Match preview: Barcelona vs. Atlético

Spanish 'Super Bowl' to decide champion between Atleti and Barça

Win or tie at Camp Nou lands Atleti the title (AP)

Win or tie at Camp Nou lands Atleti the title (AP)

All right, so, four months and 18 days later…wait, what?

It’s only been six days since the Málaga game you say?

After seemingly an eternity since Atlético spurned the chance to celebrate at Neptuno last weekend, the time is finally nigh.

Los Rojiblancos have one more chance to secure the elusive league title in their last stand against Barcelona on Saturday.

The title-deciding clash of the season is set to kick-off at 18:00 CET, and Atleti need either a tie or a win to hoist the Primera División trophy for the first time since 1996.

It’s been over 60 years since the league championship in Spain’s top flight has boiled down to a final match day showdown between the top two teams, so the vast majority of spectators are in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat.

A year to the day since a Miranda extra-time header decided that epic battle at the Santiago Bernabéu, Diego Simeone’s men will look to add yet another chapter to the Colchoneros’ richly colourful story.

One of the main characters of this new tale, Diego Costa, is back at ‘El Cholo’s’ disposal.

The club’s top marksman — with 27 league goals to his name and 36 overall on the year — sustained a hamstring injury over a week ago and was sidelined for Málaga’s visit, but will take the risk of suiting up against the Culés.

And the risk is a big one. If Costa aggravates his hamstring, there’s a good chance he’ll miss out of the Champions League final next weekend.

But Simeone is all in, assuring that the Brazil-born Spain international “trained with no problems and will take part from the start”.

“To have arrived at this point, we have put in a lot of work and effort,” the Rojiblanco boss, who has enlisted all 22 of his players for this bout, told reporters at Friday’s pre-game press conference.

“It has not been easy, but we are here on merit. I have very nice feelings. It’s a big game. We go there with intent and desire to compete.

“Hopefully the team will be prepared to show that on Saturday.”

Despite this being a relatively down year for our opponents, Cholo warned: “Barcelona never stopped competing, that allows them to have this possibility.

“They are always a dangerous team.”

Atleti’s back-line has been Europe’s stingiest in the present campaign, and have held Barça’s fearsome attack scoreless in three out of the sides’ five encounters against each other this season.

Cholo’s ‘Fantastic Four’ are all available, as Diego Godín is back from suspension–a major shot in the arm for Atleti and their hopes of shutting out Messi and Co. once more.

Speaking of the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, on Friday, he reportedly signed a mega-deal that will keep him in the Ciudad Condal through 2018 and net him over €20 million per year after taxes! Psshh…he doesn’t need another league title.

Either Simeone or his compatriot, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, will become the fifth Argentine manager to win La Liga.

Martino received the good news that Neymar, Gerard Piqué and Jordi Alba have all recovered in time to make the match selection, though it’s unclear if either of the three will take part from the start.

Carles Puyol on the other hand, will not be making a return from his knee injury, and has already played his final match in blue and red.

The La Masia product has bid his teammates farewell following a dream career at his boyhood club.

One man that hopes to follow a very similar path, but at Atlético, is Koke.

“It would be very nice and very special [to win the league title],” the Atleti youth product said.

“It’s a dream to play for the club of your life and win a title–a league championship or the Champions League. It would be spectacular.”

Yes it would brother Koke, yes it would.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Giménez, Juanfran, Insua, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario, Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cebolla, Gabi, Diego, Sosa
Forwards: Adrián, Villa, Costa

Barcelona match selection: TBA


  • palestine-atletico

    We will party today … yes we will do it

  • Atletico9

    Hoy es el dia!!

    Today is the day! We are ready to kill Barcelona

  • Ringo S. T. Gambo remember me

    I so wished this game would be played after 20:00, Now I have to work during and will have to sneak a few times to see the standings

    But have fun to everyone able to stream! Will be a great game no matter what strategy.

    ¡Aupa Atleti!

  • Luis

    VAMOS ATLETI VAMOSSSSS

  • Dircil

    Aupa Atleti. We can do it!!!!!

  • ali_

    im gonna be soooooooo drunk either way 😀

  • piserakos

    Vamos a ganar! Vamos por la historia, por la gloria y por la decima!

  • Will

    Man, I tried not to think about this match during the whole week.
    Let’s fight!

  • Ash

    4 and half hrs to go! Vamos!

  • The king of lover

    As we all know that atlectico can not win baca becuz they wil ot have weapon for the final match

  • EC

    It’s do or die time. We need to play a lot better than the last couple of weeks and try not to let the pressure get to us.
    I believe we are better than Barcelona at this moment in time and we will win the league!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    When we won our last La Liga in 1996 it was an end of a very long era of success, 5 decades of glory, because of the disastrous management of Jesus Gil

    We don’t want another end today, either if we won the title or not, this should be a new start, to go back to our lost glory, to go back to the before-Gil era, when Barcelona had only one La Liga title more than Atleti and both had the same number of European & International Trophies

    We have everything we need to get our glory back, the only problem is that Gil family is still here .. so we should all hope that Miguel Ángel Gil Marín become better than his father

    When Valencia used to finish 3rd in the last few seasons and were very happy and satisfied about that, I believe they could have done what Atleti did this season
    They had a great team with Villa, Mata, Silva, Alba and other great players, but they didn’t have the faith .. because they didn’t have a man like Simeone

    That’s why we owe every thing to him, and that’s why he is the most important piece of our project

    Gracias Cholo .. Aupa Atleti

  • I am so nervous. But I am confident we will be champions. This is a moment to cherish :’) if we dont win , we wouldve got so close yet so far. Thank you for everything Cholo! You legend <3 You made us One of the top 5 teams in the world right now.. The players deserve to win this title today! if they don't well, I'll be heartbroken and i guess thats football but i have faith in my boys.
    iAupaAtleti! Grande Cholo! Costa will score a hattrick and we will win 3-1.

  • Jeronamo

    Man what a season, what a ride, what an amazing feeling. We can do it today and I believe seasons to come as well.
    My brothers and sisters let’s cheer our asses off today and support our team no matter what happens (I feel like shedding a tear right now)

    Aupa Atleti!!!

  • Jelle

    Unconfirmed lines up tells that Xavi, alba and Neymar will start on the bench. But we have to wait for the official line up, but it looks fine for me.

  • ali_

    soon im off to the pub. support with full energy, guys! AÚPA ATLETI

  • Brad

    Oh Jeronamo, I will be cheering my ass off…though my neighbors might think I’m crazy. At least this one’s not on while i’m at work…then people start to wonder why I’ve leapt from my chair pumping my fist!

  • kris

    This it guys. The final of day of La Liga 2013/14. It has been great. I have enjoyed every moment of this Atletico team(well maybe not every, but most) and I have loved sharing my enjoyment on this great website. Hopefully, this La Liga season ends on a very high note for Atleti by winning La Liga.
    Official Lineup for Atleti:
    Courtois
    Juanfran-Miranda-Godin-Filipe
    Koke-Gabi-Tiago-Arda
    Costa-Villa

    It’s your chance El Guaje, please prove the doubters wrong and give Del Bosque a reason to partner you up with Diego Costa up front in the World Cup. Vamos Atleti!

  • valinia

    Less than an hour to go! Words cannot describe how excited i am now.. Vamos atleti!!!!

  • Brad

    I like that line up. That’s a NICE line up.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    and on our last bench there are :
    Aranzubia, Toby, Mario, RG8, Sosa, Diego & Adrian

    no Insua and no Cebolla .. I wish we don’t need someone to replace Filipe, because we don’t have one

  • Brad

    4 Minutes. Aupa Atleti!

  • Bushdoctor504

    Aupa Atletì!!!!!!! Our boys will earn this title!!! So proud of our team!!!

  • Brad

    I can’t take pinto seriously with those dreads XD

  • Brad

    Fuck…

  • EC

    Awful blow to our title and CL chances

  • Jeronamo

    Sigh

  • Brad

    Now the ref is injuring our players as well…

  • Jelle

    So stupid that we have to use a sub on a unready Diego costa!

  • EC

    Turan off now aswell. Unbelievable, did not imagine this happening at all

  • Özgün

    Costa and Arda are off in just 20 mins, unbelievable!

  • Brad

    Corruption, corruption, it’s the La Liga way!

  • Jose

    We should be able to get the draw! ¡Aupa atleti!

  • Brad

    So wait, does that mean we’re allowed to jam Messi into a ref and hurt him now?

  • Jeronamo

    I’m so pissed that fucking adrian is playing before sosa or Diego

  • Will

    Completely undeserved lucky shot.. And we won’t have Arda and Diego.. 🙁

  • EC

    This is so cruel if we lose la liga this way.

  • Brad

    If injuring someone against a ref is not a card THAT is NOT a card

  • Brad

    Bribery, corruption, it’s the La Liga way!

  • Özgün

    We lost Arda and Diego, left with only 1 sub and down by one. Shit, we didn’t deserve to finish this way, we really needed to beat Malaga last week..

  • EC

    Ppl can shout corruption all they want. Fact is though we have done this to ourselves. I know the team has been fantastic an I shouldn’t be angry but I can’t beleive we couldn’t beat Leavnte away or Malaga at home to lift the title.

    So pissed

  • Brad

    I know, but a Barca win preserves the two team hegemony that RFEF prefers and the lets the big teams of Europe tear Atleti apart over the offseason to pay taxes that Real Madrid and Barca are afforded protection from

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    It is corruption.. Barca paid Levante and Malaga, why would they else play for their lives..And that’s not all.If Madrid won against Valencia, then Barca was forced to let us win, ohterwise Real would’ve been champions..

  • EC

    Before it was Real who paid Levante and Malaga. Guys don’t embarrass your selfs. If we get beat it’s because we screwed up big time

  • kris

    It’s not corruption or anything. Seems luck and nature don’t want to be in our side. Huge injustice to footballing world if Atleti don’t win the title today.

  • JD

    COMMON ATHLETICO, FROM VALENCIA FAN.

  • Jeronamo

    Stop embarrassing ourselves. Stop blaming this on corruption. We need a goal and it’s as simple as that. I still think Adrian in this game is a huge mistake

  • Jeronamo

    @kris and ec agreed

  • Brad

    My issue is less with the supposed paying off of Levante or Malaga and has more to do with the top down, institutionalized corruption that actually permits Real and Barca to determine their own TV deals, be classified as what essentially amounts to nonprofits, still have higher debts than Atleti and skate by FFP regulations, all while receiving in game support from the referees.

  • Jeronamo

    Adrian you better prove me wrong in this second half dammit

  • Jeronamo

    @Brad just stop… just stop

  • Brad

    I think Adrian went in because Simeone didn’t count of Arda being taken out 7 minutes later

  • kris

    Come on Brad, this is not the time right now. We can talk about that after the match. Please…??

  • Özgün

    Damn, we have only 1 sub left and we should use it wisely. Who can change this match now?
    I’m sooo disappointed right now..

  • Brad

    ok

  • Atleti10

    Paid or not we should have beat Malaga, I hate watching us chase a game. 45 mins of diving and time waisting ahead. Please boys, grab and early goal and park the bus.

  • EC

    Barca and real are favoured by the refs because they are to giant teams. It’s sad but that’s the way it is everywhere. I obviously agree that the tv money should be shared equally but that issue is for a different conversation.
    Our best chances to win the league were against Levante and Malaga. We are far better than either of those teams and should be beating them.

  • kris

    Footballing Gods,, please help Atleti today…. They must win the title today!!! But yehh, nobody actually thought Arda was going to be injured too after 7 mins of Costa’s taken off.

  • Brad

    They just have to go out in the second half and grab the game by the balls…the football gods have not been kind lately

  • Piqué the God

    LOL!!!

  • Jelle

    Come on believe in our self. We can make chanches. we have a pretty offensiv line up right now. We will score on a set piece.

  • valinia

    If i meet that bloody ref im gonna punch him in his face.. The favourism is god damn obvious

  • pantic#10

    we have all the 2nd half to tie or even win.
    we can do it.
    RG8 will score, don’t worry.

  • Brad

    If Atleti can keep up the pace and the threat that they had going at the end of the half, we certainly can make chances

  • MR

    i’m still wondering whhat Thibu watched but just can’t figure out after seeing it replayed 10 times. Why the [email protected] did not he even lift his hands?

  • Brad

    The commentators I’ve got, think he probably thought it was going into the side of the net

  • EC

    Well this just isn’t going our way is it :(. Very good effort though

  • Brad

    VILLA off the post…

  • Brad

    So apparently we turn opposing keepers into superheroes?

  • EC

    Fucking YES!

  • Brad

    GODIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • EC

    1-1 Godin

  • Atleti10

    Yeeeesssssssssss.. Come on lads

  • Jeronamo

    Goooooooaaaal

  • Ali

    Diego godinnnnnnnnnn
    <3

  • Özgün

    goal!

  • Brad

    I take back my superhero comment XD

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS FCK YOU BARCA, FCK YOU !!!!!!

  • EC

    Excellent start to the 2nd half. Hopefully we can get a 2nd before Barcelona can come back into it

  • Mike

    GODIIIIIIIIIIIN!!!!!!!!

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    YA ALLAH !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • epoy

    Yesssssss!!!!! Godiiinnnn!!!! Another fuck youuu barca!!!!

  • Nick Poskitt

    VAMOS ATLETI VAMOS!

  • Özgün

    we play with passion, maybe too much of it so make mistakes time to time but if we can keep this up we can be the champions, come on boys..

  • EC

    Thank god!

  • Brad

    For once i’m happy to see the offside flag

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    my heart !!!

  • Özgün

    phew that was close

  • Brad

    too close

  • AaX

    It’s somehow wierd too as much as how the Atleti’s and the Fans wanted it, that the momentous moment that the league barren is broken and we’d become the La Liga Champion would be when both the Main Key players of the Team Diego Godin and Costa were not playing and were NOT EVEN on the Bench. Seems not just quite Fitting to me……..I DONT KNOW BUT I SENSED THIS ALWAYS IS THE ATLETICO WAY. NO other team would and must Go Through Such Hardship and PENULtimation to become Champions. GOD WILLING, We WILL.

  • EC

    Iam not liking how the game is at the moment. Heart is racing and my palms are turning to liquid

  • Brad

    I’m 22 and this game has the potential to give me a heart attack

  • Jeronamo

    We arw playing wayyyyyyyy too deep

  • EC

    Dangerous freekick position. Surely messi to take it

  • Brad

    We need to stop giving Barca extra help

  • Özgün

    we bury ourselves too much and we are very nervous, its hard to hold on like that, god my hands are shaking cannot think about the players

  • EC

    I would’ve preferred Diego instead of Sosa

  • Brad

    come on Sosa

  • Jeronamo

    Smh simeone that was a a wasted sub
    . Told you adrian was a mistake

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    The reaction and enthousiasm of Simeone after the regular time will be priceless… He will make a sprint, jump, maybe a dive, ohh man can’t wait to see him celebrate the Simeone way.

  • Brad

    The commentators just compared our defense to the Maginot Line. I hope it’s not the Maginot Line, the Germans just went around it!

  • Brad

    Simeone celebrates like he’s still a player 😀

  • Özgün

    what a sloppy play, why can’t we manage to hold on to the ball

  • EC

    If we were ever gonna score a great freekick…. Now is the time

  • Brad

    God Neymar is dirty

  • Ratchet

    Holy shit 10 minutes to go guys… I feel sick with my nerves

  • EC

    Well it looks like we’re going for the draw. Dangerous game to play. I can barely take this

  • EC

    Phew!

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    why no yellow card wtf??? this reff is a coward, if Suarez did this, it was a instant yewllow

  • Brad

    5 min
    get the ball the fuck out

  • EC

    Yessssssssss!!!!!! We deserve this sooo much. Sooooo bloody happy

  • Jeronamo

    We’ve done it the hard way

  • Brad

    CAMPEONES, CAMPEONES OEOEOE

  • Özgün

    YESS!

  • kris

    OH MY GOD WE HAVE DONE IT GUYS!! WE HAVE DONE IT!!!! NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS!!!

  • Ratchet

    YYYYYEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!

  • EC

    I could cry iam so happy. What a hard way to win the league. Gracias Diego Simeone.

  • epoy

    Fuck! Im in tears. Aupa atleti!

  • kris

    TEARS OF JOY!!! JUST REALIZED I HAVE A WET ASS SHIRT FROM ALL THE SWEAT!! THIS!! THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!! THANK YOU SIMEONE!!

  • Jelle

    I’m so proud of this game! CRAZYY.. AUPA ATLETI!

  • Atleti10

    @Brad I’m the same, my heart was going 90. Unbelievable, so happy.

    I believe we can now go into the champo final with no regrets and less nerves as result. Simeone is a true legend.

  • kris

    Sad we can’t get the trophy today though. Damn.

  • epoy

    Now that we had our Decima, lets celebrate a day and then concentrate next on preventing our neighbor’s Decima.

  • Brad

    Um, what the fuck. I’m pretty sure the only job the President of La Liga has is to award the trophy and he’s on vacation or something? apparently it was more important than this match…

  • Ratchet

    This is a dream. It’s incredible.

  • It’s a fucking travesty that we can’t get the trophy on Camp Nou.
    The chairman is on vacation? Wtf does that even mean!?

    But we won, we finally won the league! Unbelievable 🙂

  • pantic#10

    I have no words.
    it’s awesome.
    champions!!!!

  • Brad

    I don’t know if it’s actually vacation but the commentators said he was out of Spain and unavailable and they didn’t know where he was

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    We should sent flowers to Levante and Malaga, and thank them for the motivation.

  • Brad

    Neptuno’s got to be a great party right now!

  • Will

    WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! We did it at Camp Nou!! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

    WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!

    Man.. we did it. I think I broke my sofa..

  • Brad

    Ole Ole Ole Cholo Simeone!

  • jeronamo

    Celebrate guys for this is what we dreamed of, some earlier than others and for those who didn’t dream this shall quell your doubts.

  • Ali

    Stupid president!
    I’m gonna smoke atleast 3 cigars tonight I’m getting drunk weeeeeeeeeeed!!

  • Matthijs

    Holy shit, congratulations fellow Colchoneros! I just cried of happiness! Aupa Atleti!

  • Nick Poskitt

    Unbelievable!

    Lol @ Pique The God!

  • palestine-atletico

    Campeon campeon ole ole ole….. we are the best team the best coach the best fans and the best spirit i am the happiest in the world 😀
    Congraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatssss

  • kris

    You guys should watch Simeone’s press conference right now. Some clever words.

  • Ali

    We want to lift the trophy at camp nou but the president is on vacation
    But hey guys I think we will lift it tomorrow or day after tomorrow so there’s also a chance for oliver and saul to come and celebrate. If we lift the trophy tonight they wouldn’t have joined us because they have match schedule!

  • Brad

    True. I wonder if they’ll hold a parade or wait until after the UCL final and see if the can win that too!

  • Ash

    It’s been 12 years since the day I fell in love with Atletico Madrid. Now today, I AM ALIVE TO WITNESS THIS MIRACLE, FOR THOSE WHO NEVER STOPPED BELIEVING, FOR LUIS! I, AS WELL AS YOU ALL FELLOW FANS, ARE THE HAPPIEST BUNCH IN THE WORLD NOW!

  • Ash

    And I saw cholo cried…..

  • Brad

    It was a decent press conference, but not as good as his comment thanking his players’ mothers for giving birth to men with such big cojones!

  • Dircil

    @Palestine-Atletico: now you learn that you should not be pessimistic in any situation!

  • palestine-atletico

    Why we didnt lift the trophy in camp nue???

  • Brad

    Because the la liga president is “unavailable”

  • Chewie

    What a game, by all means! Why did Simeone let Adrian play instead of Arda only to take him off AGAIN? Sosa wasn’t perfect but he did his job – at least we saw him moving round the field, defending, fighting etc. Great collective effort as always, and great speech it must’ve been that Simeone gave during the break. Tonight there was only one god at Camp Nou, his name is God-in. Translated into English it means “the one who puts the ball in”.

    Dani Alves was on fire – poor Felipe was troubled again and again, it’s good our men know how to look after each other. Also big credit to Barcelona fans, except Pique the Pathetic. They were polite and reserved and left lots of sensible comments, at least on Russian sites. A classy way to handle a defeat.

    I can officially claim that our boys have become men. This is an ultimate transition – you can’t take manhood away as you can’t cut off balls of steel.

    CAMPEONES!!!

  • Brad

    If anyone cares, Tele Madrid is broadcasting from Neptuno

  • Silchas

    I am speachless and havent realized what is going on. After the first half i was devastated. The last 5min i could only hear my heart pounding, while i was praying to every god who is out there and after the final whistle i was trembling with joy and disbelief.

    Today let us celebrate la Decima and next week let us destroy la decima of the white ballerina.

    Last but not least thanks, from the bottom of my heart to Cholo, who not only has made every player ten times better than before his arrival but made a real team out of the players.

  • colcho

    yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    Tears of joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dircil

    any news from Arda’s and Costa’s injury? It would be ashamed if the duo miss the final CL!

  • piserakos

    I cry like a babe!!! We celebrated all the Greeks together the BIGGEST League!!!! I throw fireworks!!! What a team what a love!!! I love you ALLL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for everything!!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S_gLohI4XE Listen this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brad

    Costa’s was an injury to the rear of his thigh, in apparently the same place as before. Arda was something long and doctor speak i can’t remember, but it just sounds like there was trauma to his hip. I haven’t seen anything estimating their return times.

  • SoLobo

    I am 30 and that was the 2nd time I cried out of joy. For about 15 minutes! And yes… the first time was a year ago, in the copa del rey final. Thank you Atleti! Miracles still happen!