Postcard from... Madrid


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The Independent Online

Will it be Cibeles or Neptuno? By Saturday evening one of the fountains that dissect Madrid’s main thoroughfare, the Castellana, will be packed with fans of either Real or Atletico.

For the first time in football history, the final of the Champions’ League will involve two clubs from the same the city. And for fans of the victor, the fountains – Cibeles for Real, Neptuno for Atletico – become the focal point of celebrations, shutting down the city centre.

The supporters are ready. Real Madrid is the establishment team of the city and are chasing La Décima, their record 10th European Cup victory. A victory for the team on Saturday will put to bed any debate that they are the European football’s greatest club.

If, on the other hand Atletico wins, then for the second time in a week, Neptuno – just a few hundred metres away - will again be overrun in red and white. Last Saturday, Atleti won the Spanish championship for the first time in 18 years, and that with a wage bill much, much lower than their local rivals. Diego Simeone’s team bettered Real in the league, but with their star striker injured for Saturday’s final, Real must be the favourites.

Whoever wins, Madrid will be the place for a fiesta on Saturday night – and for the winning team, expect it to last well into Sunday.