Carlo Valladares insists that it is about revenge and he wants Atletico Madrid fans to embrace this European matchup for a fourth consecutive time.
Diego Simeone, the Argentine gaffer who has brought titles, hope, and who has broken LaLiga’s duopoly since being appointed in 2011, said the following after their 1-1 draw against Leicester:
“It was a pleasure to compete against Leicester, we lived in fear about what they might do when they came forward in the 2nd half.”
Those are words spoken from a man who certainly respects his opponents, and one that is not afraid to admit his emotions and fears. But, speaking of fear, does El Cholo feel it when he thinks about who awaits Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League? Did flashbacks of failure flood his mind when the world witnessed the semi-final draw on Friday?
We may never know for sure. He will never, due to managerial and public perception, be able to admit such feelings. But, what we do know is that when he insists the semi-final will not be about revenge, we know it’s a lie – it is about revenge.
How can it not be? Sure, from a professional point of view it may be best to project this non-bias toward the semi-final tie, but every player in that dressing room can’t buy into an objective focus, they’ve had their season-long European aspirations crumble because of this particular opponent for far too long. Consecutively, too.
— Carlo Valladares (@C_V_News) April 21, 2017
El Cholo can downplay the media narrative of revenge all he wants, but the pressure is on more than ever to finally put their Real Madrid ghosts and demons to rest, to not be ‘El Pupas’ -The Cursed Ones of Madrid anymore. It’s a two-legged battle this time around. An all-white and red-and-white clash awaits, again.
Neutrals are probably tired of this fixture; it’s the fourth consecutive meeting between both Madrid representatives. But we at AtleticoFans.com, and many who call Atleti their club, deep down, want this fixture, and would gladly enjoy lifting the Big Eared trophy knowing we did it by going through Los Blancos.
The memories of two final defeats would instantly leave our minds. We’d be able to enjoy future Champions League matches without wondering if all of our talent and defensive prowess was for nothing in Europe in the Simeone-era of our club. If we win it all this year, Simeone’s legacy would forever be cemented in the book of Champions League-winning managers, where he rightfully belongs. But first: two-legs against Real Madrid.
The last time the Madrid derby was played in a two-legged UCL affair was in the 14/15 campaign in a last eight tie. Both matches saw Atletico’s world class organization and defense at the forefront, but, ultimately, after 180 scoreless minutes, Javier Hernandez would score a last-minute goal to put his side ahead and seal our exit.
— Latest United News (@LatestMUFCNews0) April 22, 2015
But that is the past, and Los Rojiblancos are better than they were in the 14/15 season, they’re more complete. Sure, we have issues at providing a killer instinct when we’ve earned quality chances. Our finishing is suspect at times, it has been for a number of matches this season. Atleti’s recent 1-0 defeat to Villarreal at the Vicente Calderon further is proof of this.
— Carlo Valladares (@C_V_News) April 27, 2017
This weakness aside, there’s no reason to believe that we can’t beat them in Europe this time around. Perhaps, fourth times a charm, right? What happened in Lisbon and Milan were done by the slimmest of margins. We were moments away from victory in the former and unlucky at penalties in the latter.
Still losers, yes.
However, in other competitions, we’ve been on the winning end against them. Under Simeone’s leadership, we’ve beaten them numerous times in LaLiga, a 4-0 win at the Vicente Calderon standing out the most. Furthermore, Atleti has beaten their rival in a Spanish Supercopa series and in a Copa del Rey final.
Our latest result against Real was a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu, too.
FT 1-1. The Madrid derby ends all square after an intense game in which both goalkeepers played very well and saved points from both teams
— AtléticoFans (@AtleticoFans) April 8, 2017
All of the titles and matches won above can happen in Europe as well, even more so in a two-legged affair; that is Simeone’s bread and butter. But, we need to have our killer instinct intact, we need to seize all of the chances that come our way when we create them. We need to score goals.
Atletico Madrid is better than they have ever been in possession of the football, and now is the time to really demolish this Real Madrid collective of stars. They’re finishers, I’ll give them that. They don’t lose finals, rarely do. But, we’re two-leg specialists. There is no better opportunity than the one ahead.
Simeone is currently planning for a home and away affair against Real Madrid. The time is now. We want European revenge.