14,619 days ago, Atlético Madrid faced Bayern Munich in the European Cup Final.
40 years have passed since Bayern scored that equaliser in the 120th minute, forcing a replay match.
We all know what happened in the second game.
After visiting Neptune for the sixth time since Diego Forlán’s extra-time match-winner against Fulham in 2010 and receiving the god’s blessing, los Rojiblancos are ready to face off against rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League Final.
Yeah, you read that right–Champions League Final. Some of us still don’t know if we’re dreaming; if we are, please do not wake us up.
After dispatching Zenit, Porto, Austria Wien, AC Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea, Atleti have made it to the final.
Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz is set to host the biggest derbi madrileño of all time this Saturday at 20:45 CET.
After coming off injured very early into that glorious ‘final’ versus Barcelona, Diego Costa found himself in Serbia hoping for a miraculous recovery.
The Atleti striker spent time with ‘miracle doctor’ Marijana Kovacevic, who treated his injury with horse placenta.
To the surprise of many, the unorthodox treatment apparently worked, as Costa returned to Madrid and was back in full training on Thursday.
And the ‘Beast’ wasn’t alone.
Midfielder Arda Turan, who also sustained a knock against the Culés, participated in Thursday’s practice session and will reportedly play in the final.
If Costa ends up not being fit to play, do not worry.
The spirit of Luis Aragonés will lead the front line. Atlético’s jerseys will all include the late former Colchonero forward and coach’s name inside the collar.
For our eternal rivals, Karim Benzema and Pepe are doubtful to feature, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale seemed to have recovered from their injuries.
But the always-important Xabi Alonso will not play due to suspension.
Our first clash against the Merengues this season ended in a second consecutive victory at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Heavy defeat over two legs of the Copa del Rey semi-finals followed, but our last match against Real Madrid — a cracker — ended in a 2-2 draw at the Vicente Calderón, with goals coming from Koke and Gabi.
Will the cantera repeat success this time around?
“We have no pressure to win, but what we do have is hope,” said Diego Godin, the man with that beautiful head.
Mario Suaréz is motivated by one thing only, the red and white jersey he proudly represents.
‘El Cholo’ expressed how this match is “the culmination of all the hard work the team has done in the past three years”.
Let’s hope that Gabi’s words during the Liga-title celebrations prove prophetic.
“The best is yet to come,” the Rojiblanco captain had said.
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, Luis Aragonés