Madrid joy as ‘jinxed’ Atletico change luck

Madrid

An internet montage of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho with the latter saying to the former: “Come around my house and we’ll watch the Champions League final together” summed up the mood in the Spanish capital yesterday.

The departure of two of the world’s greatest managers over the past two years has not dimmed La Liga’s light; instead, Spanish football is shining brighter than ever. Real Madrid had reached the final without Mourinho and even with Guardiola and his all-conquering Barcelona side long gone, Spain still had two teams in the final.

There was special pride in Madrid as they woke up to the prospect of the first-ever Champions League final between two teams from the same city. This is the capital that has twice been overlooked as Olympic hosts. Its capacity for putting on a sporting celebration has never been in doubt and yesterday when the Atletico players touched down at 5.30am at Barajas airport it felt as though the 2,000 supporters who watched them win 3-1 at Chelsea had flown back just before them to welcome them off the plane.

“Madrid in heaven” ran the front page of Diario AS and Marca jumped to the inevitable conclusion of this year’s Champions League – there will be “Spanish Champions”.

The Atletico coach, Diego Simeone, had spoken of “three big teams and one small team out to annoy the others,” ahead of the semi-final draw. It was his very own version of Mourinho’s “little horse in the three-horse title race” and it proved to be true. Atletico were back in a European Cup final for the first time since they lost 40 years ago to Bayern Munich  4-0 in a replay in Brussels, having been moments from winning the original game 1-0 before a late equaliser.

They have long since been known as the jinxed team of Madrid. Their famous advertising campaign in which a young boy asks his father: “Dad, why do we support Atletico?” demonstrates their traditional sense of disappointment, but Simeone has blown away that mood.

“This team is his work of art” said AS, claiming Simeone had won the tactical battle against Mourinho. It praised the back four that has not lost a game all season when it has been together and Thibaut Courtois, the goalkeeper borrowed from Chelsea whose save from John Terry when the score was 1-1 proved crucial, was called the main author of his parent club’s downfall.

Mourinho was criticised for not greeting Courtois in the tunnel before the game, though clearly if he had it would have been interpreted as an attempt at mind games.

There were endless replays on television of Arda Turan’s goal, the strike from Adrian Lopez – his first in 21 games – and those 75 seconds when Diego Costa struggled with the penalty spot before dispatching the kick.

The only people in Madrid not entirely satisfied were the Real players, who wanted to face their former coach Mourinho in the final and even had their “preening themselves in the mirror” celebrations at the ready in response to his comments about their vanity in Esquire two months ago.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits