Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid - When the fans face off
Atletico Madrid host La Liga leaders Real Madrid on Saturday in the last local derby at their Vicente Calderon stadium.cricket Updated: Nov 18, 2016 15:51 IST
Atletico Madrid host La Liga leaders Real Madrid on Saturday in the last local derby at their Vicente Calderon stadium.
Atletico will be seeking to avenge May’s Champions League final defeat on penalties.
Here is what supporters have to say about the game.
Jorge Fernandez, Atletico Madrid fan and journalist for Diario AS
“After the Champions League final Atletico fans felt empty, incredulous and powerless.
“The faces of fans leaving the San Siro portrayed profound sadness, because of how the final went and how tough Atletico’s path to the final had been compared to Real’s. We felt that trophy belonged to us.
“Real may have beaten Atletico in the last three years in the Champions League but we don’t feel they have the upper hand. Diego Simeone has changed the narrative of the derby by returning Atletico to their historical place.
“It’s no coincidence that Real haven’t beaten us in the league since 2013, the year Atletico ended a 14-year drought in the derby by beating Real in the King’s Cup final at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“That was the day Atletico players proved they could win trophies and take on the best teams in the world, and they have kicked on since, beating the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Now beating Real is no longer an obsession for us, winning the Champions League is.
“Another thing Simeone has done is recover Atletico’s traditional values, like fighting until the end, making the opposition feel uncomfortable and instilling pride in the team.
“Above all, he is (all about) quality coaching: just look at how he has taken so many ordinary players and turned them into stars.
“The latest example is Yannick Carrasco, the stand out player of the season so far. He has been the key to the team’s evolution into a more attractive team, with his pace, dribbling ability and deadly shot, which Atletico are going to need more than ever on Saturday.”
Tomas Roncero, Real Madrid supporter and journalist for Diario AS
“Real are hugely motivated by the idea of winning the last derby at the Vicente Calderon and giving Atletico one last nightmare in that stadium. It would taste great.
“Our recent record in the derby is strange because we’ve beaten Atletico three times out of three in the Champions League, but they’ve got our number in the league.
“It’s surprising because Atletico went 14 years without beating us and now the tables have turned. But every run has an expiry date and we’re confident we’ll bring it to an end on Saturday.
“The criticism Zinedine Zidane has received recently is curious. Yes, there have been some poor displays, but Zidane has been questioned for drawing games, while Atletico and Barcelona have lost two games each in the league. Real are unbeaten.
“I think he is a great coach. What he did last season was miraculous: he inherited a team and dressing room that was broken and the supporters were disenchanted after the reign of Rafa Benitez. In five months he made us champions of Europe.
“Another person who has been questioned of late is Cristiano Ronaldo. Some supporters are losing faith in him but not me. He hasn’t had time to properly recover from his knee injury, he didn’t do a pre-season and he relies so much on his physique.
“But it is absurd to say he is past it when you remember he is 31 and you look at how he looks after himself, and how many glorious nights he has given us. He may be on a bad run, but you should never doubt Cristiano.”