite Leo Beenhakker managed to waste all that and to lose both the title and to be eliminated in the semifinals. By the way, the title was lost in the last round against Barcelona.
Regarding Barcelona, Antic came to Camp Nou in January 2003, as a person who needed to save the team from the relegation. At the time, Barcelona was fighting for its life, which is a bit hard to believe from this perspective. However, he made some changes that established Barcelona’s game as we know it today. Antic brought in Andres Iniesta to the first team, he found Xavi his natural position, where he became one of the best midfielders ever, and also left a fantastic foundation for Frank Rijkaard who replaced him after Joan Laporta took over the club as the new president at the end of the year.
Both Real and Barca shared the news about the death of their former coach on their social networks. Sergio Ramos would also express mourn, sending an emotional message in Twitter.
“Our rivalry with Atletico was even greater because of you. Goodbye unique coach: ATM, FCB, RM. RIP Radomir Antic.”
Hiciste más grande al @Atleti, hiciste más grande nuestra rivalidad. Adiós a una trayectoria única: ATM, FCB y RM, entre otros. DEP Radomir Antic
— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) April 6, 2020
As we said, Antic is the only person in history to lead all three Spanish powerhouses and one of two who had the honor to lead Barca and Real.
Apart from clubs, he led the Serbian national team managing to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. The Serbs had everything in their hands back then but failed to progress to the knockout stage, after losing to Australia and Ghana but beating Germany.
And to add that despite all the speculations, COVID-19 wasn’t the reason for Antic’s death.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.