We have achieved what a lot of Atlético fans could only dream of before that 2013 Copa Del Rey Final. We are feared by Real. Really feared. Which makes one wonder are Real the new ‘noisy neighbours’?
OK, OK, we hear you. The obvious answer is no, and that is fine. After all, we are the humble, under-dog team and that suits us just fine, thank you very much. But, humour me and let’s look at some points.
Seeking a worthy rival
In 2011 the Real fans created a mosaic which created an ‘advert’ seeking “a worthy rival for a decent derby”, that night we lost 4-1. Their point was made. But are they eating their words now? Real have more money, more history, more social media followers, more media time, more, more, more… But then, like in all good stories, came our knight in shining armour…
Don Diego Pablo ‘Cholo’ Simeone
Since Simeone joined Atlético there have been 19 derbies. Real have won seven, five have been draws, and Atlético have been victorious on 7 occasions. That is, frankly, unheard of pre-Cholo. Remember though that it didn’t come straight away for Simeone. In his first derby as manager we were thrashed “old style” 4-1 in the Calderon… Eventually in May 2013, and through the grace of Miranda’s forehead our fortunes changed. Since then we have only lost 3 times, returned the thrashing, unleashed Fernando Torres on them, beaten them in the Spanish Super Cup, and won the league more recently than them.
Home away from home?
“We take it naturally, the possibility of winning here. Football is marvellous and that is what allows these sort of situations. It is difficult to express the feelings that my players feel when they come to play here”, Simeone told the press following last Saturday’s victory. Atlético have beaten Real three times at the Bernabeu in La Liga , a record, add to that our victory in the Copa Del Rey and you have four wins in the Bernabeu. Previous to Miranda’s goal it took us 28 years to accumulate as many wins away from home.
Be careful what you wish for…
Well they certainly got what they wished for. Atlético are very much the rival of old. This Monday every Rojiblanco walked in to school/office with that quiet smile which we are starting to get used to.
Madrid fans will always seek to throw the Champions League Final in our faces, but if we can just take a second and appreciate that Lisbon didn’t undo what started off Miranda’s forehead, we will continue to smile.