They still sing about the Champions League final of 2014 at the Bernabeu. Every home match without fail the Real Madrid faithful pose the question to their cross-city rivals “Atleti, tell me how it feels to have lost the final?”
They would have gone on singing about it for decades had fate not given Los Rojiblancos a chance for revenge.
Twenty four months after the first ever city derby in the final of the world’s premier club competition, the two giants from Madrid return, with Diego Simeone’s men looking to make amends for Sergio Ramos’ 93rd minute header. Of course, the Atletico manager and his players will not speak about revenge.
For them, it is more about making history and being crowned champions of Europe for the first time in the club’s 113 years of existence. Speak to their fans however, and getting even with the rivals who have dominated them for decades is very much at the top of their priority list.
That dominance however has dissipated somewhat since the arrival of Simeone in the Spanish capital, with the Argentine ending a 14 year wait for a derby win by beating Los Blancos in the final of the Copa Del Rey at the Bernabeu in 2013.
Since then the two sides have met 15 times in four different competitions, with Real Madrid winning just three of those meetings in 90 minutes (and of course claiming a fourth win in extra time in Lisbon). Atletico have not quite become Real Madrid’s bogey team, but they do know how to play against their more illustrious rivals and sticking to their rigid game plan has often proved successful.
Nevertheless, Atleti remain outsiders and in truth that is how they like it. They were outsiders against both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the previous two rounds and produced a magnificent team effort to progress.
Previous finals on the peninsula have seen a high number of penalty shootouts, with four of the nine matches going the distance and another lasting into extra-time The 2016 Champions League final will be the fourth held at the San Siro in Milan, and will see both sides of Madrid fighting for the crown.
In doing so, the city of Madrid will become the most successful city in European competition, having won 11 cups and reaching 17 finals. These figures will both be records, taking the Spanish capital ahead of, coincidentally, Milan. Zidane eye Cruyff, Ancelotti ‘s record Zinedine Zidane will join an exclusive list of men to have won the Champions League as both a player and a coach if Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Since the inception of the European Cup in 1955, only six individuals have enjoyed success both on the pitch and in the dugout in the continent’s most prestigious competition.
The first was Miguel Munoz, who was the captain of the Real Madrid team that won the first two European Champion Clubs’ Cup competitions in 1956 and 1957 before guiding them to two more titles as a coach in 1960 and 1966. His feat was not repeated until 1985, when Giovanni Trapattoni followed up his two victories in the competition with AC Milan in 1963 and 1969 with a winning campaign in charge of Juventus.
Seven years later, Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona were the final winners of the European Cup before the change in format to the Champions League. The Dutchman had won three in a row as one of the world’s best players with Ajax. Carlo Ancelotti played in midfield in AC Milan’s back-to-back triumphs in 1989 and 1990.
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