The club was founded in 1947. Atletico Nacional was the first Colombian team to win the Copa Libertadores de América, they did so in 1989, and were also runner-ups in 1995. The winning of this cup was done in a special manner since all of the team's players were Colombian and thus Atletico Nacional earned the nickname of the "Puros Criollos."
Atlético Nacional was home to international stars like Faustino Asprilla, René Higuita, Víctor Aristizábal, Andres Escobar, Iván Córdoba, Leonel Alvarez, Alexis García, Albeiro Usuriaga, Aquivaldo Mosquera Mauricio Serna, Juan Pablo Angel and others. The best foreigners: Cesar Cueto and Oscar Rossi
The team wears green and white vertically striped jerseys. The team is actually owned by the Organización Ardila Lülle. Nacional's Mascot is the Nacho with green and white striped as it is the team's uniform. Nacho was created in 1998.
For fifteen years, from 1989 to 2004, the team was regarded as the first and only team to win the Copa Libertadores (until Once Caldas won over Boca Juniors), and until 1999, the only Colombian team to win any major international tournament (America de Cali, winning over Independiente Santa Fe the Copa Merconorte).